Dave Anthony has been a broadcaster in the MJHL for the past 7 seasons. Every week, he’ll share a thought on the 12 teams in the MJHL and other things from across the league.
There’s light at the end of the long and hockey-less tunnel at least as far as the NHL coming back is concerned.
January 13th is going to be like Christmas and a birthday and New Years and all other great days rolled into one.
I believe the MJHL will also be returning. I don’t have any information to say yay or nay to that, just a gut feeling. I really believe we can get going.
This week for the Takes, I’ve come up with a memory I have from each arena in the MJHL. There’s been quite a few special events, magical moments or times that have stood out from each rink. Because I broadcast for the Steinbach Pistons, obviously, this list will tie in deep with them but I think it’ll be fun for the fan bases of each team to relive some moments and fans across the league to say “I wish I was there”.
1 – Dauphin: I got my start in broadcasting with the Dauphin Kings, doing the colour commentary for the home games from 2008-2012. There’s been a few moments that stand out from the Credit Union Place. Watching scoring machine Jesse Sinatynski would be up on the list but the top spot belongs to Ukranian Night.
While Dauphin didn’t win the game, they sure won over anyone who saw the show they put on. It was truly something special. From the music to the atmosphere, the pre-game ceremony with gifts, a guy running around in a Superman outfit and the BEST intermission event… the kielbasa toss! Watching dozens of wrapped sausages (I don’t want to know if it wasn’t sausage, don’t kill the dream) being tossed at a washing machine is as much fun as it sounds. It was amazing and a great memory.
2 – Neepawa: While this is a bit of a stretch getting this one into the “arena” memory category, it’s a story that has to be told. Quinton Lisoway was playing for the Pistons at the time and after a game, like on all road games, the team headed off for a post-game meal. This time, it wasn’t at a restaurant. It was at Quinton’s house. His father Tom, who did work at the rink and drove the Zamboni for a lot of years, was kind enough to invite the whole team over for a home cooked meal.
I’ll never forget the look in Quinton’s eyes as the bus pulled down his street and stopped in front of his house. The family welcomed all the boys and staff in for a memorable meal. The sights, the sounds and the laugher… even just thinking about it brings me back to that day. It’s not an easy thing to do but if teams want to help build relationships off the ice, I think that is something the guys would never forget. I sure won’t.
3 – OCN: It seemed like just another road trip. After a trade, OCN product Bryce Young was set to make his debut as the visitor. Pulling up to the hotel though, we all knew it wasn’t just another game.
First thing we saw was “welcome home Bryce Young” rotating on the sign outside the hotel. A really nice tough for young man that hadn’t been in OCN for a number of years. But it got better. The stands were packed with fans cheering on Bryce and after the game, it had to be close to 50 people flooded the ice to give hugs, high fives and a lot of support. I was standing next to Paul Dyck getting ready to do a post-game interview and we both remarked just how special that moment was. It still gives me goosebumps. OCN made that a night to remember for Bryce and in turn, it’s one of the most special memories I have in that arena.
4 – Portage: I was thinking about this one the other day and it’s actually what inspired this whole 12 Takes because I thought ” wow, I’m so glad I was here for this moment”.
Many MJHL fans remember the name Braden Pettinger. We remember the story but what fans in Portage who were in the building that night will always remember was the powerful moment when Braden wheeled himself out to drop the ceremonial face off.
It was an emotional moment. It was a special tribute to a former Terrier. That night, the team announced they’d retire his jersey and hang it up.
5 – Selkirk: I’ll be honest, there has not been a lot of major moments that stand out for me in Selkirk. But something I really enjoy (in theory, not often seeing it… you’ll understand in a second) is when the Steelers score (see, that’s why I don’t like seeing it), they have kids reach their hands over the glass and get high fives.
It’s a unique thing that really stands out. It’s a cool moment where the kids get to be a part of the team. A part of the celebration.
6 – Steinbach: Oh, there are a few that could go into this one, as you’d imagine. Having spent more time at the ol’ TG Smith then any other rink, there’s been quite a few good memories. The ANAVET Cup celebration where the fans came onto the ice would be right near the top of the list.
But, the one that really stands out was in 2016 when Izaiah Peters, who was four at the time, dropped the puck for Steinbach’s games in support of Cancer Care Manitoba. Izaiah was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL Leukemia) when he was just 16 months old. After years of treatment, Izaiah proudly walked out to center ice with his mom Angie and dropped the puck.
