Sunday, December 31, 2006

Great Way to End '06

The Swift Current Broncos picked a great time to end a 12-game losing streak to the Medicine Hat Tigers following a spirited 5-2 win last night at the Civic Center.

The game started with a bang when R.J. Larochelle and Chris Stevens scrapped one second into the game. They traded the right hands pretty good. It was when R.J. got the left hand going when the tide seemed to turn in his favor. He left the game with a hand injury and didn't return. Although in the postgame show Broncos Assistant Coach Dave Hunchak didn't feel the injury was serious and that he may play tomorrow afternoon in Saskatoon.

Two goals by Levi Nelson, two from Kyle Bortis and a single from David Stieler would pace the Broncos to the victory. Kyle Moir was great at time making 36 saves for the win.

It was the first Broncos win against the Tigers since November '05. That night the Broncos also won 5-2 at the Civic Center.

Make no mistake the Tigers will be back. When you delete Kris Russell, Darren Helm, David Schlemko, Tyler Swystun, Daine Todd and Jakub Rumpel from the line-up you aren't going to be playing up to your full potential.

Ryan Molle continues to impress me in his "utility role". Wherever the Broncos need him he's there to fill in and play well. He has the "Coaches Award" at year end wrapped up in my opinion.

I was happy to see most of the WHL broadcasters use our two part feature on the Broncos Bus Crash on their broadcasts this weekend. It's good to see these other WHL markets recognize this event - as tragic as it was. Some even honored the four fallen Broncos with a moment of silence before puck drop. Maybe the present Broncos received a lift from the emotional night.

What a crowd last night! Best of the year maybe?? For the most part the hillbilly Tiger fans stayed home. We didn't see a "sea of orange" in the stands last night. Just a few pockets of Med Hat fans were in the building. Most Hat fans are good but we have seen some jack-ass worthy performances at the Civic Center from some fans from Tiger town.

Hey! It seems the East division hasn't been the leagues punching bag lately. Last night the Broncos beat the Central division leading Tigers, the Wheat Kings went into Calgary and beat the Hitmen and the Moose Jaw Warriors picked up a road win in Kelowna. Let's see what Prince Albert can do tonight in Kootenay.

The Broncos play a New Year's Day matinee is Saskatoon tomorrow afternoon. We will have the action for you on the Eagle 94.1 FM beginning at 3:30pm with the pre-game show, 4pm face-off. Safe to say the Broncos owe the Blades one or two. The Blades have won six games in a row - the longest current winning streak in the 'dub. All six have come against East division teams. They are in the midst of playing 10 straight games against teams from their own division. The Broncos have been streak-killers this season. They ended a Brandon six-game winning streak earlier, A Lethbridge five-gamer and on Friday night they snapped Prince Albert's six game streak.

Let's see if they can play spoiler again . . .

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Remembering Our Broncos

No words today. Part two of our Broncos bus crash 20th anniversary airs tonight at 7pm on the Eagle 94.1 FM.

Let's all take a moment today to remember.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Don't miss Friday/Saturday's Broncos pre-game show

Hey all,

Well it's time to kick-off the 2nd half as the Broncos host the Raiders tonight and then the Medicine Hat Tigers tomorrow . . .less than two weeks away 'till trade deadline.

You want to keep updated on all the trades Monday? Check back often to "Keen's Korner" for the latest deals, rumors, and everything else in-between. Have a trade idea? Leave a comment and tell me what you think the Broncos should do.

I've been working the past while on a "Four Broncos" 20 year anniversary of the bus crash feature for the Broncos pre-game show. I think I will have enough for two parts that will run Friday and Saturday. It will include stories, audio and the events immediately afterwards from such former players like Tim Tisdale and Bob Wilkie, Assistant Coach at the time Lorne Frey and former radio play-by-play voice John Enns. It will also include some of the more heart-wrenching moments of the Broncos Memorial Service held January 4th, 1987 at the Civic Center.

I must admit, listening back to some of these stories and hearing the Service has been really tough to do. I can't imagine what that must have been like. So many stories, so many gripping moments - like team captain Kurt Lackten addressing those at the Service. Or Broncos President John Rittinger making the statement that no Bronco will ever wear the numbers 8,9,11, or 22 in honor of the four players.

At the time of the accident, Broncos current Head Coach and G.M. Dean Chynoweth was a 17 year-old defenseman with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He attended the Service at the Civic Center and has some vivid memories of the event. Dean's dad Ed Chynoweth also spoke if some remember.

Part one tomorrow night before the Raiders, part two Saturday, December 30th on the day of the 20 year anniversary when the Broncos host the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Broncos will honor the anniversary with a moment of silence before puck-drop that night.

Look out for the streaking Raiders! They've won six in a row and are 8-1 in the month of December. Their only loss this month came to the Broncos up in Prince Albert December 6th, 3-2 In fact the Broncos have won all three previous meetings. Both teams are tied for 2nd in the East division - five points back of Brandon for the division lead.

I talked to some of the guys on Thursday at the rink. They all seem excited to get the 2nd half underway and I got a very positive vibe from the one's I talked to. It could be a rough 1st period though as the Broncos try to shake-off the game rust. They haven't played in 13 days.

Canada shoots for their 3rd straight win at the World Juniors today against Germany. You can catch the game on the Eagle 94.1 FM beginning with the pre-game show at 11:30 am. The Germans might be the toughest round-robin test the Broncos will have. A win over the Germans would almost guarantee an "A" pool win and a bye to the semi-final round.

I've been impressed with Canada at the tournament so far. Although they've let their guard down a few times, they've played as well as anyone at the tournament so far.

Bronco centerman Daniel Rakos and his native Czech Republic are struggling. He's yet to find the scoresheet as the Czech's have lost the first two games they've been in. Another loss and is could be off to the relegation round for Danny boy and his country-mates.

The latest "Vote For Rory" news is hilarious. The folks at have come up with some American election campaign-type attack adds on some of the defenseman he's battling with to make the all-star team. In particular they go after Scott Neidermeyer and Nick Lidstrom.

Here's the links . . . check it out for a laugh or two.

Go Broncos Go . . . we're on the air tonight at 7pm with the pre-game show.


I'm Back!

Well it's been a long holiday and now I'm ready to get back at it. Check back for daily updates once again . . .

Some bad news to pass your way as local hockey legend Stan Dunn passed away on Friday at his home in Turtle Lake.

Dunn was 77. He coached the Broncos in the early 70's and was one of the first inducted into the Broncos Hall of Fame.

I'll have a Stan Dunn tribute in an upcoming Broncos pre-game show, quite possibly for tomorrow night.

More later,


Sunday, December 24, 2006

All is Quiet

Humboldt - There's only so many card games one can play with the family . . . so I'd thought I'd post something quick.

I've been totally disconnected from the outside sports world. If it wasn't for Ernie's "Dallas Stars" updates I'd have no idea what was going on! Thanks Big Ern.

Here we are, two days before the WJHC and Canada was 1-1 in exhibition action. I'm going to stick to my pre-tournament prediction of a 3rd or 4th place finish. They did little to impress me in exhibition play.

