Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Ethier loved being a standout in both softball and hockey

Former elite athlete a Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame inductee

Trevor Ethier starred in both softball and hockey.
    Trevor Ethier was happy he never had to choose to play just either softball or hockey.
    Growing up in Saskatoon, he played both sports at an elite level. As a pitcher and third baseman in softball, Ethier advanced in his career to become a member of the Canadian national team from 2003 to 2009.
    He helped Canada win gold at the 2003 Pan-American Games and bronze at the 2009 International Softball Federation World Men’s Championships.
    As a right-winger in hockey, Ethier became a member of the Saskatoon Blades playing the compete 1993-94 season with his hometown WHL club helping them advance to the WHL championship series, where they fell in seven games to the eventual Memorial Cup champion Kamloops Blazers.
    Ethier was best remembered for playing four complete seasons with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team from 1996 to 2000. In the history of the Huskies men’s team, Ethier ranks third in all-time goals (75), 14th in all-time assists (82) and seventh in all-time points (157) in regular season play.
    He helped the Huskies win three straight Canada West championships from 1998 to 2000 and appear in three straight U Sports national championship tournaments.
    “I really enjoyed that switch, that transition,” said Ethier. “At that point in time when I was doing both of those sports my entire life, I never wanted to play either one all year round.
    “I was always ready to move on to the next one. I really encourage people to be multi-sport athletes, if they can do that. If it works out for them to continue that as long as they can, I think that is a great way of doing it.”
    On Wednesday at a press conference at the Saskatoon Fieldhouse, the 42-year-old was announced as an inductee for the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame class of 2018 in the athlete category. It marks the first time Ethier has been named to any sports Hall of Fame.
    “I’ve just been very excited,” said Ethier. “I’m extremely honoured to be part of such a special group.
    “I’m really thankful to be part of something so special. To be able to play two sports in our great city with all these great people and volunteers, I just think we have always been an amazing host here in Saskatoon.
    “Just the relationships and the friendships that you have built along the way, it has just been pretty special. You take that with you forever.”
    Ethier said he felt fortunate he came up in an era where it was still common for athletes to play multiple sports. These days, specialization is more the norm, where an athlete at an elite level picks one sport and plays it all year round.
Dan Asham, Keith Cote and Dave Elder will enter the hall as builders.
    “During that season whether it was hockey or softball, that was my favourite sport,” said Ethier. “All of a sudden when I was finished, I was ready to switch to the other one and that became my favourite sport at that time.”
    Ethier hopes there will still be some high level athletes in the current day that try to play multiple sports. As far as his career goes, he wouldn’t have made as many memories, if he had specialized.
    In softball, his greatest memory was playing with the Canadian national team for as long as he did.
    In hockey, his best memories were being part of the Blades in the 1993-94 campaign and his career with the Huskies.
    During each of the three straight Canada West championships wins from 1998 to 2000, the Huskies defeated their “forever rivals” the University of Alberta Golden Bears in the conference title series. The Golden Bears bounced back to win the U Sports national title in 1999 and 2000.
    The Huskies hosted U Sports nationals after each of those Canada West title wins, but were never able to capture the University Cup. Looking back, Ethier said there were no regrets in the fact the Huskies weren’t able to capture the top prize in U Sports men’s hockey.
    “Those were fantastic years,” said Ethier. “We had great teams, great coaches.
    “We always had some great rivalries. I think it was just an awesome experience right from the get go to be able to host those championships here and have all those battles with the Bears. It was great.”
    These days, Ethier is heavily involved in coaching softball. On top of coaching at various levels, he has a teaching position at Tommy Douglas Collegiate and a major part of his teaching assignment is working as an instructor at the Tiger Softball Academy.
    “Coaching is great,” said Ethier. “I love to be able to be able to give back in this great game.
    “I get to teach and coach softball all day at my job at Tommy Douglas in the softball academy program. I am also coaching with the junior national team. I am also coaching the Selects U-19 midget team here in Saskatoon as well.
    “I keep pretty busy with all those aspects. Just getting the opportunity to do that is pretty special.”
    Other athletes that are part of the 2018 Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame class include Mike Anderson, who was an offensive lineman with the 1989 Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders and a Saskatoon Hilltops grad, Kris Odegard in racquetball and Viola Yanik in wrestling.
Bob Kinzel, right, helped start the Saskatoon 50-Plus Hockey League.
    Those entering the hall in the builders category include Dan Asham in baseball, Keith Cote in volleyball, Dave Elder in multiple sports, Kerry Tarasoff in curling and Irene Wallace in basketball.
    The University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s teams for track and field that won the U Sports national title in 2003 and 2004 will be inducted under the team category. Those were the last two national championship track teams guided by legendary Huskies track and field head coach Lyle Sanderson, who passed away in February.
    The Saskatoon 50-Plus Hockey League was named the Sports Organization of the Year by the local Hall of Fame.
    The Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame 33rd annual induction ceremonies will be held on Nov. 3 at TCU Place.

