Hockey Legends

of Grande Prairie

Hockey - It's in their Blood

Continuing…

Take a look:

Grandpa Gary Clements - Gary launched the growing tradition of Clements hockey players in Grande Prairie in 1974 playing with the Athletics. The stalwart defenceman played two years with the Athletics in the South Peace Hockey League and the following season was named the league’s first string all star, most valuable defenceman and most gentlemanly player.

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Gary Clements (right) and Denis Prefontaine, far left, form a wall in front of Athletics net minder Merlin Jenner in an attempt to block out Bob Kalb of the Fort St. John Flyers. Photo courtesy of the Clements family


Eldest son Craig - left winger, also known for his scoring touch, briefly played with brother Colin, on the North Stars. He also played for some time with the Athletics, is currently living in Edmonton, and continues to be active in men’s hockey circles.

Colin - played with the North Stars and the Athletics under playing coach, Ian MacPhee. “They were the best hockey years I ever had,” said Clements. “Most games we only had 12 players in uniform but it was a lot of fun. When you were my PE teacher at Montrose Junior High School I watched you (Stan) and my Dad play together in the old Memorial Arena.”

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Colin Clements was a member of the 1986-87 Grande Prairie North Stars. Submitted photo.


Coming next is Corey - played with the Chiefs during the 1993-94 Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League season. He won a scholarship in Minnesota playing NCAA Men's Ice hockey and played with Augsburg College Auggies in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1996-97 to 1997-98. Corey has a practice at Clements Chiropractic Clinic in Long Beach, California.

Chris - who still lives in Grande Prairie played Grande Prairie Midget AA and a few games with the Chiefs. He currently plays in the city Industrial Hockey League.

The twins Danny and David, two more outstanding athletes, suited up for the Storm from 2002-2004 winning the Alberta Junior Hockey League championship in their last season. From 2004-2006 the boys also played for Augsburg Auggies. Both now call Anaheim, California home for themselves and their growing families.

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Members of the 2004 Alberta Junior Hockey League champion Grande Prairie Storm. Danny is just above the blonde guy with a hand in front of his face and Dave is in the blue shirt and tie under his jersey. Thank you to Mark Menzies for helping provide the names. We tried our best to get the names correct. If there are any mistakes please contact us.
Top, from the left: Shane Corsten, Trevor Thomas, Scott McCulloch, Bruce Little, Danny Clements, Dustin Sather, Jason Jubb, Chris Wilson, Jordan Ramstead, Josh Welter, Rick Nordstrom, Jon Harty, Morgan MacLean , Jerrid  Sawatsy, Mark Menzies, Kyle Radke, Ryan Chrenek, David Clements, Jonathan Cayer, Malcolm Gwilliam, Jack Redlick, Don Moon, Fran Gow, Keith Widdifield. Bottom, from the left : Grant Menzies, Dave Hurta, Brad Erickson, Steve Knowles, Jonathan Labelle, Jean Bourbeau, Mark Scott, Tyler Dutchyshen, Todd Paul, Trevor Mazurek, Mark Malekoff, Marty Palechuk


Grant Menzies, who was instrumental in the formation and success of the Storm team, had these comments about the twins: “I liken them to the Sedin twins in Vancouver! Hard working, tough and played much more effectively together than apart! Always a pleasure to have around and always gave it their best game in and game out!”

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The Clements family with the AJHL trophy emblematic of junior hockey supremacy. Back row left to right. Corey, Chris, Lynda, Gary, Craig, Colin. Front row. David and Danny . Photo courtesy of the Clements family


Legends committee member Darren Foley, chairman for the 3D Charity Hockey Tournament involving students from grade 4 to grade 12 in the Peace Wapiti, Catholic, and Public School Districts, remembers both Danny and David as participants in his first ever event and great High School ambassadors.

The twins didn't play their last year of junior hockey here as they both accepted scholarships to Minnesota. Both David and Danny earned degrees from Southern California University of Health Sciences. They had the distinction of being on the Dean’s List, and shared the award for best chiropractic technique amongst graduating peers. Currently they are in practice together at Twins Chiropractic and Physical Medicine Clinic outside of Anaheim.

FAST FORWARD TO THE COUNTY JDA KINGS

Fast forward to Saturday, February 11, 2017, at the North West Junior Hockey League hockey game between Kings and Dawson Creek Junior Canucks out at the County Sportsplex. I notice a young forward tearing up the ice. Checking the program I discover #11 is Brock Clements, son of none other than Colin Clements and grandson of Gary and Linda.

Coincidence? I think not.

Now a 22 year old senior in his fourth year with the Kings, Brock is a strapping six foot tall power forward and taller than his Dad Colin. Brock is grandson of Gary making him a third generation hockey player in a family name that is legendary in Grande Prairie.

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Moves like this one by King forward Brock Clements helped his team power their way to a win in the final game of the NWJHL season. Photo by Stan Neufeld


Fans caught a glimpse of what to expect in the playoffs, currently underway, from Brock and his Kings on Saturday night. The Clements hockey genes still turning heads on the ice.
In a back-and-forth affair - combined with out-of-sync defensive play and strong goaltending - Wyatt Lawrence scored the Kings’ game winning goal in three-on-three overtime en route to a 7-6 victory over the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks. Both teams registered more than 50 shots on net.