I still haven't seen the "sucker-punch" incident in the NHL that netted a 9-game suspension. That type of play is one of the dirtiest plays one can do. Anaheim Ducks Travis Moen was suckered when he played with the Kelowna Rockets by Derek Parker . . . it pretty much ended his season for all intensive purposes. Think of the Bertuzzi/Steve Moore incident. That has ended Moore's career.

Good luck to the "AAA" Wildcats girls midget team who depart for the Mac's Midget Tournament in Calgary. Also, we'll be watching that midget team out of Hershey, PA that has dedicated their play to the four Broncos who lost their lives 20 years ago in the bus crash.

Merry Christmas,

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rory Strikes Back and a Bold Prediction

Humboldt, SK - Hey all,

I'm up in Humboldt, SK home of the Broncos . . . of the SJHL. I'll be here the next couple days before heading over to Lanigan for some Christmas cheer. It's been an awful start to the break. The neighbor across the street backed into my car this morning, a quick $843 repair job. Merry Christmas!

First up, I appreciate every comment, good or bad. It lets me know people are checking things out. The site hits have been through the roof in December so thanks to everyone who surfed on in. Let's just keep the poor language down a bit. My mom reads this! haha. There seems to be one poster who I've rubbed the wrong way. Nice "anonymous" comments. That takes guts to take a shot under "anonymous poster". At least everything I do I put my name to it. That's ok. In fact that poster had the 3rd most visits to this site last week so that's good news! I could delete comments but I choose not to so let's hear it!

Well Rory Fitzpatrick is now 2nd amongst Western Conference defenseman in the NHL All-star balloting. How 'bout that! If that holds up, Fitzpatrick will be starting on the blue-line for the Western All-stars alongside Scott Niedermeyer. Here's the story from

NEW YORK (CP) - Rory Fitzpatrick is on the verge of becoming an NHL all-star.
Fitzpatrick, a journeyman defenceman with the
Vancouver Canucks, is second in voting among Western Conference blue-liners in results released Wednesday by the league. Fitzpatrick has 428,832 votes, trailing only Anaheim Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer (447,502).
Should Fitzpatrick remain in the top two by the time voting ends Jan. 2, he will earn a spot in the all-star game as a write-in candidate with just nine goals and 18 assists in 229 career NHL games.
The movement to send Fitzpatrick to the all-star game Jan. 24 in Dallas began with a fan website, The phenomenon has since found its way into print and TV media, vaulting the unheralded Fitzpatrick ahead of all-star veterans
Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit (427,364), Chris Pronger of Anaheim (340,941) and Sergei Zubov of Dallas (172,334).
Fitzpatrick has yet to record a point in 19 games this season, returning to the lineup Dec. 14 after missing over a month with a broken bone in his left ankle.

It looks like the "Vote for Rory" campaign has been a big hit!

Ok, now to the bold prediction. For those die-hard Canadian hockey fans like myself this is tough to take but . . . .Canada will be hard pressed to win a medal at the WJHC.

I love watching Canada's World Junior team, it's my favorite hockey event of the year other than the WHL playoffs. I just think we're due for a bit of a letdown as we saw in Italy at the Winter Olympics. I don't think we have the scoring compared to the Americans or the depth some of the other teams have. I can see a quarter-final or semi-final upset in the making. I hope I'm proved wrong here. The "x" factor will be head coach Craig Hartsburg. I doubt he will be able to get the most out of the players like Brent Sutter did the last two seasons.

If Hartsburg can, and Canada can be the "hardest working team" in the tournament as he said their motto is this year, then maybe they can get to the gold medal game. It will be against the Americans who are stronger and better than last tournament minus Phil Kessell (and his big league attitude) that hurt the Americans in last year's tournament in Vancouver. Word is the Americans strutted around Vancouver like they couldn't be touched. Their egos got in their way. Terrible coaching to let that happen on such a big stage.

So you heard it here first, Canada just misses out of the medals finishing 4th, or they just sneak out the Bronze beating the host Swedes in the bronze medal game.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rakos Makes Czech U-20 Junior Team

First of all, my Czech isn't that good . . . but it looks like Danny Rakos made the Czech junior team and even assisted on the team's first goal against the U.S.A. in exhibition action.

Can you make sense of this game summary of the Czech hockey website?? It appeats the U.S.A. won 6-3 and Danny assisted on the first goal by Cerny?.

Výsledek přípravného utkání české dvacítky před mistrovstvím světa:
ČESKÁ REPUBLIKA "20" - USA "20" 3:6 (1:2, 1:4, 1:0).
Branky a nahrávky: 9. Černý (Rákos, Květoň), 22. Sobotka (Káňa, Vojta), 51. Frolík (Voráček, Bartoň) - 17. Gerbe (Kane), 20. Carman (Chorney), 28. van Riemsdyk (E. Johnson, Kane), 28. J. Johnson (Mueller, Okposo), 39. Gerbe (Kane, Mueller), 40. Lewis (Okposo, Stoa).Rozhodčí: Sjöberg - Dahmen, Winge (všichni Švédsko).Vyloučení: 5:9.Využití: 1:2.Diváků: 375.Hráno: 20. prosince v Norrtälje (přátelský zápas).Sestavy:Česká republika: Pavelec (30. Kovář) - Poživil, Kindl, Vojta, Suchý, Kolarz, Lesák, Trončinský, Bartoň - Řepík, Kuchejda, Hanzal - Svoboda, Sobotka, Káňa - Pospíšil, Frolík, Voráček - Černý, Rákos, Květoň. Trenéři: Bednář a Trličík.USA: Zatkoff - E. Johnson, Chorney, Lawson, J. Johnson, Zimmerman, Lee, McBain - Kane, Mueller, Gerbe - Okposo, Lewis, Stoa - van Riemsdyk, Abdelkader, Skille - Sweatt, Carman, geoffrion - Fraser. Trenér: Roulston.

The Americans again on paper appear to be the tournament favorties. Peter Mueller, Kyle Okposo, Eric Johnson, Jack Johnson, Jack Skille. Another great sqaud. We'll see if they fold up again like they did in Vancouver.

Happy Holidays,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Break Has Arrived

Well, it wasn't the best of final weekends for the Broncos before wrapping up the first half of the season. Two uninspired efforts against the Blades resulted in only one point after a 5-4 shootout loss Saturday night in S'toon. A lot of people thought four points was possible but alas, the Broncos hit the break in 2nd spot in the East, four points back of Brandon for the division lead.

Last night I thought the team would put forth a spirited effort judging by my "Behind the Bench" interview with Dean Chynoweth where I'm sure the hostility came through loud and clear to listeners. Here's some highlights from the 4 minute chat before face-off.

JK: Do you think teams have figured out your penalty kill or do you think it's just in a bit of a lull right now?

DC: Figured it out? In what sense?

JK: A sense in that other teams have been able to score goals lately when maybe earlier this season they weren't doing it .

DC: (pause) . . . well there's been different fore-checks used, different . . .you know you look at the goals scored last night, the winning goal, went off how many guys, two?

JK: (pause) . . . yea, two or three, but fact is the Blades powerplay is 7 for it last 13, is that a focus tonight to stop the powerplay.

DC: It's a focus every night.

JK: Safe to say it's a hostile environment in your dressing room before face-off?

