The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) has been a vital part of Canada's junior hockey landscape since its founding in 1968. This storied league, based in the province of Saskatchewan, has produced some of the nation's most exceptional talent, leaving an indelible mark on the hockey world.
A Brief History of SJHL:
Established over fifty years ago, the SJHL has played a pivotal role in nurturing young talents and offering them a platform to shine. The league has evolved over time, attracting talent from all corners of Canada.
Notable SJHL Players:
- Wendel Clark: The Saskatoon Blades alum became a household name in the NHL, celebrated for his skill, toughness, and leadership, particularly during his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- Rod Brind'Amour: A standout player for the Notre Dame Hounds, Brind'Amour's dedication and versatility led him to NHL stardom and Stanley Cup success.
- Curtis Joseph: Known as "Cujo," Joseph showcased his goaltending prowess with the Weyburn Red Wings before achieving NHL stardom and widespread acclaim.
- Bernie Federko: A Saskatoon Blades legend, Federko's playmaking skills and leadership qualities laid the foundation for an illustrious NHL career.
Current SJHL Teams:
- Battlefords North Stars
- Estevan Bruins
- Flin Flon Bombers
- Humboldt Broncos
- Kindersley Klippers
- La Ronge Ice Wolves
- Melfort Mustangs
- Melville Millionaires
- Nipawin Hawks
- Notre Dame Hounds
- Weyburn Red Wings
- Yorkton Terriers
Impressive SJHL Stats and Achievements:
The SJHL boasts a history of championship-winning teams and individual excellence. Its teams have secured numerous titles, including multiple Royal Bank Cups, the ultimate junior A championship in Canada. Individual players have achieved remarkable statistical milestones, solidifying the league's reputation for developing top talent.
The SJHL continues to shape the future of hockey, with its rich history, celebrated alumni, and impressive statistics. As a vital part of Canada's junior hockey landscape, the league remains a source of pride for fans and a testament to the enduring legacy of hockey in Saskatchewan.
Meet the SJHL Player: Tanner Mortenson
We spoke to Tanner Mortenson who played in the SJHL with the Estevan Bruins.
You played in various Canadian Junior hockey leagues. Where would you rank SJHL among them and why?
I would rank the SJHL in the top 5 for sure. The SJHL is known to be a rough and tough style of hockey which is right up my alley. I played in other leagues where you would have more time with the puck and didn’t have to worry about getting hit. In the SJHL you have very little time before you’re going to get hit.
What is next for you in your hockey career? Where would you like to play next?
After taking a break for a few years due to mental health and other personal reasons as well as getting shut down cause of Covid I have recently started playing Senior AA again here in Alberta Canada. It’s competitive hockey and a great step for me now that I’m in the right head space to start playing again! After this year I’m hoping to get an opportunity to possibly play pro somewhere whether that’s in North America or overseas. I think my skills have developed a lot in the past few years just from coaching youth hockey and being on the ice and shooting all the time. I’m still quite a young guy so I want to take advantage of that and get an opportunity!
Which NHL team would you like to play for if you had the chance?
Getting the opportunity to play on any NHL team would be an incredible opportunity! But if I had to pick one it would probably have to be Boston. They have a great historic franchise and the people really care about their Bruins. I also love the food out on the east coast which is a bonus!
You play at right wing. Which players would you like to have at centre and left wing for your dream line?
If I had to pick my centre and left wing I would have McDavid at centre because, well, he’s McDavid and then Bob Probert on the left wing. Bob was the best of the best in his role and I tried to model my game after his the best I could in junior. He can skate, shoot, fight, and was an intimidation factor for the other team.
You use Rezztek® instead of tape on the blade of your hockey stick. What was the main reason for you to switch?
The biggest reason was the feel, I used to tape my sticks in strips so I would have no heel drag on the bottom, but I would find that the tape would always fall off and the ice and snow would build up on my blade… but not with Rezztek®! Rezztek® has made it super nice not having the heel of my stick dragging on the ice and not having to re tape my sticks every single ice time!
Any other equipment tweaks or perks that help you be a better player?
I used to have quite a few little things I did but I’ve kind of kept it simple lately. Biggest thing for me is I use a super short stick, I cut my sticks a little below my collar bone. The reason I do this is because I find when I shoot I don’t have to pull my stick as much to get my shot off as it is already in a great position to shoot from. Another thing for me is I use Marsblade holders and steel on my skates which gives me a little bit of an edge when skating!