By Al Foster
To say the St Paul’s Crusaders have become a dominant force in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League might be just a bit of an understatement. In the last 11 seasons, the Crusaders have either won or at have least made an appearance in the league finals 10 times.
When it comes to the St. Paul’s Crusaders, it’s not just a matter of wins and losses. In fact, a quick scan of the league’s website this season reveals that the Crusaders have been at or near the top of the loop in just about every statistical category.
It’s been an amazing run for St. Paul’s and there is no reason to believe it’s going to stall anytime soon.
This weekend, St. Paul’s will lead 12 high school hockey teams from across Manitoba into the Milk Provincial High school hockey championships. There will be a new AAAA Hockey Champion this year as defending champs John Taylor Pipers did not advance. The favourite going in will be the Crusaders , who won the Winnipeg High School Hockey League. Other participating teams include, Morden Thunder, Dauphin Clippers, Kelvin Clippers and Oak Park Raiders The host team is the River East Kodiaks.
All games will take place at the Gateway Arena (Red Rink), beginning this Friday, March 14. The teams are divided into two pools of three. Semi final action will take place on Saturday afternoon with games at 1:45 and 3:30 p.m., while the Championship Final gets underway on Monday March 17, at 7.30 p.m at the St. James Civic Center.
The Provincial AA Championships will take place in Russell beginning on Thursday, March 13. Participating teams include Cartwright/Nellie McClung/Pilot Mound Tigers, defending champion Neepawa Tigers, Major Pratt Trojans from Russell, Deloraine/Hartney Colts, Melita/Waskada Devils and the Prairie Mountain Mustangs (Sommerset).
All games will be played at the Russell Arena. Semi Finals take place on Friday afternoon at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m., and the Bronze Medal game will be played at 11:00 am and the Championship final will go at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday March 15.
Read more about head coach Andrew Harder and his Crusaders in the inaugural issue of GAME ON Magazine later this month.