Hockey arenas, curling rinks, baseball diamonds, football fields, golf courses, race tracks and other sports venues were busy throughout the past 12 months. These are some of the southeast sporting highlights, championships and accolades from 2012:
Bruins have an up and down 2012: The year brought mixed results for the CanElson Drilling Estevan Bruins. They finished the 2011-12 season in fourth place in the Sherwood Conference, defeated the Notre Dame Hounds in three straight games in the best-of-five Survivor Series, but lost in four straight to the Weyburn Red Wings in the conference semi-final. Expectations were high for the Bruins at the outset of the 2012-13 season, but early season offensive struggles resulted in a 2-7-2 start. The club's record was 12-17-2 as of the Christmas break.
Bruins' fiscal and off-ice success: The Bruins thrived financially in 2012. They posted a net income of more than $200,000 during the 2011-12 season, which was their first in Spectra Place. The financial bonanza helped the club pay down some debt, and increase the amount of unrestricted funds in their bank account.
Their annual Sportsman's Dinner returned in May, with long-time NHL enforcer Marty McSorley entertaining the audience as the keynote speaker. The event raised more than $60,000 for the club.
The Bruins also took a more prominent role in the community, as they raised money for local day cares through a jersey auction, and came together with other organizations to support construction of a new outdoor rink at the Kinsmen playpark in the Hillside subdivision. Their involvement with the Estevan Minor Hockey Association earned them the minor hockey Volunteer of the Year Award.
Minor hockey teams win championships: Several teams from the Estevan Minor Hockey Association were able to win league or provincial titles in 2012. The Estevan Sherritt Coal Midget A Bruins won the provincial title, defeating a team from La Ronge 8-6 in the final of a two-game total-goal series. Estevan had lost the Midget A provincial final the previous two years. The Estevan Female Bantam A Extreme Bruins, comprised of players from Estevan's two bantam A female teams, lost 8-3 to Swift Current in a two-game, total-goal provincial final.
The Estevan Power Dodge Bantam A Chargers won the South Saskatchewan Female Hockey League title by sweeping the Springside Lions in a best-of-three series. The Estevan Blue Rock Junior Midget Bruins won the Hockey Regina Midget 15 crown by sweeping the Weyburn Avalanche in two straight. And the Estevan Century 21 Bantam A Bruins won Hockey Regina's Bantam A league championship by defeating the Prairie Storm in three games.
Coalers repeat as champs: The Bienfait Coalers captured their second straight Big 6 Hockey League Title in March when they beat the Midale Mustangs in six games. It was also the second straight year that the Coalers have beaten Midale in the final. Bienfait has now won the Big 6 title a league record 12 times.
The Coalers reached the provincial Senior A final, but lost in three games against Shellbrook. More than 2,000 fans packed Spectra Place for the third and final game of the series.
Bienfait has been the top squad in the Big 6 so far this season, as they had a one-point lead on Midale for top spot as of December 20.
Provincials at the curling club: The Estevan Curling Club was a busy place in March, as the club hosted the provincial air cadet championships and the Dominion provincials. A team from Lloydminster captured air cadets provincials, as they won a tie-breaker with Oxbow's Bow Valley Air Cadets. Both teams had 5-1 records, but Lloydminster won the tie-breaker because they beat Bow Valley in the round-robin.
Dominion provincials were held a week later. Saskatoon's Brian Humble and Weyburn's Danette Tracey won the men's and women's championships, respectively. Dominions, which targets club curlers who normally wouldn't competed in provincial playdowns, attracted a total of 25 teams.
Teams compete at provincials: A couple of local curling teams enjoyed success at the playdown level in 2012. Brent Gedak's rink won the A final at the SaskTel Southern Men's Playdowns in January. Gedak went on to win four times at provincials, and just missed qualifying for the semi-final round. Kris Keating won the B event at the junior men's playdowns in November, and has advanced to provincials, which will be held in early January.
School of Hard Knocks: Hard Knocks Fighting's School of Hard Knocks was a big draw in Estevan, as they had three cards at Spectra Place. The first card in March attracted a reported record crowd for amateur mixed martial arts in Canada. The second card in June featured a heavyweight title match involving Estevan's Derek Daku and La Ronge's Devon Smith. Daku lost the bout via tapout early in the second round. There was also a junior bout involving Estevan's Roarke Franke. A third card in September was headlined by an all-Estevan showdown with Felix Jimenez defeating Wade Baldwin.
