Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.
In 2012, he was appointed night sports editor — editing copy, writing headlines, guiding reporters and helping produce the following day’s print edition.
He moved from the editing side to the reporting side in 2016.
The change is a switch back to reporting for Mike, who originally got into the journalism biz in 1985 in Brandon; he was the Sun‘s Wheat Kings beat reporter from 1988-1999.
Recent articles by Mike Sawatzky
Elam Ending 101: explaining unique finish to CEBL games6 minute read Preview Thursday, Jun. 1, 2023
Bisons expected to name veteran bench boss Burnett new men’s hockey coach3 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 30, 2023
Terriers will have hands full with Mariners in Centennial Cup quarterfinal4 minute read Preview Thursday, May. 18, 2023
Absent BCHL continues to be a hot topic at Centennial Cup4 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 16, 2023
Special teams the difference as Portage falls to Battlefords4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 15, 2023
Top PHF puckstopper Schroeder finds new hockey home in Montreal3 minute read Preview Wednesday, May. 10, 2023
Blood, mayhem and hockey glory: Looking back on the 1972-73 Portage Terriers17 minute read Preview Friday, May. 5, 2023
Park life: Trio of Winnipeg siblings sets sights on Olympics5 minute read Preview Monday, May. 1, 2023
Wasik’s career reborn between pipes of MJHL champion Pistons4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 1, 2023
Elm Creek goaltender hopes PHF success leads to spot on Canada’s national team5 minute read Preview Thursday, Apr. 20, 2023
Transcona teen phenom signs tryout agreement with Big Blue4 minute read Preview Wednesday, Apr. 19, 2023
Pistons in driver’s seat of MJHL semifinal vs. Stampeders4 minute read Preview Friday, Apr. 14, 2023
Nepinak-Sargent the picture of calm as Ice face biggest test yet5 minute read Preview Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2023
Swan Valley faces powerhouse Steinbach Pistons in MJHL semifinal4 minute read Preview Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2023
After stellar collegiate career and international success, Ashton Bell plans to play professionally4 minute read Preview Friday, Mar. 24, 2023
Dakota’s Fust sisters top high school coaches poll, lead Lancers to provincial tourney4 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 13, 2023
U of M punches ticket to national championship with victory over cross-town rival4 minute read Preview Friday, Mar. 10, 2023
Province’s top high school hockey player still has something to prove3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2023
Shawn Maranan leading the U of W Wesmen to their first national championship in three decades8 minute read Preview Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2023
‘It stinks, right?’ Bisons not invited to national hoops party3 minute read Preview Sunday, Mar. 5, 2023
MANITOBA men’s basketball coach Kirby Schepp gathered his players Sunday afternoon for what he hoped would be a celebration of a wild-card berth at the upcoming U Sports national championship.
Wesmen fall, but far from finished3 minute read Preview Saturday, Mar. 4, 2023
The University of Winnipeg men’s basketball team fell short in its attempt to capture the first Canada West title in program history Friday night but the upstart Wesmen are far from done.
Sanford netminder named Canada West Goaltender of the Year4 minute read Preview Friday, Mar. 3, 2023
Healthy Bisons looking for upset against No. 2-ranked Cougars5 minute read Preview Wednesday, Mar. 1, 2023
Rugged East Selkirk hoopster makes homecoming with U of C Dinos4 minute read Preview Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023
Wesmen women basketball players step up in star player’s absence3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023
The Winnipeg Wesmen have played three games without injured guard Kyanna Giles and it appears likely she will also miss the opening week of Canada West University Athletic Association women’s basketball playoffs.
