Lots of people argue about what is truly a dynasty. Some say 3 championships in 5 years is the criteria needed to garner the title. Regardless, what the West Central Wheat Kings did during this last decade on the provincial scene, and in the now dispersed North Sask Female Hockey League was certainly memorable.
A league championship is noted for the 2012-2013 season, before a first round defeat the next year out to the eventual champions. They went 14-4-2 during their next league championship run in 2014-15, and posted a just as respectable 12-3-5 record during their repeat year in the NSFHL.
Even before those back-to-back league championships the girls were consistently winning.
They won their first provincial title of the decade in 2011, with a roster that would give an early indication of what was to come. A nearby team in Delisle would take provincials in 2012, but the Wheat Kings would take the title again the next year out to begin a 4 year stretch of dominance for the region.
Longtime manager Lyle Westman wasn’t surprised with the success they had considering the talent from the area. He saw an opportunity to gather select west central girls, and he knew they had a chance to dominate.
“I just did some digging to see if I could gather all the girls from our area and get them together. We had some of the top girls in the province for their age, all on our team,” said Westman, “From Plenty, Rosetown, Kindersley, Dodsland. We just got really lucky with the age group I guess.”
Team trainer Ken Besharah was just another hockey parent turned staff member for that team, but even he was struck by how talented they were.
“(My son) and those kids never even got close, (those girls) won a lot.” said Besharah.
It became even more apparent how special these teams were in speaking with their former coaches.
“Jason Hennes is who we won a lot of those championships with out of Eatonia.” said Besharah, “After they were done Mike Rublee took it over.”
Still it comes down to the players, and the manager Westman said that having the deep team they did was just a luxury.
“With that you don’t need 12 great players; we always seemed to have 4 that were better than anyone else we were playing against.”
He notes the first real sign of this talent coming around the ‘95 birth year, and the team kept bringing on notable locals for at least the next 5 years. He said that recruiting period was about as good as you could get, though he doesn’t want to discount any talent from before or after.
A good amount of these players did manage to take the next step and play with a career in hockey, one example being Plenty native Jaycee Gebhard who made news this time last year with her future team up in the air. Perhaps not every player was the best compared to the team’s standard of immense talent, but everyone on those teams likely knew they were apart of something special, and knew they always carried a chance to win.