Telling Sask. junior hockey ag stories

Telling Sask. junior hockey ag stories
Jan 25, 2024

CANTERRA SEEDS and the SJHL are teaming up for the Golden Sheaf Program

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A seed company and a junior hockey league are collaborating to tell stories from the farm and how they translate to success on the ice.

CANTERRA SEEDS and the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) have launched the Golden Sheaf Program, which will highlight the upbringing of farm kids currently playing in the league.

“We will be interviewing and writing stories about SJHL athletes with agricultural backgrounds, and how growing up on the farm helped get them to where they are today,” Jacob Faith, director of marketing and partnerships with the SJHL, told

The first player to be featured in an interview will be Connor Miller.

Connor Miller
Connor Miller (Supplied photo)

The right winger for the Humboldt Broncos has 22 points (7G, 15A) in 22 games this season, and in February 2023 committed to Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he’ll play NCAA Div. I hockey when his tenure with the Broncos is over.

He also grew up on his family’s Lipton, Sask., grain farm.

And being raised on a farm is what sets Miller and players like him apart from others who grew up in different settings, said Brent Derkatch, president and CEO of CANTERRA SEEDS.

“Ask any hockey coach what sets the top players apart from the rest of the pack and you can bet ‘work ethic’ will be the number one answer,” he said in a statement. “Ask any farm kid what they learned growing up on the farm was and you can bet ‘work ethic’ will be the number one answer.”

Multiple SJHL alumni have grown up on farms.

Greg Classen, for example, grew up on a farm near Aylsham and played four seasons with the Nipawin Hawks. He also played 90 National Hockey League games and was inducted into the SJHL Hall of Fame in 2019.

In a 2018 social media post, Classen said “working on the farm was always a family effort,” and thanked his parents for exemplifying what work ethic means.

Jake Southgate, who played for the Battlefords North Stars and spent time as the team’s captain, grew up on his family farm about 20 minutes away from Battleford.

Having his family close by helped with his mental health. And Southgate used that closeness to be a pillar of support for his teammates.

“It’s been a dream come true [to be the captain for my hometown team]. But that means I get to go home to my family every day. I have a good support system here. I can talk to them almost every day," Southgate told CTV in January 2023 during an interview relating to a mental health campaign.

“So, I try and talk to my teammates every day and let them know they can talk to me [if they are struggling] or anyone else on the team. We have a really good support system here in Battleford.”

Southgate now plays hockey at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Mo. has contacted Connor Miller’s family to discuss his upbringing on the farm.

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