Canadrill went through the Rankin Inlet Senior Men’s Hockey League (RISMHL) playoffs undefeated, capping off their run with a 12 -7 win over team KIA to claim the championship title on March 4.
It was a year of transition for the senior league, as many players missing a significant number of games due to being employed at one of the Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) mine sites at Meadowbank near Baker Lake or Meliadine near Rankin Inlet.
Andrew Simms captained the champion Canadrill team and said the caliber of play in the league varied all season, depending on how many players a team could ice for any given game.
He said the same rang true during the playoffs with M&T, A&K and the KIA all suffering from limited rosters.
“A lot of guys were at camp during the season and the playoffs, but any night two teams played with near full benches you could see the talent level was still there in the league,” said Simms. “With so many guys having jobs right now, it’s a bit of a rough patch for the league, as far as having competitive games every night.”
Simms said the playoff semifinals would probably have went the limit of three games if M&T and A&K weren’t missing so many players.
He said KIA and Canadrill took advantage of the short benches to fly through the semis.
“Everyone knows and accepts (that) we can’t really do too much about it,” said Simms. “The guys want to work as much as they can, and you can’t blame anyone for that. It’s a very good thing for our community.”
Simms credited the other teams with playing their hardest, despite limited rosters.
“The guys who played in the playoffs gave it 110 per cent – the compete level was definitely there – but there’s only so much a limited amount of guys can do. We were lucky in that we had three full lines almost every game, so it was pretty hard for the other teams to compete against us while having short benches.”
The RISMHL should be back next year with the same five teams, said Simms.
“Overall, it was a good season,” he said.
The top three scorers in the RISMHL for the 2017-18 regular season were David Clark (48 goals, 58 assists for 106 points), Tristen Dias (40 goals, 37 assists for 77 points) and Jon Kingwatsiak (36 goals, 38 assists for 74 points).