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JDA Kings Goaltender Dalyn Haire with the help of back checking captain Joel Wamsteeker shut the door on this scoring attempt by the Junior Canucks. Photo by Stan Neufeld


Saturday night was the final regular season game for both teams. The Kings finished fifth in the NWJHL and the Canucks finished fourth, which means the two teams meet in the first round of playoffs. In last year’s playoffs, the Kings ousted the Canucks in three straight games in the first round.

Athletics are out of the SPHL playoffs but local fans can still get their hockey fix by cheering on both the Kings and Storm, who are in the heat of AJHL league play fighting for a playoff spot.

Junior B hockey in Grande Prairie is good local competition that attracts many eyes, not only fans but player recruiting staff from colleges, Major Junior, and Junior A clubs. Junior B hockey has solidified itself as an avenue for players to garner exposure and experience toward their evolution as worthy competitors. Local players have the opportunity to wear the crest of the hometown hockey team while out of town players can also take advantage of the billet program to solidify their opportunity with this growing organization. Junior B involves the carding of players much like the Storm program.

One has to go no further than speak to members of our Grande Prairie Hockey Legends committee to delve deeper into the Kings and their success in the NWJHL.

For example, Bill Bessent, a long time volunteer supporter for junior hockey in the city, has been a host billet with Kings for the past two years. He currently has defenceman Luke Allard from Maple Ridge, BC staying with him. Bill who served on the board of directors with the Grande Prairie Chiefs of the Rocky Mountain Junior A Hockey League from 1991-1995 says the calibre of hockey now is not quite as good as back then but in fairness the Chiefs were the only junior game in town.

Marty Tingstad, with over three decades of officiating under his belt, was referee for the game Saturday night and certainly had to work overtime to oversee the eventual winner.

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Referee Marty Tingstad skated a lot of miles Saturday during the game between the Kings and the Junior Canucks. Photo by Stan Neufeld


Cam Henning has played every level of hockey in Grande Prairie, including the Junior Athletics in the 1966-67 season. Cam says,“ The game has changed so much it would be hard to compare the Kings to our junior team back then. I’ve seen the Kings practice and they work a lot harder than we did when games were in the old a Memorial Arena. They have some very talented players. I think we were a faster skating team back then but not as good in the corners where a lot of the game is played today. We might also have been more physical but it’s the stops and starts in the corners that amaze me,” he said.

NEW HOME - NEW NAME

The first NWJHL game was played back in the fall of 1994. The league was composed of the Grande Prairie Wheelers (later known as the JDA Kings), Sexsmith Vipers, Dawson Creek Junior Canucks, and the Slave Lake Wolves. The Coca-Cola Centre in Grande Prairie became home to the Kings after it opened in 2003.

Later, the JDA Kings became known as the County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings in December of 2013 with their move to the County’s Sportsplex in Clairmont. They played their first game in the new digs on January 4, 2014. You can find them on their home ice, the Pat’s Auto Supply Arena, in the twin-rink facility, with seating for about 375 people. The team hosted the Alberta Junior B Hockey Championships in April of 2014 at the Sportsplex, one of the biggest hockey events in the Peace Country that year.

In the meantime, the Clements family saga is a truly Canadian story documenting the important role played by countless small communities encouraging and supporting hometown hockey throughout the country. From a cultural perspective this level of hockey is an important feature in the fabric of our Canadian identity and forms the backbone of the NHL today.

Gary’s six sons have carried on the Clements tradition and now are backstopped by a small army of rapidly growing grandchildren that are destined to keep the Clements hockey dynasty moving forward for the foreseeable future. In addition to Brock, Colin has two other sons including 13 year old Matthew who plays for the local Bantam B team and Cole, age 17, who played local hockey until Bantam, and now does his thing on the volleyball court playing club ball. Chris also has a son, Carston, who plays Bantam AAA in the city. Corey’s son Matthew, age 7, is in his second year of hockey in Los Angeles.

In all fairness, the Clements boys have not only produced outstanding male athletes, but they boast eight dynamic granddaughters who excel at life ranging from dance to soccer to gymnastics, and everything else in between. Colin’s daughter, Laura and Chris’s daughter, Chandra turn heads with their well rehearsed dance routines. Cousins McKenzie (Corey) and Kayley (Chris) excel in gymnastics in their respective divisions while Tory (Craig) is a force to be reckoned with on the soccer pitch. Not to be outdone by the athletes, Paige (Corey) is actively pursuing her degree in business at the University of Alberta. Some of the youngest of the Clements offspring namely six year old Michelle (Corey), Prie and Dexton (David), and Beckett(Danny) have yet to choose a specialty. They just love doing everything!

Back to the original question: Are hockey skills genetic? You be the judge when power forward Brock Clements returns to lead the Kings into the NWJHL playoffs against the Junior Canucks.

Hockey - it’s in their blood.

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