After what we saw for sporting activities in the pandemic year that was 2020, there were high, but not very optimistic expectations in 2021 as the COVID-19 situation improved.

About one year ago it was junior and senior hockey in Saskatchewan that paused after starting up the year thinking they would be able to play a full season. Senior players soon realized they would be shelved for another year, and the SJHL thought they had a plan to that was eventually nixed, while the WHL went ahead in various bubble environments to at least get some hockey on in the new year.

A few west central players were able to crack WHL rosters, including Kindersley Klippers local product Logan Linklater making his league debut, but we will look more into him when diving into the Klippers past year. Of the talent from the area, Cade Hayes is the veteran of the group playing with the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The SJHL would begin planning for the 2021 season as the WHL concluded theirs without any playoffs, and other sports seasons started to see their 2021 fates come to light like baseball. Kindersley Minor Ball ended up having a terrific year, starting with the completion of a special batting cage remodel at the local baseball complex.

Golf season would open as a ‘hole in one’, especially in Kerrobert, as courses around the area saw a relaxed beginning to their season compared to golfing in the fresh pandemic spring of 2020.

Then headed into June, senior baseball would begin for local teams, though continued issues with COVID led to the FVBL season being cancelled for another year. That wasn’t the case for the Coteau Valley, however. Also in the middle of all that, Flatlanders Speedway in Kindersley opened up their season with some great racing in poor conditions.

The start of summer saw a few recently graduated athletes take their next step, as football players from Kerrobert and Kindersley marked the next step of their journey by signing with the Kamloops Broncos. It was also signing seasons for the different junior hockey teams in the area, in different regards, as the Kindersley Klippers saw a captain go off to college, and Delisle Chiefs stayed busy making moves ahead of hopefully a full season of action. Sticking with hockey news in June, one of our professional contacts in Jaycee Gebhard shared with us the experience of her first full year playing in Sweden.

With hockey teams quieting down and preparing for a big year, attention shifted to baseball, where the Kindersley Stallions were gunning for the NSRBL title in their second year in the league, and the Unity Jr Cardinals were gaining respect as a junior team in an impressive senior circuit. The Stallions were confident as the NSRBL season wound down, and ended up using that confidence to secure themselves the title in their second year in the league.

They took the title as the leagues best team, but the rest of the NSRBL teams that took part in provincials had very successful runs, proving the leagues skill level. In fact, the west central region’s skills on the diamond in general were proved, as provincials in Saskatchewan for all ages saw some great regional representation.

Fall sports began with a bang as the CFL made it’s return in August, with a special debut from a Kindersley connected Roughrider. We sat down one-on-one with Ferland early in the season, and followed him all throughout the teams season that saw them fall just short of a trip to the Grey Cup. We followed a bunch of local high school action as well, and one story that stuck out was a terrific team effort out of Biggar that saw them play at a high level, while missing one of their own.

The tail end of Fall sports would bring a seemingly abrupt entrance back to hockey season, and a look into local bull rider Dakota Buttar’s impressive journey to make it back-to-back PBR Canada championships. An exciting event in Saskatoon set Buttar up for a good chance to win, but an injury in that event headed into the finals left the PBR athlete with a rough chance to make history.

High school sports like volleyball, golf, and the tail end of the football season around the province helped lead us back into the winters main attraction: hockey.

Minor hockey around the region is always relevant, but junior and senior teams tend to dominate the headlines with so many to root for in our area. The SVHL and SWHL are the main attractions when it comes to senior, and the SJHL’s Kindersley Jr. Klippers are always the big draw, with the Delisle Junior B Chiefs of the PJHL a close second.

This is the first of three year end recaps, as West Central Online tries it’s best to provide the best local SPORTS, SCORES, and STORIES. Read some of the years top sports stories below: