The SJHL brings its own unique style to the CJHL. Community is key.
Fans of hockey in Saskatchewan are painstakingly aware of the importance of perseverance and rallying together as a community. It’s one of the value systems that have integrated themselves into the league itself, which according to Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League president, Bill Chow, is what sets the SJHL apart.
“I think the biggest thing that makes us, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League unique, is that we have twelve communities that are community owned,” explains Chow. “Obviously, outside Notre Dame which is owned by the school, but the other 11 communities are all community owned teams, so those teams are built of the backs of the volunteers.
“…from my perspective we have to say a great big thank you to them for what they do to keep the game of junior hockey in their communities.”
Perhaps known for it’s more physical style of play, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has been evolving over the years. As with any other league in the game of hockey, the style of play has begun to showcase a more skilled, fast game.
“Since I became president of the SJHL eight years ago, this is my eighth winter, the level and the type of play and the style of play has definitely changed, as in all levels,” recalls Chow. “I think we’ve adapted, obviously we’re getting the more skilled player into the game, the game is become quicker like in every level and I think that’s good, because we’ve adapted.”
In many ways, the league represents and reflects the character of those who support Junior ‘A’ hockey in the small town Saskatchewan communities. For Chow, this is home and credits the quality of the league, and the quality of SJHL hockey to the quality of it’s people province-wide.
“I was born and raised in Saskatchewan, and I think when you look at Saskatchewan born players I think you can always find that their character will always come through and I think that sets us apart.” Chow commented. “I think our skill-level is getting better but our character is staying there as well.”
LISTEN IN: Bryan Wilson chats with SJHL President, Bill Chow.