Assistant GM of RBC Cup winners a former Neepawa Native


By: Lanny Stewart

A former member of the Neepawa Natives played a role in helping the Yorkton Terriers win this year's RBC Cup national junior 'A' hockey championship.

Gord Pritchard is the assistant general manager of the back-to-back Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League champion Terriers, who defeated the Carleton Place Canadians 4-3 in overtime earlier this month in the RBC Cup final in Vernon, B.C. Pritchard, who played three seasons with the Natives from 2001 to 2004, says the win ranks high on his list in terms of hockey accomplishments.

"This is No. 1 for me," he said. "It's pretty incredible really."

Pritchard believes the run to this year's RBC Cup title began last season when the Terriers would fall one game short of advancing to the national championship after losing a heartbreaker to the Brooks Bandits 1-0 in the final RBC Cup qualifier at the Western Canada Cup in Nanaimo, B.C.

"We learned a lot from that and we felt this year we had the team to get past the Western Canada Cup and get to the RBC [Cup]," he said. "Obviously it took a ton of work to repeat here in Saskatchewan and then to get through the Western Canada Cup to get to Vernon, so it was an incredible year and I'm glad it ended with us getting the cup."

Born in Regina, Pritchard would move to Yorkton during his high school years with his family before heading to Neepawa to play with the Natives. Looking back, the 31-year-old remembers Neepawa as being very supportive to him and the rest of his teammates during his time with club.

"It was nice when you go to places in town, people recognized you and were always stopping to say good game last night or how're you doing, are you enjoying things?"

After his junior playing days in Neepawa, Pritchard would suit up for the SUNY (State University of New York) Brockport Golden Eagles for four seasons in the SUNYAC (State University of New York Athletic Conference) from 2004-2008. He was captain of the team for three of the four seasons and during his time there, he would play against current Terriers head coach Trent Cassan, who was a member of the rival SUNY Geneseo club.

Cassan, who hails from Medora, has been working with Pritchard in the hockey operations department in Yorkton for three years now and says Gord has been a real positive influence with the players and is impressed with his dedication to the team.

"I've been fortunate to know him for a while now," said Cassan. "He's a good friend of mine. He's committed to helping in several areas, whether it's some technical stuff, helping with the guys with off-ice nutrition; he has some good connections."

One of those connections is Kevin Collins, a former teammate of Pritchard in SUNY Brockport, who is now the strength and conditioning coach of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets.

"He's very observant and very organized," continued Cassan, regarding Pritchard. "There's nothing too big or too small that he's not willing to do. It's never an issue with his dedication. He'll do the smallest job or the biggest; just a very good team guy."

Not only is Pritchard working for the Terriers, but he is also a full-time lawyer, who received his law degree a few years ago. He is currently working for a law firm in Yorkton.

Photo: Pritchard with the RBC Cup.

Photo by -MITCH- Inc.