HOME OF THE 5 TIME AJHL CHAMPIONS
The Spruce Grove Saints have been proud members of the Alberta Junior Hockey League since 2005 and are one of Canada’s most storied Junior “A” franchises. Over 50 Saints, including the likes of Mark Messier, Rob Brown, Brian Benning, Stu Barnes, Mike Comrie, Steve Reinprecht and Fernando Pisani have played for the Saints on their way to the National Hockey League.
The aforementioned Saints legends paved the way for the likes of Ben Scrivens, Matt Benning, Carson Soucey, Kodi Curran and Ian Mitchell to reach their hockey dreams of playing in the NHL. With the growing list of NHL players, they are joined by an unparalleled list of Saints alumni that have advanced to all levels of professional hockey in North America and Europe as well as the many Canadian College, University, and NCAA committed players both current and past. The alumni are a testament to the winning culture and reputation of this renowned franchise.
The Saints are the only remaining franchise to survive from the original inception of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) in 1963. In 1972 the Edmonton Movers and Edmonton Maple Leafs combined to become the Edmonton Mets who, in turn became the Spruce Grove Mets in 1974.
Under the direction of Doug Messier, the 1974-75 Spruce Grove Mets won the Centennial Cup Championship, the symbol of supremacy for Junior “A” hockey in Canada. Spruce Grove again won the AJHL Championship in 1975-76 with Messier’s club defeating the Red Deer Rustlers, who were captained by Darryl Sutter, and won the Abbott Cup, which was the Western Canadian Championship. The 1976-77 Mets lost in the AJHL final, however Spruce Grove had the opportunity to watch a brash run rookie and future Hall of Famer Mark Messier play.
The Saints have been a pillar of success in Canadian junior hockey and continually set the benchmark of how a Junior hockey organization should operate, both on and off the ice.
With four AJHL Championships as the St. Albert Saints (80-81, 81-82, 95-96, 97-98), the Saints have called Spruce Grove home for the past 16 seasons. In that time the organization has captured five more AJHL Championships in 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2018.
Winning championships is one thing, however sustained perennial contention takes organizations to a whole different level.
Since 2005 (16 full seasons) the Saints have appeared in the league final an unprecedented nine times. The team has never had a sub .500 winning percentage season and had any less than 32 wins in a season. 12 of those 16 seasons resulted in 40+ win seasons with two reaching over the 50 wins mark. The next closest AJHL organizations with 40+ win seasons in the same time frame have a total of seven each as well as six league final appearances. An incredible level of continued triumphs for an organization focused on development, culture and success.
The Saints were successfully guided by passionate team owner Darren Myshak and his family for many years. However, in the summer of 2017, Mr. Myshak handed the keys to the dynasty he helped build to three younger very passionate hockey men. Brothers Dan and Lindsey Leckelt were joined by NHL Super-Star and “Captain Canada” Ryan Smyth, forming a new ownership group driven to keep the Saints winning culture alive for years to come.
While much of the hockey world know “Captain Canada’s” passion for the game, his fellow owners Dan and Lindsey Leckelt have a fire for the game that burns just as deep. Both Leckelt’s have strong ties to Parkland County after having spent many years playing for the Senior Men’s AAA dynasty just down the road in the Stony Plain as members of the Stony Plain Eagles. Enjoying many long Allan Cup playoff runs, culminating in capturing the 1999 Allan Cup, Canada’s Men’s Amateur National Hockey Championship. The Leckelt’s are no strangers to winning environments and since that time they have become majority owners of the Stony Plain Eagles, Spruce Grove Saints and a WHL flagship organization in the Seattle Thunderbirds.
All of these organizations, as well as other hockey endeavours fall under their control and umbrella of Silent Ice Sports and Entertainment.
In the summer of 2017, by the direction of the new owners, major front office and organizational changes took place for the Saints, highlighted with the hiring of a full time General Manager – Rob Sklaruk – who played with the Leckelt?s and also captured an Allan Cup championship in 1999 with the Eagles. In addition to Sklaruk, the Saints brought in a young very accomplished new Head Coach in Bram Stephen, who guided the Grant MacEwan Griffins to an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Championship in the spring of 2017, before coming to the junior ranks.
All of the changes and capital investment into the organization resulted in the new ownership group capturing an AJHL Championship in their first full season at the helm in the spring of 2018 followed by a trip back to the AJHL Final in 2019.
The Saints are now looking for their sixth AJHL championship in 2021 under the continued tenure of General Manager Rob Sklaruk, Head Coach Bram Stephen and Assistant Coach Derrick Martin.