Former Piston Julien Koga remains close with Izaiah to this day.
7 – Swan Valley: The first memories I have from Swan probably wouldn’t make Stampeders fans too happy. I remember Mark Taraschuk scoring a double overtime winner to sweep away the Stamps and I also remember Cole Smith’s overtime winner to do the same thing a few years earlier.
Swan got their revenge a few years later, knocking Steinbach out of the playoffs so, it all comes around.
The thing that stands out to me when thinking about the Stamps arena, is the neat intermission game they do where they have kids come out and take shots on the evenings backup goalie. I think it’s just terrific to see the little skates out there scoring on this big huge goalie. Yes, he lets them score but who cares? The smile on those kids faces is pretty terrific and seeing parents taking photos, also pretty cool.
Note: Benny Walchuk has his picture on the door entering the ice service area. How did he get that? I mean, I’m a little jealous. He deserves it, sure, but something about his smiling face as soon as you turn the corner after getting into the arena, I feel like he’s mocking other broadcasters, just a little bit. “Oh, look at me and my fancy wrist shot. I’m on a door.” I don’t think he thinks that but still, it’s pretty dang cool. One touch that is stand alone and very unique. It’s worth going to see if only to say that you saw it.
8 – Virden: Brace yourself, this is a deep one. I’m going to take right from the MJHL website because they detail what took place that night.
‘Gone but never forgotten, the Humboldt Broncos will be supported and honoured prior to the resumption of the Turnbull Cup final Thursday (April 12) in Virden when Steinbach Pistons and the Oil Capitals return to the ice.
The pre-game ceremony will begin with the lights dimmed when both teams will skate onto the ice and line up on the respective blue lines. Players on both teams will be wearing yellow laces, in addition to using yellow and green sock tape in honour of the Broncos, whose team colours are green and gold. Both the Pistons and Oil Capitals will be wearing the name bar “Broncos”. On-ice officials will also be wearing yellow skate laces.
Two minor hockey teams from Virden will also skate onto the ice, with one team wearing jerseys from a Steinbach minor hockey team as a showing of unity within the hockey community. Also participating in Thursday’s pre-game ceremony will be a billet family from both Virden and Steinbach, in addition to first-responders from Virden. Fans can also make a donation to the Broncos and receive a memorial green ribbon. On sale for fans will be special commemorative ‘Humboldt Strong’ t-shirts, with the proceeds going to assist the Bronco organization and families affected.’
Like for so many, what happened and how everyone across the league and country came together, will never be forgotten. The images of everyone on the ice that night, all together… speechless.
9 – Waywayseecappo: Have not had many experiences in Waywayseecappo but the ones I have, have always been good.
He may work for the MJHL now but I think Erik Swar will always have a big piece of his heart in Wayway. He did a lot of good things there and the program has really turned around, all involved should be proud.
The memory that sticks out for me though was when Steve Anderson, father of Tyler Anderson, organized a “Dads Trip” and it included a stop in Waywayseecappo. At the time, there were few fans other than the dads but they made enough noise to stand out, even if the arena was packed. They were so excited to see a rink they only heard about. They were excited to see their kids play and they had a blast.
Shoutout to Steve for doing it, even the year after Tyler moved on from the Pistons. It’s something the dad’s still talk about and the organization will never forget.
10 – Winkler: Shoutout to the canteen for making those chicken wraps. Best wraps in the league.
There have been a lot of historic nights in Flyers history but I personally just haven’t been there for them. I can’t remember at least. Maybe it has something to do with the sounds of airhorns going off in my mind!
From Don Cherry and Ron MacLean being there back in the day to Dustin Penner. Lots of big things have happened.
11 – Winnipeg: The opening night for the Freeze was unique. Any time you can be a franchises first game, it’s special.
12 – Winnipeg (MTS Ice Plex): This one, I wasn’t broadcasting, I was watching. It was a playoff game between the Blues and the Terriers. It’s a short drive from Steinbach to Winnipeg so a bunch of the team wanted to go so I tagged along as well. Watching that game with all the guys, getting to hear how 17, 18, 19 and 20-year-olds see the game, appreciate the game and love it, it was special.
The Blues won the game in overtime, eliminating the Terriers. I remember looking up where Cody Buhler was broadcasting, one of the toughest spots to broadcast from because that landing at the top of the steps has little room for all the equipment and even after a loss, he smiled and waved.
There it is. A memory from every stop in the MJHL.