The Dodsland Stars were the team to beat in the Cross Roads Hockey League this year, winning the league title in four games against the Kerrobert Tigers this past weekend.

The Stars joined the Luseland Mallards as defunct teams returning to the senior hockey landscape, adding to the Kerrobert Tigers who departed from the Sask West Hockey League, and upstart Kindersley Kodiaks, to form the all-new CRHL. The four team league was created to emphasize local hockey talent, and create another place to play competitive puck around west-central Saskatchewan in the winter. 

We reached out to CRHL president Sam Somerville to talk about the final series.

"They had a really great series." said Somerville, calling it hard-hitting and fast. Somerville had to give props to the Stars netminder. "The goaltending for Dodsland was unbelievable, in my mind. He played really well."

The Cross Roads president also spent some time looking back at the first year of play. Reminding him of the old days of the Wild Goose Hockey League, Somerville was happy to take on a role with the new league. With the league trophy now officially handed out to the team in green, Somerville shared his thoughts on the opening year of play.

"Seemed that guys were pretty pumped up and ready to go there." opened Somerville over the phone. "Started out really good and the guys were excited to get going. They put on a really good show."

The focus on "local" is what really made the league appealing to Somerville.

"All local players, everybody knew everybody, the stands were right full," said Somerville, who was extra impressed with the amount of fan support the first-year league garnered. "The participation from the fans was outstanding."

"Barns were full" throughout Cross Roads games this season according to Somerville, as he made an effort to get out to each of the league's four rinks as much as possible. With the league now fully established, and a season officially under it's belt, Somerville is excited to see what comes next for the team.

"Next year should be bigger and better," teased Somerville. "Hopefully we can add some teams, they can come on board and we can forge on with that and make it a better league."

One of the sticking points for the league this year is the fact they are a no-import, no pay-to-play league. The success of the Cross Roads using this formula has sparked up similar interest across the province, even at the provincial level according to Somerville.

"Hockey Saskatchewan is talking about possibly running a non-import provincial draw next year also. I am going to attend that, and see if we can get that pushed forward too." said Somerville. Kerrobert was the only Cross Roads team to ice a team in provincials this season.

Speaking back on the hockey itself to finish the interview, Somerville loves the style of play that will only continue to intensify as the league grows.

"Great hockey. The players played some hard-hitting games, some fast games. Some of them young guys don't get an opportunity to play in certain leagues, the higher end, but I thought it was really good." said Somerville, before referencing back to past leagues once again. "Reminds me of the Wild Goose, and Wild Duck league back in the day. When I played hockey the Wild Goose was a little higher level, but the Wild Duck was always a good, competitive, local, league for players and teams in the area back in the 70s and 80s.

"Not many people would remember that, but I do."