CALGARY, Alta. – The Manitoba Junior Hockey League has been a staple in Jr. A play for over a century, being the oldest such league in the country.
Initially commencing operations back in 1917-18 as the Winnipeg & District Junior Hockey League, it was renamed to its current title in 1933.
As one the of the founding members of the Canadian Junior Hockey League, the MJHL has produced national champions over the years, along with a multitude of players, coaches and officials who have gone on to achieve great success.
The latest CJHL produced league-by-league feature highlights the MJHL.
Commissioner: Kim Davis
REGULAR SEASON: A tight race in the 11-team MJHL standings saw the Steinbach Pistons finish two points ahead of another perennial power, the Portage Terriers, in the quest for first place in the overall standings.
This marked the sixth straight year that one of these clubs finished in top spot, with the Selkirk Steelers being the last other squad in the league to accomplish the feat, which they did back in 2013-14.
TOP SCORERS: Winnipeg’s Mikol Sartor claimed the MJHL’s scoring title on the season.
He topped all league skaters in offensive production with 93 points on 35 tallies and 58 assists.
Next was veteran Dauphin Kings forward Grady Hobbs, who ended up second in scoring as the RIT, NCAA D-I commit, collected a MJHL-best 43 goals, along with 38 helpers, for a 81-point campaign.
Hobbs skated in 224 league games in his CJHL/MJHL career, scoring 71 times, while setting up 77 others, for 148 points.
Pacing all defencemen in scoring was Dauphin’s Cole DeKonick.
Producing at over a point-per-game clip, he had 62 in 60 outings on 21 goals and 41 assists.
Next was Drake Burgin of the Winkler Flyers, who notched a dozen tallies and dished out 41 assists along the way.
TOP TENDERS: The MJHL’s leading goaltender this season was Steinbach stopper Matt Lenz.
Lenz paced all netminders in wins (29), goals-against average (2.13) and save percentage (.922).
Next in average was Nathan Moore of Portage at 2.64 while Mikael Foucher of the Swan Valley Stampeders was No. 2 in the league with a .917 save mark.
The MJHL’s shutout leader this season was Levi Mitchell, with four. He picked those up on the year with both the Selkirk Steelers and Dauphin Kings.
MJHL MOMENTS: Condolences go out to family and friends of long-time Portage Terriers equipment manager and trainer Gino Romanow, who passed away last week. Serving Portage for over 40 years, Romanow’s hard work and dedication made him a pillar of the Terriers’ organization for over four decades. He will be greatly missed. … Steinbach forward Carter Loney was tabbed 167th, among North American skaters, by NHL Central Scouting in their final 2020 Draft Rankings. … Loney also represented the MJHL at the most recent CJHL Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont., where he finished in top spot overall in the on-ice player testing process that was held on the morning of the contest. … He is also committed to attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC) on NCAA D-I scholarship. … 2019-20 MJHL Award Winners: MVP: Grady Hobbs, (F) Dauphin Kings; Top Forward: Mikol Sartor, Winnipeg Blues; Top Defenceman: Drake Burgin, Winkler Flyers; Top Goaltender: Matt Lenz, Steinbach Pistons; Rookie of the Year: Carter Loney, (F) Steinbach Pistons; Coach of the Year: Kelvin Cech, Winkler Flyers; Regular Season champion: Steinbach Pistons. … After 18 seasons, Kim Davis will be stepping down as MJHL commissioner at the end of June. Davis began his tenure prior to the 2002-03 campaign where he was hired as the league’s first full-time commissioner. Since his appointment there has been over 6,000 MJHL regular season games played along with over 700 playoff games and over 200 regional or national championship games. … Current league director of operations, Kevin Saurette, will succeed Davis as MJHL commissioner.
With files, in part, from Kyle Prystupa, Manager, Media & Communications (MJHL)