The 2013-2014 season in a monumental one for the Saskatoon Blades hockey club. Ushering in 50 years of hockey and being the last remaining Western Hockey League club still playing hockey out of their original city, you can see why. While the team doesn’t boast a WHL Championship, nor a Memorial Cup, (and currently have the longest championship drought streak going in the CHL), there are plenty of things to be proud of in this team’s storied 50 year history.
Take a look at their NHL alumni for example. The Blades have molded and spit out legends such as Mike Babcock, the greatest Leaf of all time Wendel Clark (I’m biased), Richard Matvichuk, Darcy Hordichuk, Brad McCrimmon, the late Wade Belak, Brain Skrudland, hell I could go all day. How about tough guys Tony Twist and Joey Kocur? Legends in their own special fist fighting way.
There’s also plenty who are making their names in the show right now. Devin Setoguchi, Brayden Schenn and Braden Holtby just to name a few. There are also plenty playing overseas.
This year is no exception.
Currently leading the team in points with 36, first year player and right winger Nikita Scherbak is bound to make a name for himself. 26 games in, the Moscow, Russia native has already bagged 16 goals and 20 helpers. As of the latest NHL “Players to Watch” list ahead of next year’s entry draft, they have Scherbak listed as an ‘A’ skater. Second to him is Nathan Burns out of Edmonton, Alberta. Burns himself is a centreman who has a strong skating ability to go along with his veteran presence. His second season with Saskaton and 5th overall in the WHL, Burns is over a point a game with 33 in 27 games.
The community of Saskatoon have the upmost support for their junior franchise and have continued to do so throughout the years. This is a dominating feature as to why the Blades have stayed in one spot for 50 years. The fans are die hards and passionate and well, they bleed blue. A solid support system can only come from the top and the Blades ownership is an exceptional one at that. Mike Preistner has shown tremendous support and ability in building up the already storied Saskatoon Blades brand since taking over.
Here’s to another 50 years of Saskatoon Blades hockey. Bleed blue.