Multi-sport Winnipeg coach inspiring a generation of local athletes12 minute read Preview Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023
Bisons-Wesmen weekend hoops showdown has national playoff implications5 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023
War at home never far from thoughts of Ukrainian hockey team5 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 9, 2023
Sturgeon Heights, Steinbach earn provincial AAAA varsity volleyball titles5 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 5, 2022
Determined Broncos hand Ice second home-ice loss of season4 minute read Preview Friday, Dec. 2, 2022
Talented Trojans not taking anything for granted in quest for MHSAA volleyball crown4 minute read Preview Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022
Valour super fan makes voyage to Qatar to support Canada3 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 21, 2022
Savoie's six-point outing leads Ice to 14th consecutive win5 minute read Preview Friday, Nov. 18, 2022
Winnipeg blue-liner among Manitobans at core of AJHL powerhouse5 minute read Preview Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022
Highly rated Ice and Rebels square off in showdown of WHL’s top teams4 minute read Preview Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022
Dale nets first goal for Ice4 minute read Preview Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022
Connor Dale’s job description did not include goal-scorer as a relevant skill during the first 11 regular-season games of his WHL career.
Bison women lose heartbreaker to Regina in extra time, miss playoffs3 minute read Preview Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022
Bisons soccer women to host playoff game against Cougars4 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 17, 2022
Bisons’ star linebacker an overnight sensation three-years in the making6 minute read Preview Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022
Pats coach and GM back on the bench after taking on cancer and COVID5 minute read Preview Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022
Bisons, Ice soon to return to friendly confines of Wayne Fleming Arena3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022
Bisons’ 1962 football squad to be honoured at U of M Homecoming Game10 minute read Preview Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022
Towering Ice defenceman a fearless and fierce competitor5 minute read Preview Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022
Murray leads powerhouse in the making as Wheat Kings new GM5 minute read Preview Thursday, Sep. 15, 2022
Former Olympian leads Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame class of 20224 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2022
Benson pots the winner in Ice win over Wheaties2 minute read Preview Sunday, Sep. 11, 2022
WINNIPEG’S Zach Benson was the hero, snapping the puck past Brandon goaltender Ethan Eskit with 3:54 remaining in the third period to break a 1-1 tie as the Ice went on to beat the Wheat Kings 3-1 in WHL pre-season action at the Rink Training Centre Saturday night.
Bell an integral part of Canadian women’s spectacular championship run5 minute read Preview Friday, Sep. 9, 2022
Winnipeg’s Tyler Brennan top-rated North American puck-stopper available for NHL Draft4 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jul. 5, 2022
Late-blooming Ingram on track to be early-round NHL draft pick6 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2022
Portage Terriers loading up for Centennial Cup run in 20235 minute read Preview Wednesday, Jun. 15, 2022
High-flying high-school standout a generational volleyball talent5 minute read Preview Friday, Jun. 10, 2022
Groundbreaking female goaltender named to Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame6 minute read Preview Thursday, Jun. 9, 2022
WHL leaders ousted from playoffs, but could be even better next season5 minute read Preview Sunday, May. 29, 2022
Female coaching staff set to lead Manitoba U-18 hockey team6 minute read Preview Thursday, May. 12, 2022
Wesmen hoops star has keen interest in selection of new coach2 minute read Preview Sunday, May. 8, 2022
Ice put pounding on Warriors, take 2-0 series lead3 minute read Preview Sunday, May. 8, 2022
The Moose Jaw Warriors were hoping for a better start Saturday night.
What they got was more of the same suffering inflicted 24 hours earlier when the Winnipeg Ice administered a 6-1 drubbing in Game 1 of a WHL Eastern Conference semifinal at Wayne Fleming Arena.
In Saturday’s Game 2, a 7-0 Ice triumph, centre Jack Finley opened the scoring 2:49 into the game and added his fourth of the playoffs 46 seconds later as the Ice stormed to 3-0 and 6-0 period leads.
“It was just a carbon copy, it seems,” said Ice head coach James Patrick of his team’s quick start. “… I can say the exact same thing I said last night — it just gives us such a such a boost. I think there’s a little sag on their team and we’re off to the races.”