DC: Well I'm not very happy Jon as you can probably tell, I think, you know we had an opportunity again, missed, which we've said a number of different times this year and I chalk it up to a lack of respect for your opponent. When teams underneath are beating you, we're in no means in any position to take anybody for granted. We're considered the weaker division of the four in the league period and you have to go out and earn it and prove it each and every night. I was disappointed with the 2nd period and it finally caught up to us. In some games yeah, we were able to fight back and have that late surge but in those games also our 2nd period was poor. So it it's something that needs to be addressed and it needs to be tonight.

JK: It could get physical tonight, could be a bit of a war. We've seen in the past both teams are willing to stick up for eachother, so who knows what could happen.

DC: Well maybe that'll light a fire is some guys There's a few guys that need to drop the gloves.

JK: Alright Dean, hey, should be an interesting game tonight, thanks for your time.

DC: . . . . . . .

The referees were awful last night. The two man crew of Sheldon Dean (who?) and Derek Herman didn't have a grasp of anything. I may have been extra hard on them last night but I was trying to make a point. You see, WHL Referee Supervisor Lyle Wilhelm was in the spot next to me in the press box and I was making sure he heard every word I said. The powerplays ended up 8-3 in favor of the Blades including two 5-on-3's for the Saskatoon in which they scored on one of them. The Blades first goal was a result of Grant Toulmin being tackled which forced a turnover and led to the goal. At one point I turned my mic off and said to Lyle "how do you not call that??" By the end of the night he had written about 3 pages in his little notebook. Let's hope he read the riot act to those two officials last night. Wishful thinking on my part, that would never happen.

Good job Ryan Molle. Not only did he get his first ever WHL point, he got his second too! Two assists against the Blades. His 2nd one was fantastic as he show good patience to set up Dale Wiese with a nice pass that led to a tap-in. There's your plug Molls . . . just like you asked for.

So let's break down the first half. Let's first look at the realistic goals entering this season. The Broncos were pegged going in by many to finish somewhere between 3rd and 5th in the East division. With the first half of the season in the books they sit 2nd, and only four points out of first place. They have faced plenty of adversity by so has every team in the WHL - just some more than others.

They didn't go on a long losing streak but they didn't go on a long winning one either. There was three or four occasions in the first half where the Broncos could have strung a 4th or 5th win in a row but were bitten by a team lower in the standings to stunt their hopes. This team has been on the verge of becoming a top half team in the WHL, but just as it appears to be headed that way, they lose to Moose Jaw (2) or Saskatoon (3) to bring them back down to reality.

Goaltending has been up and down but for the most part has been very good. The biggest thing the goaltending has shown in the first half is that there is life after Kyle Moir. Travis Yonkman has provided this team with some solid outings and will be completely able to handle the #1 spot at some point this season or next season. His 2.85 GAA and .905 of save percentage has been solid. I like his athleticism, how he competes, the way he handles the puck and takes care of rebounds. The only thing he's lacking now is that absolute game-saver type save we've seen from Moir time and time again. That will come the more Yonkman plays.

On defense, I like our depth and physical play. We have seven defenseman that have played in every situation. They have been very good for the most part led by Myles Rumsey and Dane Crowley. Crowley will be an excellent captain next season. Mike Wilson, Derek Claffey, Paul Postma and Ryan Molle have played great minus a few gaffs which is to be expected over the course of the year. I do however want to see Postma develop into the offensive d-man as he was touted. 37 games in and he's yet to score. Just think of all the PP time he has been given this season. I'm more than willing to give him a few more looks on the PP in the 2nd half but if he stumbles, we'll need the coaches to explore other options. Problem is those options might not be the answer either. Posty needed this Christmas break, I could see it in his eyes. The kid needs a confidence boost in a big way. Something is bound to go his way shortly. I hope he finds it at home surrounded by friends and family. He needs to shake-off that first half and come back with a positive attitude and ready to play.

The Broncos trade deadline focus has to be the need for a PP quarterback. It might cost something big though. Are we willing to deal the future for the present season? We have to ask ourselves that. Is David Schlemko still available in the 'Hat? It could be a fit but for what price? Not for Levi, not for Crowley, not for Wiese. I have a feeling that's what other teams have been calling for but we can't move those three pieces of the puzzle for next year's team.

As for the forward unit . . . the Broncos have summed up the "scoring by committee" motto to a tee. Check out these goal numbers:

Dale Wiese (11)
Daniel Rakos (10)
Jeremy Schenderling (10)
Geordie Wudrick (9)
Kyle Bortis (8)
Brady Leavold (8)
Zack Smith (8)
Levi Nelson (7)

Four goals separate our top goal scorer from our 8th. If the Broncos can find just one 30 goal man this season and have the rest of the 7 reach the 20 goal plateau that will be just fine.

The late emergence of Grant Toulmin and Matt Tassone offensively also bodes well for the 2nd half. Spencer Mcavoy wants to contribute more but will need to make a good impression when he gets back onto the top two lines. Phil Gervais must continue his bang and crash style and just do whatever is asked of him in his rookies season. Also, look for David Stieler to have a much improved 2nd half just like Daniel Rakos did in his rookie season. Suddenly this style of play won't be quite so foreign to this import center.


After an 18-17-1-1 start in the first half I think this team can shoot for a 35 to 38 win season. It should be good enough for 2nd or 3rd in the East and then it's rock and roll time in the playoffs.

Now, let's hear from you! Leave a comment or two. Your turn.

See you in the 2nd half, enjoy your Christmas!


Time to Catch Up

Sorry for the delay in postings, it's been quite busy with work and following the Broncos around the countryside . . . look for a weekend and first half wrap-up later today. I'll even recap a no-holds barred battle on the airwaves between Deano and myself from Saturday night's game.

Friday, December 15, 2006

World Junior Team Announced

Here's the story courtesy from . . . hot off the press.

Hockey Canada has released the last six players from its selection roster for the World Junior Hockey Championship, with Lewiston goaltender Jonathan Bernier, London Knights netminder Steve Mason, Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Dustin Kohn, Brendan Mikkelson of the Vancouver Giants, Mississauga Ice Dogs forward Cody Bass and Gatineau forward Claude Giroux going back to their junior clubs.
Other cuts from the final roster on Thursday included goaltender Trevor Cann of the Peterborough Petes, Guelph defenceman Drew Doughty, blueliner Keaton Ellerby of the Kamloops Blazers, Saginaw defenceman Patrick McNeill, Brandon Wheat Kings forward Codey Burki, centre Ben Maxwell of the Kootenay Ice, Acadie-Bathurst's Mathieu Perreault, Prince George winger Devin Setoguchi, Chris Stewart of the Kingston Frontenacs, Quebec Remparts forward Angelo Esposito and Oshawa Generals forward John Tavares.
Mason, Giroux, Tavares, Esposito, Doughty, Cann, Ellerby, Maxwell and Perreault are eligible to return and try out for the 2008 National Junior Team.
The 2007 roster features 11 players from Brent Sutter's squad that took gold in Vancouver last January. Two 17-year-old players - forward Sam Gagner of the London Knights and Calgary Hitmen defenceman Karl Alzner - are already touted as top prospects for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Canada plays its first game of the 2007 World Juniors on Boxing Day against the host Swedes.