Ring day for 2017 CJFL champion Hilltops

From left, Ryan Turple, James Vause and Jason Price show off their rings. 
    The smiles at the Saskatoon Minor Football Field clubhouse were as wide as they could be.
    On Wednesday, the members of the 2017 Saskatoon Hilltops received their championship rings for winning their fourth straight Canadian Junior Football League championship. The Hilltops posted an 11-1 overall record in the 2017 campaign and dismantled the Windsor AKO Fratmen 56-11 to win the Canadian Bowl as league champions on November 11, 2017 in Windsor, Ont.
    James Vause, who completed his final year of CJFL eligibility playing safety and kicking for the Hilltops in 2017, couldn’t believe how big the new ring looked.
    “It was honestly so big it almost fell out of the box when I opened it,” said Vause. “This is a 5XL. We’ve typically gone 4XLs in the past, so it is pretty massive.
    “I got it on my pinky, and it is basically as big as my pinky right now. It is an unbelievable ring. It is probably my favourite so far.”
    Besides winning the last four straight CJFL championships, the Hilltops have claimed seven out of the last eight league crowns. Overall, the Hilltops have won 20 national junior football titles, with their first championship coming back in 1953 also downing the Fratmen 34-6 at Griffiths Stadium on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon.
    Vause wore his three rings from the 2014 to 2016 CJFL championship wins to Wednesday’s ceremony, and the 22-year-old marveled looking at his right hand putting the 2017 ring on his pinky finger to accompany the rings from the previous wins.
Tom Sargeant, right, picks up his 14th CJFL championship ring.
    “It is really cool looking back down on my hand,” said Vause. “We’re the only team that has won four straight.
    “That is even cool in itself the fact that they are all in a row and we broke the record there, where we made history with that championship win. It is just incredibly special.”
    This coming season, Vause and defensive lineman Tom Schnitzler, who also exhausted his CJFL eligibility last season, will travel to Vancouver, B.C., and suit up for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds football team in the U Sports ranks. Vause said the ring ceremony was a special way to cap his time with the Hilltops.
    “It is incredible to go four years and win four,” said Vause. “I’m really blessed that I had that opportunity, and we had such great teams and coaches.
    “I had such a great time with the Hilltops. To come and see the guys again tonight, it just reminded me of how amazing my time there was, and I am really appreciative of that. To end off with a ring is even more special.”
    Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant picked up his 14th CJFL championship ring with the team. He won 11 rings as a head coach, two as an assistant coach and his first as a player back in 1985.

