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Portage Terriers All-Decade Team 2000-2010

The MJHL is currently paused due to COVID-19 which gives teams and fans a chance to reflect on past teams and players. In March I created an All-Decade team for 2010-19. This was a fun exercise, remembering all of the great players that I have covered since I started broadcasting for the team.

Going back in history and trying to create a team for 2000-10 is a bit tougher for me as I didn’t see a lot of these games in person. I have gone to the record books and have chatted with former broadcasters Ryan Simpson and Jeff Dyck.

The Terriers had a successful decade including league championships in 2005, ‘08, ‘09 and an ANAVET cup in ‘05.

What criteria should be used to determine who is on the list? When creating a complete hockey team it is more than just total points. You need players who can play defence and who will come through when it matters the most. Some of the factors that have been considered are single season, career and playoff impact. I’ve also taken into consideration the age of the player at the time of their accomplishments and where their career has gone after leaving the Terriers.

 

Offence

Left Wing                                    Centre                               Right Wing

Andrew Jackman (02-05)    Tyler Skworchinski (02-03)    Eric Delong (05-09)

Riley Nixdorf (07-09)            Mike Audino (05-08)               David Phillips (02-04)

Stan Yanchyshin (02-07)     Cliff Ketchen (02-04)              Jeremey Dawes (05-08)

Phil Lekteman (07-10)         Colin Slobodian (02-05)         Kajon McKay (08-13)

 

Honourable Mentions

Tyler Moore, Cory More, Steve Haddon, Scott Edwards, Brenden Walker

 

Defense

A.J. Spiller (03-08)    Leif Thorkelson (02-05)

Darren Miller (06-09)    Kip Workman (03-05)

Drew Element (08-09)    Chris Reykdal (04-07)

 

Honourable Mention

Joey Patsack, RJ Linder, Kody Mintenko

 

Goalies

Stephan Drew (02-05)

Gavin McHale (07-08)

 

Hounourable mentions

Brian Mountain, Jason Kasdorff

 

Offence

The first line is a slam dunk to be on the all decade team. Delong is 3rd in team career scoring with 281 points, led the team in scoring as a 17-year-old, was named the CJHL player of the year, was part of the Turnbull Cup winning teams in ‘08 and ‘09, and then went on to play Division I hockey for Sacred Heart. Andrew Jackman played three seasons with the team and is 7th in all time scoring with 222 points. He was an MJHL rookie of the year and was a big part of the team that went all the way to the ANAVET Cup in 2005. Tyler Skworchinski set the league on fire in the ‘02-03 season racking up 115 points. He tied the Terrier team record for goals in a season with 60 and was named league MVP. He went on to college and eventually professional in the Central Hockey League.

The top two lines are absolutely stacked with offensive fire power. Mike Audino is six points behind Jackman on the all-time list and played three years with the team and was captain for a Turnbull Cup win. David Phillips had 158 points in 99 games over two seasons and made the second All-Star team in ‘03. Finishing off the line is a finisher in Riley Nixdorf. He scored the championship goals in both ’08 and ’09 and lead the team in scoring with 103 points in the ’08-09 season.

The third line includes the Terriers all time leader in games played: Stan Yanchisyn. He played a full 5 seasons from 2002-07 and finished with 277 games, 163 points and 1093 penalty minutes. For longevity alone he makes this list, but he was also named the captain in his final year. Cliff Ketchen had back-to-back 91-point seasons and is the centre on our third line. He led the team in scoring by almost 20 points in ’03-’04. Jeremy Dawes led the Terriers in scoring with 98 points in ’07-08 and is 33rd on the all-time scoring list.

The fourth line isn’t necessarily the top scorers but like in a real lineup it includes players that are tough to play against and have “intangibles”. Phil Letkeman was a big physical forward who could mix it up with the best of them. He was a part of two championship teams and was well liked in the room. He had 73 points over his career. Colin Slobodian was co-captain of them team when they won the ANAVET cup in ’05 and had three 20 goal seasons. “A really solid, heart and soul type, good at both ends of the ice and a former captain” says former broadcaster Ryan Simpson. The final winger is second on the all time games played list and also started as a 16 year old. Someone who wouldn’t shy away from physical play, McKay finished his career as team captain.

 

Defence

This is the hardest group because quality defense is hard to measure with statistics. When looking back over the decade a few elite players clearly emerged. The top being A.J. Spiller. The son of head coach and GM Blake Spiller, he played parts of five seasons including two championships. A tough defenceman to play against, he also put up 128 points. He went on to play in New Zealand and is currently the GM of Auckland Ice Hockey and coaches their U18 national team.  Leif Thorkelson was co-captain of the ANAVET Cup championship team and finished his career with 38 points and 748 penalty minutes.

Darren Miller makes the second pairing, not for his offence, but shutdown ability. “He was the biggest hitter I’ve ever seen” says former Terrier broadcaster Jeff Dyck. “I saw him hipcheck Matt Kerzinger (Humboldt) into the boards in the ANAVET cup and broke his hip”! Kip Workman was the top scoring defenceman on the ’05 ANAVET Cup winning team with 45 points and was named to the first All-star team.

Drew Element came to the team for one season in ’08-09 and put up 41 points. He also had an “amazing 41 points and was on fire in the playoffs” says former broadcaster Ryan Simpson. The Terriers went on to win the Turnbull Cup that season and Element was named playoff MVP. Chris Reykdal rounds out our pairings. Playing from ’04-07 he posted 89 points from the blueline and was a key contributor.

 

Goalie

Stephan Drew would be the starting netminder on the All-Decade team. He played two full seasons with the Terriers, including the ANAVET Cup championship in ‘05. Drew was also named to the All-Rookie team and had solid stats throughout his career.

Gavin McHale was the MJHL goalie of the year, had the best GAA, and was named to the first All-Star team. He also backstopped the Terriers to the Turnbull Cup.