Here's the final World Junior roster:

Leland Irving
Carey Price

Karl Alzner
Luc Bourdon
Cody Franson
Kristopher Letang
Ryan Parent
Kris Russell
Marc Staal

Daniel Bertram
Marc-Andre Cliche
Andrew Cogliano
Steve Downie
Sam Gagner
Darren Helm
Bryan Little
Brad Marchand
Kenndal McArdle
James Neal
Ryan O'Marra
Tom Pyatt
Jonathan Toews

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Third Post of the Day!

Canada cuts 11 players from World Junior Camp . . .

Here's the story of the TSN website.

Hockey Canada cut 11 players from its 39-man selection roster for the World Junior Hockey Championship on Thursday, including Oshawa Generals forward John Tavares and Quebec Remparts forward Angelo Esposito.
Other cuts from the final roster include goaltender Trevor Cann of the Peterborough Petes, Guelph defenceman Drew Doughty, blueliner Keaton Ellerby of the Kamloops Blazers, Saginaw defenceman Patrick McNeill, Brandon Wheat Kings forward Codey Burki, centre Ben Maxwell of the Kootenay Ice, Acadie-Bathurst's Mathieu Perreault, Prince George winger Devin Setoguchi and Chris Stewart of the Kingston Frontenacs.
Hockey Canada plans to have 17 players released by Friday morning, leaving six more cuts to be made.
The remaining Team Canada hopefuls will play against a CIS team on Thursday night prior to the final team being named. Canada plays its first game of the 2007 World Juniors in Sweden on Boxing Day against the host Swedes.
Related Info

Tavares, already touted as a top pick for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, drew a lot of attention in 2005 when the Canadian Hockey League declared him an 'exceptional player' so that he could be drafted into the OHL at age 14.

The 16-year-old has 29 goals with the Oshawa Generals this season and is in the top five in the OHL scoring race with 52 points in 27 games.
Tavares also led the league in goals scored by a rookie last year with 45 in 65 games. His 77 points put him second among OHL rookies.
Esposito, a top prospect for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has been cut from the final roster for the second year in a row. The 17-year-old scored 39 goals and 98 points in 2005-06 and helped lead Quebec to a Memorial Cup last spring. He is among the QMJHL scoring leaders this season with 17 goals and 48 points in 31 games.
Setoguchi, a first-round selection of the San Jose Sharks in 2005, was also cut from the final roster for the second straight year. In 23 games with the Cougars this season, Setoguchi has registered nine goals and 18 points.
Cann was a last-minute invitation to camp because netminder Steve Mason of the London Knights was suffering concussion-like symptoms from a game played the previous night.

Ok, enough blogging for one day.


A Great Story

Here's a story from Slam Sports I was recently directed to by Jim Ginther. Thanks Jim. This is a great story about honouring the four young men who died in the Broncos bus crash almost 20 years ago.

Former Bronco Bob Wilkie will honour the four at the upcoming Mac's "AAA" Tournament in Calgary.

This is courtesy Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun. One of the best hockey reporters in the biz.

Bob Wilkie vividly remembers Trent Kresse standing up as the Swift Current Broncos bus started to slide.
"Don't worry," said Kresse, "everything will be OK."
Minutes later, when Wilkie awoke, Kresse was dead.
So too was Scotty Kruger, who lay lifeless in a Saskatchewan field after their team bus slid off an overpass during a snowstorm.
With blood on his face and a sharp pain in his hip, a dazed Wilkie immediately started searching for his shoes in the overturned bus. What he found instead were the legs of Brent Ruff whose torso was pinned under the vehicle. Seconds later he saw a bloodied Chris Mantyka reaching out towards him, unable to speak as he was being crushed to death.
Wilkie was only 17.
"I remember sitting on the side of the cold highway crying and wondering why I was left and they were taken," said Wilkie yesterday from his sports store in Hershey, Pa.
"Twenty years later, I have my answer. I finally know what 'it'll be OK' means. Twenty years later I'm here and you know what, I'm OK. It doesn't hurt as much as it used to."
Almost two decades after the foursome playing cards beside Wilkie were killed, the 37-year-old Calgarian is about to pay stirring tribute to his Broncos teammates the best way he knows how.
On the heels of a stellar minor pro hockey career that saw him win Air Canada, Memorial, Calder and Turner Cups, the man who was part of the first Calgary team ever to win the Mac's tournament is bringing a club from Hershey to participate in the 29th annual midget hockey showcase starting Boxing Day.
And they're dedicating their play to the fallen four.
"I was really close to those four guys," said the former Calgary Wranglers defenceman, whose team will wear commemorative patches with the four players' numbers. "They've never left me and I've never forgotten them.
"And I never will. What happened that day has gotten me through a lot of tough situations in my life because I recall getting through that and being stronger for it."
Making Wilkie's return even more dramatic is the fact that two days before the Dec. 30 bus crash anniversary, his team will play his former Buffaloes club in the 8 p.m. feature game Dec. 28 at Max Bell.
"That should be emotional," said the husband and father who struggled with the crash for years, playing 18 NHL games as Detroit's 41st overall pick in 1987.
"The thing that keeps coming up in my head is the Lion King -- it's the circle of life. I've come full circle."
Helping complete the circle is Medallion Developments owner Jeff Colvin, who learned of Wilkie's Mac's dream and put up more than $35,000 to make it a reality and bring the team to Calgary.
"Jeff is an unbelievable individual to be so giving to a group of kids in another country he's never met," said Wilkie, proud coach of the Medallion Generals.
"It shows there is a lot of good out there. The kids can't sleep at night. They know it's the trip of a lifetime."
A trip born out of tragedy, turned into a triumph.

A great read isn't it?

I spoke with Bob today in Hershey. He'll be featured on an upcoming Broncos broadcast along with former players and coaches that were on the bus that day.


Are You Kidding Me?

I think the common catch phrase applies here following another dramatic Broncos victory, this time a 4-3 shootout win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

For the 2nd straight game, the Broncos tied things up in the last 10 seconds - last night it was David Stieler's turn. His goal with the 'tender pulled and with 8 seconds remaining helped the Broncos pull out two points. Again, they found a way to win instead of last year's theme of "finding a way to lose".

Don't look now, but the Broncos now trail Brandon by two points for the division lead. At what point it was a 9 point gap.

Boy, was it quiet at the Chinook Library . . . er, Civic Center last night until the last minute of the game. You could hear the buzz of the lights over the sparse crowd at times . . . where is everybody?? I would like to hear from you on this one. Why are the crowds down this season? Your thoughts. Kudos, to those in attendance who started making some noise for the final minute as the Broncos came out of the time-out looking for that tying goal. Again, somehow they did it.

The Broncos are now 3-0 in shootouts this season - a far cry from last year's struggles. Last year, I disliked the shootout with a passion, now I love it! Winning can do that I guess, I'm on the shootout bandwagon! That is, until we lose.

Dale Wiese was a physical force as he bashed some bodies early in the game including a steam cleaning of Yashar Farmanara. Heads up Yash! He also had a goal and two assists and was named the games 1st star.

