Climbing the ladder from AA hockey, to the AAA ranks, and eventually the SJHL, Kerrobert's Austin Shepherd has had an eventful couple years of hockey. Now reaching the end of his SJHL rookie season with the Melfort Mustangs, Shepherd can call himself an SJHL champion.

"It was awesome. Honestly, coming here the first year I did not think that was going to happen. But it sets the bar pretty high for the next two seasons," said the young forward. "It was great, unbelievable, a great group of guys for my rookie season for sure."

Austin Shepherd Tye Scherger.jpg Shepherd with assistant coach and Macklin native Tye Scherger (Photo courtesy Marli Shepherd)

Shepherd had tons of support from back home during his rookie season, and subsequent playoff run with the Mustangs. Family and friends in the crowd for the finals helped give the energetic skater Shepherd some extra motivation.

"It was great. A lot of people were supporting me from around home, getting a lot of texts." he said. "Having my family, and grandparents there. It was a special moment for sure."

While the long grind of a junior season might be over, Shepherd and the Mustangs will be right back at practice soon. The Canterra Seeds Cup champions are now moving on to the Centennial Cup in Oakville, Ontario beginning next week.

The Mustangs seem to be a confident bunch headed in, as Shepherd shared more on the week ahead.

"We start back up (today). I think we all want to keep winning, and keep playing together as long as we can with this group of guys. Just carry on right where we left off, and hopefully it carries over to the Centennial."

Shepherd wouldn't mind adding one more accolade to his already impressive rookie campaign. Expect more on the Centennial Cup, beginning next Thursday in Ontario.