Monday, November 30, 2009

Breakout year for Kindersley forward in SJHL

By Darren Zary, The StarPhoenix

How's this for Major improvement?

Last season, Major's Andrew Dommett scored two goals for the Kindersley Klippers as a rookie in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

This season, Dommett has emerged as a sniper with 22 goals through 28 games.

"It's a good story," Kindersley head coach/general manager Larry Wintoneak said between games at the SJHL Showcase. The Klippers defeated the Melville Millionaires 5-3 late Thursday.

"He's a kid who last year just didn't have enough confidence in himself. His conditioning was an issue, too. He worked hard in the summer to get where he wanted to be. It all started in the playoffs when he really started to come around. Him, (Johnny) Calkins and (Braeden) Adamyk, we put them together. We really liked that chemistry and it's continuing."

Dommett, 19, is the only AAA midget Saskatoon Contact in a dressing room filled with former Saskatoon Blazers.

"There's still a little bit of heat between us," Dommett said with a chuckle. "They definitely (accepted me), but there still is some beaking and chirping going on."

Added Klippers captain Jordan Braid: "We actually ended up fighting a while ago when he was a Contact and I was a Blazer. We don't talk about that fight because I didn't really win."

As for Dommett's breakthrough season . . .

"Definitely, I'm surprised," said Dommett, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward. "I knew that I'd be playing a different role and getting more shots on net, so I prepared for that, but I'm definitely surprised."

Dommett played minor hockey in Luseland, about 20 minutes north of Major. He played pee wee and bantam in Rosetown. "(Notre Dame's A-Jay Moore was actually my linemate in Rosetown.") He played one year of midget AA in Kindersley before going on to the Contacts.

Dommett has drawn interest from Ferris State in Michigan and Norwich in Vermont.

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Drew Famuluk, an associate head coach with the Ferris State Bulldogs, has never missed a SJHL Showcase.

"It's good that it's back," said Famuluk, a native of Melville and former coach of the SJHL's Yorkton Terriers. "For us, it's very important. It's one of our main recruiting rounds, not only to get players but cultivate relationships and get to see the coaches 1-on-1 and get the nitty-gritty on players."

Ferris State has five former SJHLers on its 25-player roster.

"They're just good honest players," Famuluk said. "We like to call them low-maintenance kind of players. They play hard. They show up every day. The one thing that coaches in this league do is strive for kids to be very consistent, day in and day out. It just helps when they come into the fold, a little more older, a little more mature, not only as a player, but also as a person."

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SJHL Showcase officials are under the watchful eye of Ken Wheeler, manager of officials for the NHL.

"Any time they can get looked at, it's a good thing," said Tracy Cook, the SJHL's director of officials. "The biggest thing they're after is the opportunity to be seen."

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In SJHL Showcase action Friday, the Notre Dame Hounds edged the La Ronge Ice Wolves 2-1 in an overtime shootout, the Flin Flon Bombers downed the Nipawin Hawks 7-2 and the Yorkton Terriers defeated the Melville Millionaires 4-3.

In the late games, the Weyburn Red Wings played the Estevan Bruins and the host Battlefords North Stars tangled with the Humboldt Broncos.

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