Kyle Bortis was firmly planted in the middle of the bench for the third period. The coaching staff taking some exception to how he was playing last night. Kyle was playing with the full face-shield after taking a puck to the face in practice. In my opinion, he was concerned about taking a shot to the same area and seemed to avoid the dirty areas last night.

Anyone else notice how much better Grant Toulmin is looking lately. The last two games he's never seen more ice-time.

How 'bout the Blades? They snap a 9 game losing skid with a 6-1 thrashing of Moose Jaw last night. The Blades connecting on four powerplay goals. The Broncos host the Blades tomorrow night.

Two games 'till the Christmas break. I may be looking more forward to the time-off than some of the players.

More to come . . . later. For now, back to my real job. Another early morning here in radioland,

Thanks for visiting,

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trades, Scraps and Rory's Slow Demise

Lots to talk about today!

First up, the Moose Jaw Warriors made off very well in a player swap with Everett today. Warriors G.M. Chad Lang must be owed some favors from Silvertips G.M. Doug Soetart. The Warriors get former “AAA” Legionnaire Cody Thoring plus forward Brady Calla who was 3rd round NHL pick this past summer and a 6th round bantam pick. In return, the ‘Tips get defenseman Jesse Zetariuk and forward Carter Smith. That’s it, that’s all. The Warriors get a steady d-man in Thoring who was the Silvertips’ captain. Calla was projected to have put up more offensive numbers this season but it hasn’t happened for him. The ‘Tips get Carter Smith - a 3rd or 4th line forward at best and Zetariuk who is actually turning into a pretty good PP quarterback. Decision: Moose Jaw.

The Broncos host Lethbridge (16-15-2-1) Wednesday night. It is the third meeting of the season between the teams with the Broncos taking both previous games. The first meeting saw Kyle Moir make 48 saves for a 2-1 win at the Civic Center. The ‘Canes have loads of offensive talent with the WHL’s leading goal scorer in Kris Hogg (24), plus Zach Boychuk who is having a solid 17 year-old season. They have won five straight games but continue to be the cellar dweller in the tough Central division.

The Broncos (17-16-1) are playing better hockey and have a chance to pick-up 20 wins in the first half of the season if they can win their last three games (Leth, Saskatoon, Saskatoon). They have won four of their last five but will be without import Daniel Rakos who is back home competing for a spot on the Czech national junior team. Should be a great match-up.

It was a scrappy practice Tuesday in Broncoland. The boys were competing hard and actually a pair of forwards dropped the gloves with each other. Some might cringe at the fact of teammates fighting teammates but I think it’s good once in awhile. It shows it was an intense practice and the old adage “practice like you play” was in full effect. It happens at every level. Even in the NHL. As long as no one gets hurt I don’t see a major problem with it. Just think how many times in the workplace you get in a disagreement with somebody. In the office you might avoid that person for a month but on the ice, it’s settled in seconds and you move on. Done deal.

Bad news for Vancouver Canucks defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick. It seems the “Vote for Rory” campaign is losing momentum. The NHL released the latest numbers and Fitzpatrick actually dropped from 5th to 6th among Western Conference defenseman. Here’s the latest numbers:

Scott Niedermayer Anaheim 390,028
Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit 371,037
Chris Pronger Anaheim 282,528
Scott Hannan San Jose 276,862
Dion Phaneuf Calgary 274,682
*Rory Fitzpatrick Vancouver 269,048
Mattias Ohlund Vancouver 188,511
Robyn Regehr Calgary 153,230
John-Michael Liles Colorado 151,985
Sergei Zubov Dallas 143,302
Mathieu Schneider Detroit 117,518
Rob Blake Los Angeles 107,369
Lubomir Visnovsky Los Angeles 95,658
From my perspective it looks like “Vote for Rory” is dying fast.

Broncos and Hurricanes on the Eagle 94.1 FM. Pre-game show at 7pm, play-by-play with Switzer and myself at 7:30pm.

See you at the rink,

Me & Moler

I always laugh when I see that picture!

This is Chris, aka Moler. He's my colorman whenever I go to Saskatoon for Broncos/Blades games. In this pic he's doing his best "Bubbles" impersonation from the show "Trailer Park Boys".

Chris and I grew up together in Lanigan and were always into sports, all sports, all day, everyday.

I always ask him to do color-commentary when in 'toon town and he always obliges. It's a chance for us to catch-up and re-live the 'ol days. There is always several inside jokes that go unnoticed to the average listener, so if you can just try and follow along. This Saturday night, check us out. Pre-game show at 6:30, play-by-play at 7:05.

I'll have a Broncos update a little later in the day as they get set for the Hurricanes tomorrow night. Oh, and I think the NHL All-star ballots get updated later today. We'll see if Rory Fitzpatrick is in the top three now. Can't wait.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Musings and Broadcasting Bobbles

First up . . . Who's In Trouble in Sports Today??

The Regina Pats, Brandon Wheat Kings and Saskatoon Blades, ouch!

The three teams featured from the East division (everyone's favorite punching bag), have now lost a combined 18 games in a row! Saskatoon has lost nine in a row, Regina four straight and Brandon five. Granted three of the five Brandon losses have either been in a shootout or overtime, still when you lose in ot, it still feels like a loss no doubt about it.

The Broncos had a fun ride home from Brandon after that big 2-1 overtime win. Jeremy Schenderling made good after missing a wide open net in the dying seconds. He later tipped home a Dane Crowley centering feed with six seconds left to force overtime before Crowley leaned into one and blasted it through Tyler Plante for the game winner. Safe to say the boys were excited and for good reason.

The Broncos (17-16-1) host the red hot Lethbridge Hurricanes Wednesday night at the Civic Center. The 'Canes have won five straight including weekend wins over Medicine Hat and Regina. It's the third last game before the Christmas break.

There is no reason why the Broncos shouldn't compete for a division title in the 2nd half. Every team in the East division is flawed - some severely. Even though a division crown wasn't thought possible at the start of the season, (most pundits had the Broncos finishing 4th or 5th in the East), after the first half it appears like it's very possible. The Broncos have a chance to close off the first half with 4 to 6 more points in their final three games. It's a chance to really turn the heat up once the schedule resumes at the end of the month. The only thing I worry about is the inevitable injuries that might hurt this club down the stretch.

To close off, for fans around the WHL, don't believe everything you hear. I'm not saying I'm a hockey guru or anything but some of the WHL broadcasters around the WHL (mostly color commentators) struggle at the best of times with the details of the game and what is actually happening at ice level. I've often heard the term that WHL color commentators are no less than "common fans" who get into games for free and chow down on complimentary media room pizza.

I've had the chance recently to watch some WHL webcasts from around the league and actually see and hear some color commentators describe the action . . . let's just say they've been interesting interpretations.

In Lethbridge Friday night, a few fights broke out at the end of the game between the Hurricanes and the Medicine Hat Tigers. The 'Canes had just held on for a 4-3 win when Derek Dorsett and Michael Wuchterl scrapped and then Chris Stevens and Yashar Farmanara went at it. According to this unknown colorman and play-by-play host (Marlon Martens), the Tigers were "absolutely disgraceful", "it was not called for", "Will Desjardins (Tigers Coach) should be absolutely embarrassed about their team's actions". Talk about a one-sided view!

