Kinistino Jr. Tigers
City: Kinistino, Saskatchewan
League: North Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League
Founded: 1970 (1970)–71
Home Arena: Kinistino Sports Complex
Colours: Black, Orange, White

The Kinistino Jr. Tigers were a team in the North Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (NSJHL) from 1970-1997. Originally called the Kinistino Tiger-Bruins, the team was renamed to the Tigers following the 1983-1984 season. The Tigers played out of the Kinistino Sports Complex in Kinistino, Saskatchewan for the duration of the teams existence. The team folded after the 1996-1997 season due to financial difficulties.

History[edit | edit source]

Tiger-Bruins[edit | edit source]

In 1970 Kinistino was granted a franchise into the NSJHL and began an affiliation with the Estevan Bruins of the WHL. Though, Estevan would move to Westminster after the first year, the working agreement continued.[1] George Longman acted as the manager for the Tiger-Bruins until 1981 when the franchise asked for, and received a leave of absence from the league. While the Tigers failed to capture any championships during this period two skaters, Theran Welsh (1973–74) and Wade Hoffus (1976–77) led the league in scoring.

Tigers[edit | edit source]

After a leave of absence, Kinistino rejoined the NSHJL to start the 1984-85 season. Coached by former player Les Jack the team started to build into a competitive club with talented players, but again failed to win any league championships despite boasting the league leader scorer in every season during the 1980s, with the exception of the 1985-1986 season. In 1988 the Tigers would come close to their first championship, falling short in the best of seven to the Warman Valley Crusaders (who would go on to win the Keystone Cup).

Dynasty Years[edit | edit source]

1989-1991[edit | edit source]

In, 1989 the Tigers would finally capture their first league championship. Led by scoring champion Dave Morrell the Tigers would advance to the Western Junior B Championships for the first time as the Saskatchewan representative. Though they were less successful, the experience would prove beneficial. The Tigers continued to build strong teams, winning back to back league champions and then became the first team to win three league championships in a row.[2] The Tigers third trip to the Western Championships would see them finally achieve the ultimate goal, winning the gold medal game to capture the Keystone Cup.

1991-1992[edit | edit source]

Following their championship in 1991 the Tigers had a great opportunity as they were selected as hosts for the 1992 Western Canadian Junior Champions. Though the pressure to win was added by hosting the tournament the Tigers put together another solid season, defeating the Saskatoon Chiefs in the league finals. They would them come through in front of the home crowd, defeating the Chiefs in the gold medal game 7-2 to capture back-to-back Keystone Cups.

1992-1993[edit | edit source]

The 1993 season was similar to the previous four, seeing the Tigers win their fifth straight NSHJL Championship. After the formation of the South Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SSJHL), winning the league wasn't an automatic berth into the Keystone Cup and the Tigers were forced to play a best of five series against the SSJHL Champion, the Assiniboia Southern Rebels. The Tigers won the first two games played in Kinistino by identical 7-3 scores and then ended the series with a 4-0 shutout of the Rebels in Assiniboia, earning them their fourth provincial title in as many years.[3]

Going into the Keystone Cup the Tigers had an opportunity to win three straight titles, a feat that had never been completed. Poised to make history the Tigers found themselves in the championship game against the Lloydminster Bandits. The Bandits had handed the Tigers their only loss during the round robin of the tournament and would prevail again, sending the Tigers away with a silver medal.

1993-1994[edit | edit source]

The Tigers would win their final league and provincial championship, stopping the total at six consecutive championships, which at the time was a record for the most consecutive provincial Junior B championships. (The title previously belonged to the Lebret Indians (1955–1959).)[4] Kinistino travelled to Thunder Bay to compete in the Keystone Cup and would again win the tournament, defeating the Selkirk Fisherman in the championship game by a score of 5-3. The win made Kinistino the first team to win the Keystone Cup three times, which is now a record they share with the Assiniboia Southern Rebels.

1994-1995 and the demise of the franchise[edit | edit source]

During the 1994 season the Tigers continued to dominate and sat in first place going into the playoffs. Many assumed it would be another league championship was close at hand, but the upstart Saskatoon Royals had put together an impressive season while being overshadowed by the dominant Tigers. When the two clubs met in the league championship it was the underdogs from the bridge city that would come out victorious. After falling to the Royals, the Tigers would never field a championship team again. The pressure of attracting hockey talent to the small community and funding a team eventually led to the team folding following the 1996-1997 season.

Notable Tiger Alumni[edit | edit source]

  • Jason Duda: (Player) Melfort Mustangs, Saskatoon Blades, Wichita Thunder
  • Les Jack: (Player) Estevan Bruins, Prince Albert Raiders, (Coach) Melfort Mustangs, Prince Albert Raiders
  • Mike Rooney: (Coach) Melville Millionaires
  • Steve Tansowny: (Player) University of Saskatchewan Huskies
  • Mark Brenner: (Player) University of Saskatchewan Huskies

Records[edit | edit source]

Team Records
Statistic Total Season
Consecutive Provincial Championships 6 1989–1994
Keystone Cup Championships 3 1991-92,1994

Awards[edit | edit source]

Clarence Ebert Memorial Trophy (NSJHL League MVP)
Player Season
Darrell Mann 1984–1985
Keith MacKintosh 1987–1988
Troy Van Allen 1989–1990
Todd MacMurchy 1995–1996
Syl Panchuk Memorial Award (NSJHL Playoff MVP)
Player Season
Mike Rooney 1988–1989
Dave Morrell 1989–1990
Regan Harper 1990–1991
Chris Kirwin 1992–1993
Steve Tansowney 1993–1994
Al Ure Trophy (League Scoring Title)
Player Season
Theran Welsh 1973–1974
Wade Hoffer 1976–1977
Darrell Mann 1984–1985
Dave Rioch 1986–1987
Joe McKay 1987–1988
Dave Morrell 1988–1989
Troy Van Allen 1989–1990
Trevor Morrison 1991–1992
Todd MacMurchy 1995–1996
Bob King Trophy (Best Goaltender)
Player Season
Dione Bacon - Obie Davis - Pat MacKintosh 1989–1990
Jeff Taylor - Devin Fink 1990–1991
Jaeson Swanson - Greg Denham 1991–1992
Mark Brenner - Steve Tansowny 1992–1993
Mark Brenner - Steve Tansowny 1993–1994
Mark Brenner - Jason Ripplinger 1994–1995
Mark Brenner - Robb Galatiuk 1995–1996

External links[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
Warman Valley Crusaders
North Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Champions
Succeeded by
Saskatoon Royals
Preceded by
Warman Valley Crusaders
Athol Murray Trophy Champions
Succeeded by
Regina Capitals
Preceded by
Columbia Valley Rockies
Keystone Cup Champions
1991-92 and 1994
Succeeded by
Lloydminster Bandits

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. George Longman, 1992 Western Junior Championship Program, Page 9
  2. Prairie Junior Hockey League, History, 2011, <>
  3. Prairie Junior Hockey League, History, 2011, <>
  4. Saskatchewan Hockey Association, Past Provincial Champions, 2011, <>
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