Three medals in broomball: Three local broomball teams won provincial medals. The Estevan Chamney Crushing Raiders midget boys team won the silver medal at provincials. The Estevan Purple Cobras also won silver at the provincial adult open championship. And the Estevan Raiders juvenile boys' team won bronze at their tournament.
Haselhan competes at nationals: Lampman's Shalane Haselhan competed at the track and field championships for Canadian Interuniversity Sport in March. She was just one-hundredths of a metre short of a medal in the long jump event, and finished fourth. Her best distance in the event was 5.73 metres. She also finished 11th in the high jump with a leap of 1.65 metres.
Bodybuilders travel to provincials: A number of local residents competed in the Saskatchewan Amateur Bodybuilding Association's provincial championships in April. Brittany Foot finished first, via a tie-breaker, in the women's bikini tall competition. She was also named the women's bikini overall champion. Alden Hagel was first in heavyweight men's bodybuilding. Dana Barlow came in first in grandmaster men's bodybuilding and second in middleweight men's bodybuilding.
Another local resident, CeaAnna Kerr, enjoyed success on the bodybuilding circuit. She was second in the physique division at the International Federated Bodybuilding Toronto Pro Super Show in May. It was an event that featured bodybuilders from across the continent.
Football fundraiser: The Estevan Football Family, which includes Penta Completions Estevan Minor Football and the Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs football team, enjoyed tremendous support during a fundraiser in April. Thousands of dollars were raised for local football programs. TSN “SportsCentre” late night co-anchor Jay Onrait, CFL legend Don Narcisse and Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive lineman Brendon Labatte were the guest speakers.
Hillbilly Hurt host events: After more than two years of recruitment drives and practices, the South East Sask. Roller Derby Association's Hillbilly Hurt hosted its first-ever events. There was a demonstration in April in which Hurt members were joined by roller derby competitors from other clubs in the province. The other event was an exhibition against a team from Prince Albert, which the Hurt won.
Good year for synchronized swimmers: Members of the Estevan Mermaids synchronized swimming team competed at a number of events, including provincial in April, where team members collected several awards. Then, at a provincial awards banquet in November, the Mermaids collected several awards. The Mermaids now have the largest club in the province.
Golf course reopens: The TS&M Woodlawn Golf Club officially reopened on May 1, nearly a year after the course was forced to shut down due to flooding from the Souris River. Woodlawn operated as just a nine-hole course in 2012. An extensive rebuild is underway on Woodlawn's back nine. Woodlawn is expected to resume its operations as an 18-hole course this year. The course was still able to host a number of events.
Big improvement for Big Dogs: The Estevan Big Dogs juvenile lacrosse team showed significant improvement in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League, as they went from one win in 10 games in 2011, to a 3-5-2 record in 2012. Rhett Handley was one of the best players in the league in his first year of juvenile, as he ranked among the league leaders in goals and points. The Big Dogs' post-season was short, though, as they lost both of their playoff games.
Rockettes repeat as provincial champions: The Estevan Rocket Sales Rockettes peewee girls softball team captured their second straight provincial title, and in convincing fashion. The Rockettes went 6-0 at provincials. Four of their victories were in lopsided fashion. All three of their elimination round victories were by at least seven runs.
Haulers win at home: The Estevan Sherritt Coal Bantam AA Haulers baseball team captured the provincial championship in July at Luscar Park in Estevan. The Haulers defeated Melfort 9-5 in the provincial final. Brandon Hutt had a home run, four runs batted in at the plate, and he was the winning pitcher on the mound. The Haulers were among the top teams in the province throughout the year, as they had a great year in the Regina Baseball League, and then posted a 4-0 record at provincials. Then they competed at the Western Canadian championships in Morden, Manitoba, and finished third with a 2-2 record.
Peewee AAs reach semi-final: The Estevan TS&M Peewee AA Tornadoes reached the semi-final round at provincials in Estevan in July. The Haulers went 2-1 in the round-robin, and lost a close game to a strong Lloydminster team in the semi-final round.
Cardinals win Harbourne Cup: The Carlyle Cardinals capped an incredible year by winning the Harbourne Cup, which goes to the champions of the Saskota Baseball League. The Cardinals went 11-0-2 during the regular season, and they were 5-0 at the Harbourne. They beat the expansion Arcola Threshers 5-0 in the tournament final.
Summer Games success: Team South East finished second in the overall medal standings at the 2012 Saskatchewan Summer Games in Meadow Lake. The South East wound up with 72 medals, which was one more than the third place South West team, and four more than fourth place Saskatoon. Team South East finished with 20 gold medals, 25 silver medals and 27 bronze medals. Locals contributed to South East success in the pool, at the archery range, on the baseball diamond, at the track and at other events.