Here's what happened from watching the video replay. Wuchterl (Leth) went at Dorsett (MH) just as the horn sounded and actually started the scrap. When it became one-sided with Dorsett getting the upperhand, Farmanara (Leth), made a break for them and actually came close to intervening. This is a big no-no in hockey. Stevens (MH), then jumped in to make sure Farmanara would not be the third man in. So, as I see it (from a totally unbias view), Lethbridge was responsible for both fights at the end of the game.

That makes me even more upset for a WHL "common fan" colorman to get on the airwaves and call Medicine Hat's Will Desjardins "embarrassing". Who is this guy to call one of the best junior coaches in hockey "embarrassing"? Mr. Colorman either never saw Farmanara try to intervene or he did see it and is oblivious to the severity of Farmanara's actions.

The night that Jeff Glass blew is lid at the Civic Center attacking David Murray, my colleague from Kootenay Ice radio, didn't see any of it because "there was a giant beam in his way" making it impossible for him to see what happened. I find that view suspect at best.

Sadly, these types of unfounded comments are common places on WHL radio. Maybe myself and colorman Ryan Switzer are guilty of this from time to time but I'd like to think we have a better grasp of the situation than most. Even if I miss something behind the play, I trust Ryan's viewpoint of what exactly happened. Almost always, he's bang on.

There are some fantastic broadcasters in this league . . . Cam Moon in Red Deer, Brad Curle in Lethbridge, and Regan Bartel in Kelowna just to name three of many. I would trust these guys judgment, maybe even over mine!

So to wrap-up, don't necessarily "take our word for it" when it comes to home broadcasters around the league . . . err on the side of caution.

A game preview between the Broncos and Hurricanes is on the way later,


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Three Hours 'Till the Wheaties

Brandon - The Broncos rolled into Brandon last night around 2am to unload equipment at the Keystone Center before settling in for the night at a downtown hotel.

After meetings and a video session, more sleep, and good pre-game meal, the Broncos should be ready to roll against the potent Wheat Kings in just three hours time.

The Wheaties haven't played since losing Tuesday night in Moose Jaw 5-4 in overtime. Word is they will likely have top defenseman Dustin Kohn back in the line-up after he was injured in Swift Current last Saturday night. They are expected to ice a full line-up while the Broncos have some questions with theirs.

Myles Rumsey is expected to meet the team before game-time after attending the funeral of fellow Winnipeger Todd Davison. The 20 year old died after a long battle with Cancer. Hopefully Myles can play through what has definitely been a tough week for the Bronco's captain. Kyle Bortis took a knee-on-knee hit last night in Moose Jaw and he is questionable for tonight. Spencer Mcavoy is ready to play after a slight concussion.

I'm looking forward to chatting with Brandon Head Coach and G.M. Kelly Macrimmon. He might be my favorite coach to interview pre-game because you never know what he'll say. He likes to throw the odd curve-ball and likes when you challenge him on something. Not once has he ever "big-leagued" the interview and acted like it was a waste of his time. For the most part other coaches are great about visiting media. They all know it's just a part of the game and they are usually very accommodating.

Bye-bye Danny Rakos. Danny is off to the Czech junior team evaluation camp tomorrow as he attempts to play for his native country at the upcoming WJHC in Sweden. Apparently 28 players get invited to camp and only 22 will make it. Quite the honour I would think to make that grade will all the top Czech juniors out there including Red Deer's Martin Hanzal. Good luck Danny boy.

Around the dub last night was filled with upsets. The Silvertips were blanked in Kelowna 2-0 while the Tigers lost in Lethbridge 4-3 in a game that ended ugly. A couple of fights at the end of the game could result in the league taking a look. Maybe a few fines will be passed out we'll see. I don't know all the details so I won't comment.

To close off this latest edition, is getting a bit ridiculous with the "Benke" thread. I swear people just argue for the sake of arguing on there. Benke's popularity with some fans just SKYROCKETED after he was no longer with the team. Leave it to a few people to look for anything and everything to bitch about. I'm sick of it. I saw Karl everyday of his WHL career since cracking this team. Great kid, he's no Aaron Rome like some are making him out to be. But Benks' has reached folk hero mortal status ever since he was re-assigned. This is the last I will address this topic until something changes. Anyone who wants to discuss it, fire me an e-mail and put your name to it. We'll chat, .

And the "Vote for Rory" campaign is still gathering momentum. I talked to Dean Chynoweth about this at breakfast. He made a good point. He thinks if Rory Fitzpatrick is voted to the all-star game the NHL will go to him and ask him to politely decline the invitation. The NHL doesn't need to be made a mockery of. Even if it does raise his profile, the league will eventually step in. Or will they?? Vote for Rory . . . Let's find out.

Broncos and Wheat Kings on the air at 7pm with the pre-game show on the Eagle 94.1 FM.

Go Broncos,

Friday, December 08, 2006

Benke Recalled . . . Kind of.

Good day all,

Here I sit at the radio station, it's 6:30 am and I know in 24 hours from now my day will end at some hotel in Brandon . . . long day ahead.

Here's the latest on the Benke situation. First of all, I can't believe how much play this is getting lately. You'd think that Benke won the Norris Trophy or something.

Ok, let me piece this together,

The Broncos re-assigned Benke to Fort Saskatchewan of the AJHL. He thought at first it was a good idea. A chance to get some playing time, build some confidence and play his way back on the Broncos if the situation arises. Problem is, he didn't want to play near his hometown of Edmonton and was contacted by Nanaimo of the BCHL. They threw some $$$ at him and wanted him there. In fact, they flew him out there for a tour and a look around. The BCHL is notorious for throwing around the cheddar to intice players.

The Broncos don't like this very much. They know full well that once they get their hands on big Karl (who would still not likely be a top four d-man in the BCHL) they would not let him go. I've been told Nanaimo has asked for his outright release and that they wanted to settle up financially for any costs incurred by the Broncos. The Broncos don't want to release him, they want him available for either a trade somewhere else in the WHL or to recall him if the injury bug catches up to them. They have time and $$$ invested in their bantam pick of 2003 and are not ready to part ways. Plus, Karl I believe still wants to be in the WHL be it with the Broncos or some other team that could use him.

Nanaimo says they will play Benke regardless if they get his "Bronco release" or not. That is against player transfer rules but the BCHL sometimes could care less about that. So, in order for the Broncos to keep him off the Nanaimo roster and ice, they've recalled him and suspended him. Benke to my knowledge is still in Nanaimo and could be skating with them shortly, if not already.

To my knowledge, the Broncos tried to move him to another WHL team - any team. The price? Future considerations . . . maybe a 8th or 9th round bantam pick if he was still with that team after the WHL trade deadline in January. There was no action, the phone went silent.

So Benke is in limbo and this story continues to get more play.

In other news, I ran into the Broncos Director of Player personnel Jaime Porter in Prince Albert. He wasn't too thrilled that he made an appearance a few weeks ago on Keen's Korner in my top 10 prospects post.

He said "keep me off that blog." I would have thought it would be a small honour to appear in Keen's Korner, but maybe not. Maybe he wants to be incognito.

