There were a lot of incredible sports achievements in and around Portage la Prairie this year.
But one stood out above all.
The Portage Online News team has selected the Portage Terriers as the Top Sports Newsmaker of 2016. After losing 12 veterans from 2015, expectations for the Terriers were modest heading into the 2015-16 season. No one could have predicted a the 52-6-2 regular season and 31-game winning streak picked up along the way to a second straight MJHL championship.
"It was great that we won our league again, and I thought we showed well at the Western's," says general manager and head coach Blake Spiller. "With a big turnover of players I thought we got as close as we could to the RBC Cup. We did whatever we could to try and get their and just came up a bit short. This year is a different season like every other one, and with a really young group of guys, and quite a few injuries early in the season, I feel like we've been doing very well up to this point of this season."
Spiller took home the Canadian Junior Hockey League Coach of the Year Award at the end of the season for the second straight year. "It really never gets old," says Spiller. "Every time you get one you're always striving to find another."
Spiller says they've had some growing pains this season with a young squad, and some injuries, but he feels they're getting back to healthy. "When we get there we'll have a better idea of where we're stacked up in the league. "If we win that game against Winkler the other day we're in second place heading into the break. We're trying to get into first, and January 10th is the trade deadline, so we're in discussions about a few things and we'll see how things shake out in 2017."
More Major Sports Newsmakers of 2016
- MacGregor's Sheridan Oswald dawns the maple leaf with Team Canada at the World Women's Junior Hockey Championship
- The Portage Padres first Santa Clara Championship
- Portager Dean Stewart drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2016 NHL Draft
- The PCI Saints dominate Manitoba in High School Fastpitch
- Portage Curlers Capture Silver at World Senior Men's Championship