Blades round out coaching staff hiring Marsh

    On Monday, the Saskatoon Blades rounded out their coaching staff hiring Ryan Marsh as an associate coach.
    The 43-year-old from Quesnel, B.C., spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Before joining the WHL ranks with the Oil Kings, Marsh spent time as an assistant coach with the University of Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey team (2012-2014) in U Sports and the junior A ranks with the Spruce Grove Saints (2006-2010, 2011-12) and the Fort Saskatchewan Traders (2003-06).
    The Golden Bears won the David Johnston University Cup as U Sports national champions in 2014.
    Marsh and first-year Blades head coach Mitch Love are familiar with each other having worked together as assistant coaches with Team Canada Red at the 2016 World under-17 Hockey Challenge.
    “I wanted a guy that the players wanted to play for, a guy the players want to come to work for every day,” said Love in a release. “In all my research from former players that Ryan (Marsh) had coached in Edmonton, everyone had nothing but good things to say about Ryan as a person and a hockey person.
    “That was important because for the last month I’ve been talking about what kind of group we want to be, the culture we want to instill here, and Ryan fit that mold.”
    During his playing days, Marsh was a defenceman in WHL for the Tri-City Americans from 1992 to 1995 appearing in 186 regular season games collecting 16 goals and 29 assists.
    He also played four seasons for the Golden Bears from 1997 to 2001 helping them win U Sports national championships in 1999 and 2000. In the classroom, March picked up his bachelor’s degree in physical education.
    Marsh played his final season of professional hockey in 2001-02 with the Louisiana Ice Gators of the East Coast Hockey League collecting three goals and three assists in 60 regular season games.
    The Blades coaching staff is rounded out by three returning members in assistant coaches Ryan Keller and Jerome Engele, who is a Blades lifer, along with goaltending coach Tim Cheveldae.

Huskies’ grads McFaull and Roach to play pro overseas

Kendall McFaull is set to play hockey overseas.
    Kendall McFaull and Josh Roach are going to get their first taste of playing professional hockey overseas.
    On Tuesday, the MacBeth Report announced McFaull signed a one-year contract with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, U.K. Elite). Last season, the-26-year-old defenceman played his final campaign with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team recording four goals, five assists and a plus-nine rating in the plus-minus department in 27 regular season games.
    McFaull, who has been the Huskies captain for the past three seasons, won the U Sports Dr. Randy Gregg Award for student-athlete community service.
    Away from the rink, McFaull, who graduated from U of S’s mechanical engineering program, has volunteered for various organizations including the Huskie Athletics Academic Council, Huskie homeroom, Saskatoon Minor Hockey and Recess Guardians, which is a program that helps elementary school students learn to interact and develop leadership skills through games and social interaction.
    He was an academic all-Canadian in the 2016-17 campaign.
    During his five seasons with the Huskies from 2013 to 2018, McFaull, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 210 pounds, appeared in 139 regular season games collecting 13 goals, 26 assists and a plus-36 rating.
    Before joining the Huskies, McFaull played four seasons in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors from 2009 to 2013, and he was the team’s captain in his final campaign. He appeared in 269 regular season games with the Warriors recording 16 goals, 39 assists and a minus-one rating.
Josh Roach has also signed on to play overseas for the Giants.
    McFaull will be joined on the Giants by Roach, who was a Huskies teammate. Roach, who also signed a one-year contract with the Giants, finished second overall in scoring for the Canada West conference last season piling up 13 goals and 24 assists in 27 regular season games to go with a plus-19 rating.
    He was a first team Canada West all-star and a second team U Sports all-Canadian all-star. Roach was the sportsmanship and ability award winner for Canada West last season.
    In five complete seasons with the Huskies from 2013 to 2018, Roach, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 190 pounds, appeared in 130 regular season games recording 36 goals, 75 assists and a plus-34 rating.
    Before joining the Huskies, Roach, who will turn 26 in July, spent four seasons playing defence in the junior A ranks from 2009 to 2013 split between the Humboldt Broncos and Flin Flon Bombers. In 203 regular season games divided between the Broncos and Bombers, Roach collected 43 goals and 105 assists.

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