Welcome to the Broncos and hockey-savvy Swift Current Jaime, where the fans know the name of the Coach, GM, Marketing guys, trainer, office manager, popcorn vendors, suite hostess, etc. No stone goes unturned in these parts.

We're on the air tonight at 6:30pm from Moose Jaw, face-off at 7pm.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Here's the Latest

The Regina Pats are busy re-tooling their line-up after a pair of deals today.

The Pats, the biggest under-achievers in the WHL this season besides the Prince George Cougars have pulled off a six player deal with the Kelowna Rockets. Headed to K-town, is 18 year-old problem child Justin Bernhardt, Jason Mcdonald and list player Kyle St. Denis. The Regina Pats get 19 year-old European Kaspars Saulietis ( a skilled forward who I was impressed with in Kelowna), Troy Ofukany (gritty 18 year old with some scoring), and Kurt Hill (throw-in).

Regina wins this deal simply because of their circumstances. They received great value for a player who walked off their team (Bernhardt). Usually when that happens, the players' stock plummets big time. The Pats were able to get a skilled Euro which was lacking after the departure of Petr Kalus and Denis Tolpeko. They were able to get some good grit mixed with scoring in Troy Ofukany. Good deal for the Pats. Granted I don't know much about this St. Denis kid but on the surface the Pats made out very well.

The other deal was a one-for-one swap of 18 year olds with Prince Albert. Headed to P.A. is forward Ryan Macdonald for forward Josh Elder. Not sure what brought out this deal. A simple swap, a change of scenery, who knows. The only extra element to it is that Macdonald is a Prince Albert kid and would be heading home. Regina is looking to change things up as much as possible and this just emphasizes the point.

Hey, hey Broncos . . . three straight wins. Last night in Prince Albert, the powerplay took over thanks to seven straight man-advantages midway through the game as they skated to a 5-2 win with three PP goals.

Some thought is was a sloppy-played game but I thought it was fine. Matt Tassone tied it early in the first with his 4th of the season. It was one of the weakest shots on goal after he drove hard to the net from the side boards. He fanned on it or something but it squeaked past Jesse Deckert to make it 1-1. Is this why the Raiders brought Deckert back? The Raiders initially re-assigned Deckert to Salmon Arm of the BCHL in favor of two young 17 year old 'tenders in David Aime and Tyler Esau. But because of some poor play by the young tandem, the Raiders fetched Deckert back. Now get this, the WHL isn't even cooperating with the Raiders' plans. Minutes ago Aime was just named the WHL goaltender of the week. Someone in the WHL head office likes controversy. Talk about confusing in P.A.

Kyle Moir was solid making 35 saves for the win. The powerplay then took over with 11 man advantages. Dane Crowley, Dale Wiese (5 on 3) and David Stieler all scored on the PP. Kyle Bortis added an empty netter with 7 seconds left to seal it.

It was extra special for Moir, here's why. The Nashville Predators didn't sign Moir after they drafted him in 2004 making him a free-agent. The Preds then gave Deckert a free-agent try-out. Talk about a slap in the face. What was Nashville thinking?

The Broncos are in Moose Jaw Friday and Brandon Saturday as they continue their inter-divisional battles.


Wow. Is this ever catching on! The latest voting numbers were released today from the NHL. Rory Fitzpatrick continues to climb the Western Conference defensemen voting for the all-star game in Dallas.

Here's the latest numbers: He's jumped seven spots in a week to 5th.

Scott Niedermayer ; Anaheim 329,657
Nicklas Lidstrom ; Detroit 317,373
Chris Pronger Anaheim 219,372
Dion Phaneuf ; Calgary 208,945
*Rory Fitzpatrick ; Vancouver 144,819
Sergei Zubov ; Dallas 110,562
Mattias Ohlund ; Vancouver 110,146
Scott Hannan ; San Jose 108,757
Mathieu Schneider ; Detroit 88,449
Rob Blake ; Los Angeles 83,814
Robyn Regehr ; Calgary 77,205
John-Michael Liles ; Colorado 71,360
Lubomir Visnovsky ; Los Angeles 57,928

So, if you haven't voted or want to vote again feel free at For those you don't know what this is about check out the "Vote For Rory" post just below on Keen's Korner.

Broncos rolling . . . . hope to see all the Bronco fans making noise in Moose Jaw tomorrow night. If you're on the fan bus headed for MJ leave a comment.

A soon as I clear it I'm going to post a Karl Benke update. Something's up with the big d-man. More later,


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Vote for Rory!

I heard about this and thought . . .wow, that's awesome!

The NHL is now taking votes from fans to select the NHL All-Star game's starting line-up. There's a group out there that is pulling out all the stops to "show-up" the voting process by trying to get Vancouver Canucks 7th defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick into the NHL showcase set for Dallas.

A "vote for Rory" campaign is taking over and you yourself can check it out at Check it out, it's pretty neat. He's kind off taken aback by all the attention - especially for a 10 year pro who has spent all his time in the minor leagues. He's pretty humble about it all considering all the attention it's getting. All the Canuck teammates were wearing "Vote for Rory" t-shirts after practice a few days ago as everyone is getting a good laugh at it.

The whole schtick behind this is to show the NHL that the fan voting process usually doesn't select the most deserving players. Al ot of big market NHL'ers in New York and bigger markets usually get the nod. A player who had a big season last year who could be struggling this season is sometimes a lock to make the All-star team. Wouldn't it be great to get this plugger d-man to the big show?

It's easy too. Go to and from the left hand side select "All-star Ballot". You can find Fitzpatrick's name on the Western Conference write-in box. Just scroll down the list to select his name. I voted a few times today. As of November 27th, Fitzpatrick was about 10th and climbing in the voting for one of the two starting defensemen as he snuck by Detroit's Matheiu Schneider. Scott Neidermeyer leads the voting with over 200,000 votes but Rory is closing the gap!

Broncos in Prince Albert tomorrow night, I'll have a game recap and post some other thoughts that are puzzling me lately.

Vote Rory!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Broncos Down Pats 3-2

Alright, just so we're clear . . . no goal!.

Regina had thought they tied the game in the final second of the third period when a puck banked off players in behind Travis Yonkman but . . . too late.

In my last post I was talking about Regina media "making a meal out of this", sure enough.

Here's Regina Pats play-by-play host Rod Pedersen's blog title - "ROBBED".

Here's what he said about the play in the dying seconds:

"I've already checked Keen's Korner, the blog of the Broncos' broadcaster, and he swears the puck went in 1 or 2 seconds after the horn. C'mon Jon! Are you trying to wrestle the WHL's biggest homer trophy from me?"

Good one Roddy! Don't fret. This years award goes to James Gallo of the Moose Jaw Warriors. His #1 foam finger is purely planted up the Warriors rear side. We can battle for the silver if you'd like.

Listening back to the end of the game . . . I sounded a little silly as I repeated "no goal, that was not a goal!" about 20 times in two minutes. Maybe I was trying to convince the officials from my perch to make the right call.

It's too bad in came down to that play in the dying seconds. Goals by Zack Smith, Daniel Rakos, and Mike Wilson put the Broncos out to a comfortable 3-0 lead in the third. Regina's late two goals, one on the powerplay and the other with the extra attacker ruined the shutout bid of Travis Yonkman. His save on the 2nd period shorthanded 2-on-1 was spectacular! Wow. That's maybe the best save of his Bronco career. Great job Yonks!

