Darren Steinke — Special to the Herald
The Art Hauser Centre is one of the WHL’s last great storied rinks.
When you step inside, you always envision Dante Hannoun scoring his Game 7 overtime winner to deliver the WHL Championship to the Prince Albert Raiders in May of 2019. It is the signature moment in the building’s history that has been home to a Raiders franchise that won four Centennial Cups as junior A champions, two WHL titles and captured the Memorial Cup in 1985 reaching the CHL’s mountaintop.
On Friday, the Hauser will host is first meaningful WHL game since March 6, 2020 when the Regina Pats make a 7 p.m. visit for the regular season opener for both sides. Of course, the absence of meaningful Raiders home games was caused due to the world’s battles with the COVID-19 pandemic.
When comes time for the faithful in “Hockey Town North” to take their seats on Friday, you can expect memories cheering the likes of Alvin Moore, Theran Welsh, Dave Manson, Mike Modano, Kyle Chipchura, Parker Kelly and Sean Montgomery will cross the mind.
It might even feel like Terry Simpson is behind the Raiders bench teaming with Marc Habscheid on the coaching front.
It will seem like supporters like late Raiders president Doug Winterton is still taking his seat in spirit in the front row of the northwest corner of the building.
Of course, the echoes of “The Song in Prince Albert is Go Raiders Go” through the building’s rafters make the Hauser feel like home for Raiders fans.
Slowly throughout the WHL over the past 10 years, great old storied buildings like The Arena in Medicine Hat and the Moose Jaw Civic Centre, which was famously known as “The Crushed Can,” have met their ends.
The Hauser is becoming the last of its kind, and any moments spent inside its walls are times to be cherished.
Bedard attention a good thing
Get used to the extra attention Regina Pats phenom centre Connor Bedard will get from media at the local, provincial and national levels, because it won’t go away.
The 16-year-old is likely a lock as the first overall selection in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. There will be a sizable amount of people that will moan about the attention Bedard receives.
Still, Bedard’s presence gives the WHL an extra spotlight it would not normally have. For the league, that is a good thing.
- • I wish the best of luck to now Daily Herald sports scribe alum Lucas Punkari on new adventures with the Brandon Sun. P.A. was lucky to have Punkari. I’m sure he’ll keep the Brandon locals informed of the latest happenings with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
- • Safe to say the hockey world wishes a speedy recovery to Medicine Hat Tigers iconic play-by-play voice Bob Ridley, who announced on Monday he will miss the start of the WHL regular season to undergo radiation treatment in Lethbridge. Since the Tigers first hit the ice in 1970-71, Ridley has call 4,021 of the club’s 4,022 games played in the WHL regular season, post-season, one standings tiebreaker and the CHL’s Memorial Cup tournament. He drove the team bus for most of that time. One day, he should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Darren Steinke is a Saskatoon-based freelance sportswriter and photographer with more than 20 years of experience covering the WHL. He blogs frequently at stankssermon.blogspot.com, where he covers the Saskatoon Hilltops, Saskatoon Valkyries, University of Saskatchewan men’s and women’s hockey, CIS football, and Saskatchewan Female U18 AAA Hockey. He has the distinction of being in the building both times Game Seven of the WHL final went to overtime, including 2019 in Prince Albert.