Cubs capture provincial title: The Kenosee Cubs captured their fist-ever provincial championship in August with an 11-9 victory over the Unity Cardinals in the Senior A2 Championship final in Carnduff. Kenosee scored five times in the sixth inning to break open a 6-6 tie.
Steelers are No. 1: Carnduff's Southeast Steelers captured the Western Canadian Senior Open Fastpitch Championships that were held in Abbotsford, B.C., in August. It was their first title since 2002. They defeated B.C.'s Delta Sunfire 2-1 in the final. The Steelers had a fantastic season, as they won the provincial tournament that was held in Carnduff in July, and then they were the top team at Westerns throughout the tournament. They finished first in the round-robin with a 4-1 record.
Speedway finishes strong: The Estevan Motor Speedway had a difficult start and an excellent finish in 2012. The track's first four programs were rained out, and they didn't have their first event until late June. But they still had enough programs to have track champions, and they hosted some special events. Attendance and car counts were up over 2011. Among the special events was a 40-lap modified special that carried a $3,000 top prize, which was won by Aaron Turnbull, and the biggest draw of the year, the Dakota Classic Modified Tour, which was won by Hank Berry. Track champions were: Tyson Turnbull (modifieds), Rocky Alexander (stock cars) and Gary Goudy Sr. (hobby stocks).
Wakeboarders win national medals: Three members of the No Boundaries Wakeboarding Club competed at the Canadian Wakeboarding Championship in August. Taylor Johnson won the gold medal in the junior women's event – the third straight year in which she has won a gold medal at nationals. She also finished third in open women's. Sage Dayman took top spot in the boys division, and fourth spot in wakeskate. Marvin Blue was fourth in the masters men's event.
Johnson also won the gold medal in the women's open competition at the Wakestock Invitational in Collingwood, Ontario.
TS&M Golf Course: The Estevan Woodlawn Golf Club and TS&M Supply announced in late August that TS&M will pay $50,000 a year for the next 10 years to have the naming rights for the golf course; it will now be known as the TS&M Woodlawn Golf Club. Woodlawn had been seeking somebody to purchase the naming rights for the course as they continue with a rebuild of the back nine.
Rodeo in Estevan: The Canadian Cowboys Association brought their rodeo to Estevan in September. Hundreds of competitors were entered in seven professional events, two novice divisions and one junior class. Thousands of people attended the rodeo.
Eve of Destruction II: The second edition of the Eve of Destruction was held at the Estevan Motor Speedway in September. Nearly 3,000 people filled the grandstands to watch figure-8 trailer races. Twenty-one cars, trucks, SUVs and other vehicles drove around the track's infield in a figure-8 formation, leading to many collisions. Brian Wenzel, driving a Ford Expedition, had the final operating vehicle, and was declared the winner.
Elecs girls' golf team takes second: The Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs girls' golf team captured the silver medal at the provincial golf tournament held in Prince Albert on September 21 and 22. The Elecs girls finished with a team total of 383, which left them five strokes behind the provincial champions from Coronach. Swift Current was third with a 395. The boys' team came in 11th.
McLellan a Regional Game Changer: Penta Completions Estevan Minor Football president Steve McLellan was named one of nine Regional Game Changers for Saskatchewan through the Scotiabank Game Changers Program. McLellan, who also coaches the Century 21 Peewee Chargers team, was presented with $1,000 for minor football, and a number of other prizes.
Steelers win bowl game: The Estevan Lions Club Bantam Steelers were the most successful team in Penta Completions Estevan Minor Football in 2012, as they won a Regina Minor Football bowl. The Steelers had a hard-luck season, as they went 1-7 despite some strong efforts, but they won both of their playoff contests to become the bowl champions. The Century 21 Peewee Chargers went 1-1 in their bowl games, while the Sherritt Coal Atom Miners lost their bowl contest.
The Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs had a challenging year, as they were 0-6 in the regular season, and lost in the first round of the playoffs against Yorkton. But several players had standout campaigns, including quarterback Colby Fleury, who had the third-most passing yards in the history of the Moose Jaw Football League.
Woodlawn Athletic Park: A committee announced their plans in late October for the Woodlawn Athletic Park. It includes the Dana Quewezance Memorial Field, which was used by soccer and football teams prior to the flood of 2011. Football and soccer will continue to be played at the field, but there will also be new buildings and amenities, and a track and field facility will be constructed. The athletic park would be a centrepiece for a possible bid by Estevan for the 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games.