Tigers win high school hockey league title


By: Lanny Stewart


The Neepawa Tigers are the Westman High School Hockey League champions. 

Hayden Kolesar scored his second tally in overtime as the Tigers edged the Major Pratt Trojans 3-2 on Tuesday night at the Yellowhead Centre, sweeping the best-of-three series in the process. The championship win comes after the club won a third consecutive provincial A/AA title earlier this month.

"What a year," said Tigers head coach Gary Salmon. "I have to say that I am really impressed with what the team did this season."

Kolesar opened the scoring for the Tigers in the first period, however the Trojans responded with two tallies of their own. The game remained 2-1 for Major Pratt until Neepawa captain Garett Rempel wound up up tying the contest at the 17:23 mark in the third.

The Tigers advanced to the championship final after defeating the Deloraine/Hartney Colts in a semifinal which saw Neepawa fight back from a 1-0 deficit in a best-of-three affair. 

The Tigers played a total of 56 games this year, finishing with a 46-10-1-3 overall record. 

"I am very proud of them all," continued Salmon. "We had players that stepped up as leaders and played significant roles, but I thought that we were successful,  because we had everyone contributing at important times. 

"These players have written a place for themselves in the high school hockey history books, and have once again let the rest of the hockey community know what type of talent we have in our hockey programs here in Neepawa," he continued.

The Tigers will look noticeably different next season as several players will be graduating from the program. Salmon says it was a privilege to coach all the players this season and also credited the coaching staff for their efforts.

"This was a special way to wrap up their hockey with such a successful season," he concluded.

The WHSHL title win on Tuesday night was the Tigers second championship in three years. The Tigers won the league title in 2012 and last year, wound up falling in a semifinal to Dauphin. 

In photo: Tigers pose with both their WHSHL and provincial A/AA banners moments after Tuesday night's win over the Major Pratt Trojans. 

Photo submitted