Winnipeg breaks ice with hard-fought victory in post-season opener4 minute read Preview Friday, Apr. 22, 2022
Ice enter playoffs with few post-season games on resumes5 minute read Preview Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2022
Red-hot Virden giving Steinbach all it can handle in MJHL semifinal5 minute read Preview Tuesday, Apr. 19, 2022
Ice to host Raiders in Round 12 minute read Preview Saturday, Apr. 16, 2022
The Winnipeg Ice went into Saturday’s regular-season finale with the Regina Pats not knowing who it would be playing in the WHL’s Eastern Conference quarter-finals.
That’s all settled now.
Winnipeg’s 6-4 win over Regina before 1,481 fans at the Brandt Centre eliminated the Pats from playoff contention and Prince Albert’s 5-1 triumph over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings earned the Raiders the No. 8 post-season seed.
Prince Albert will travel to Winnipeg for Games 1 and 2 of the post-season on Friday and Saturday at the Wayne Fleming Arena.
Ice denies Bedard, wins 52nd game of season2 minute read Preview Friday, Apr. 15, 2022
Winnipeg denied Connor Bedard his 50th goal of the season and the Ice added to its WHL-leading totals with a 6-1 triumph over the Regina Pats at the Brandt Centre Friday night.
Bedard was denied on a second-period penalty shot by Winnipeg goaltender Daniel Hauser and Regina’s 16-year-old superstar continued his goal-scoring drought against the Ice.
He has not scored in seven career games against the Ice, but he did draw an assist on Braxton Whitehead’s goal, his first point in five games against Winnipeg in 2021-22.
Connor McClennon scored his 43rd goal of the season as the Ice improved to a 52-10-3-2 overall.
Winnipeg Ice have kept Pats’ scoring sensation off the score sheet5 minute read Preview Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2022
Gilbert Plains forward wants to work on game before pursuing professional career4 minute read Preview Friday, Apr. 8, 2022
Ice centre and top prospect for NHL Draft working hard to improve impressive skill set6 minute read Preview Friday, Apr. 8, 2022
Keylyn Filewich named U Sports women’s basketball player of the year5 minute read Preview Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2022
The first all-Black starting lineup in Manitoba hoops history was a dazzling pack formed on Gordon Bell’s inner-city court36 minute read Preview Friday, Mar. 25, 2022
Dakota and St. Paul’s triumph at AAAA provincial high school hoops championships6 minute read Preview Sunday, Mar. 20, 2022
Huskies down Wesmen women in Canada West hoops final1 minute read Preview Saturday, Mar. 19, 2022
Carly Ahlstrom scored a game-high 22 points and a team-high 10 rebounds to lead the University of Saskatchewan Huskies to a 68-59 victory over the Winnipeg Wesmen in the Canada West conference women’s basketball final before a raucous crowd at the Physical Activity Complex in Saskatoon.
The defending national champions, who led 28-25 at halftime, have now won five of the last six Canada West titles. Saskatchewan also got 15 points from Tea DeMong
Faith Hezekiah led the Wesmen with 19 points, two more than teammate Kyanna Giles. Keylyn Filewich added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Winnipeg.
Both the Wesmen and Huskies advanced to the eight-team U Sports national championship in Kingston, Ont., slated for March 31-April 3.
St. Paul’s guard named top high school basketball player4 minute read Preview Friday, Mar. 18, 2022
Racist gesture earns 18-game suspension from MJHL2 minute read Preview Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League has suspended Klim Georgiev of the Dauphin Kings for 18 games after the 20-year-old defenceman was assessed a gross misconduct for making a racist gesture on Feb. 19.
The league announced its decision Thursday night after completing a review of the incident, which came at the end of a game between the Kings and the visiting Waywayseecappo Wolverines.
Georgiev was seen make a bow-and-arrow gesture after Dauphin won the game 3-2.
The MJHL said in a release the disciplinary measure was the result of “discriminatory taunting” under Hockey Canada rule 11.4.