Regina looked uninspired and they are a better team that what they've shown. They were without defenseman/captain Kyle Deck (knee) and the departure of Justin Bernhardt (personal reasons) hurts them offensively.

Nick Ross tossed the check of the night. His thump on Danny Rakos as he attempted to go wide on Ross was a biggie. Rakos returned a couple shifts later but then left the game and did not return. I did see him on the ice for the post-game promotion though. He looked fine.

Two impressive stats to pass your way. The Broncos are now 12-1 when they score first. They are also a perfect 10-0 when they lead after the 2nd period. What a difference a year makes. Credit must go to the coaching staff in that regard.

The win puts the Broncos back to an even 15-15-1 as they get set to take on Prince Albert. The Raiders have points in five straight games and are playing their best hockey of the season. It will be a test especially up at the Art Hauser Center.

Have a great day,

Sunday, December 03, 2006

No Goal . . .No Doubt!

Ok, let's put this little controversey away to bed before the Regina media makes a meal out of it. The Broncos held on to a 3-2 win over the Regina Pats and everyone in the building saw that time had expired after the puck crossed the line. Good night. Game over, end of story. I saw it, it was 1 to 2 seconds after time expired. End of story. Hey, credit to Regina for the sell job. They did exactly what you're supposed to do: celebrate like crazy and get set for overtime.

Full game recap coming tomorrow, for now it's off to bed with the Eagle morning show wake-up call coming at 4:30am.

Big back-to-back Bronco wins over Regina and Brandon . . . smile everybody, and lighten up! Honestly.


Now That's More Like It!

Just when you think this team has hit a funk which appears to be setting in, they go ahead and surprise me - big time!

The powerplay looked very good against Brandon as it led the way en-route to a big 6-4 win over the division leading Brandon Wheat Kings. Jeremy Schenderling had a HUGE night. That was great to see. Schendo has been taking some heat from fans but tonight his three goals, all on the powerplay hopefully sparks the 20 year-old forward. Anything shy of 25 goals this season would be deemed disappointing. He has some work to do. You add to that Levi Nelson's two goals and two helpers and some of the big players expected to produce this season just had their biggest nights of the year. One could say career maybe??

But the unsung hero in all of this was Brady Leavold. His shorthanded goal in the midst of another penalty killing disaster really sparked his team back into the game. His goal tied the game 3-3 and allowed the Broncos to weather the storm after surrendering three goals on the PK.

Can I ask what is up with the penalty kill lately? That's 8 goals against on the PK in the last two games. The Broncos' powerplay had the pk's back tonight - that was a welcomed change.

Ryan Agar? Are you kidding me? In the two man system he called EVERYTHING. Even referee counterpart Mark MacIsaac grabbed a front row seat for the Agar Show. MacIsaac took the night off as Agar called all but one of the 15 powerplays. I was introduced to him before the game. Nice guy, he's young and feeling his way through the WHL. It doesn't help when you have Brandon's head coach and GM Kelly Macrimmon in your ear all night long. He is a master at influencing the officiating. I asked him about it during "Behind the Bench" during the broadcast's pre-game show. He said with a smirk "Jon, I have no idea what your talking about, you must have put something funny in your coffee tonight to say something like that." Truth is Kelly is good at it and even though he doesn't admit it, it DOES play on these young WHL officials. For the record, Kelly is one of the best coaches to talk to in the WHL. He always gives you something. He enjoys it and gets creative and I appreciate that.

Thanks to Dave Hunchak for plugging the "Keen's Korner" blog tonight in the coaches show. We had a great back and forth conversation tonight about talking to referees and why the Broncos' coaching staff doesn't do it more. I've said this many times "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" in the WHL. Brent Sutter and Kelly Macrimmon are the best at it. In fact I think a game between those two teams once took 4 hours and 34 minutes because of all the conversations between coach and referee! I just wish Dean and Dave had a bit more to say when things are turning sour on the officiating front. It's not their style and that's fine.

Alright, a new day, a new challenge. The Regina Pats fresh off a convincing 3-0 win over Red Deer Saturday are tonight's opponents at the Civic Center. The Pats have won the two previous meetings 5-2 and 6-2. The PK will have to be better than it has been and the Broncos have to play just as inspired as they did tonight. Too many times it seems the guys can't put back-to-back good efforts together and the rollercoaster ride rolls on.

Good win tonight, I'll post a weekend recap Monday. Feel free to leave a comment or two,


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Breaking Down the McArdle Deal

The Moose Jaw Warriors dealt their best player away Thursday when they sent 19 year-old Kendall McArdle to Vancouver for 18 year-old Jason Reese and a 2nd round bantam pick. So what does this say? To the fans of Moose Jaw, it says next year country but hold on a sec.

Moose Jaw General Manager Chad Lang got decent value for McArdle but by no means did either team get a one-sided deal. McArdle was struggling this season and battled with inconsistent play. Moose Jaw gets Reese - a player who doesn't fit into Vancouver's top two lines and quite frankly has put up good numbers playing on the third line and seeing limited PP time in Vancity. You throw in a 2nd round pick in the bantam draft - which is pretty valuable come draft day and you can say Moose Jaw made off pretty well here.

The 2nd rounder isn'ta big deal for the Giants. They already have the Broncos 2nd round pick in the trade to acquire Ryan Molle. And if it's Vancouver's 2nd round selection it would be a late 2nd, possibly 43rd of 44th overall.

Is Moose Jaw throwing in the towel this season? Hardly. But I do have to question the route that GM Lang is going. He said earlier this year that they were a player or two away from being as good as last year's team. So they go out and get Isbister from Calgary - a 20 year old forward. They go and fetch 19 year-old Keith Voytechek from Chilliwack thinking maybe they can add some offense for the departure of Brouwer, Boyd and Blair Jones. It hasn't worked.

So now, they dump their bestplayer before December even hits and all signs would now point to re-building. Sometimes it's tough to put the bus in reverse once you get going. This could hurt Moose Jaw for a couple seasons. I don't really have a good idea of what the Warriors have in the system but they could see two or three dry years in the Friendly City. But they've surprised me before they can surprise me again.

Broncos and Warriors on the Eagle 94.1 FM Friday night beginning with the pre-game show at 6:30pm, the play-by-play at 7pm from the Crushed Can.

The Broncos have a reporter from following them this weekend. He's doing a feature on the '86 bus crash. More on that coming later.

Bring your teddy bears Saturday night . . .

Later all,

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Benke Reassigned

Here's the media release:

The Swift Current Broncos announced this morning that they have reassigned 18 year old defenseman Karl Benke to the Fort Saskatchewan Traders of the Alberta Junior Hokcey League.

The second year Bronco appeared in 12 of the Broncos first 28 games, recording 35 penalty minutes. Last season, the Edmonton native played 51 games with 2 assists and 113 minutes in penalties.

The Broncos roster now sits at 22 players, (2 Goaltenders, 7 Defensemen, and 13 forwards).

Next action for the Broncos is this Friday night as they travel to Moose Jaw to play the Warriors. Next Broncos home game is this Saturday when they host the Brandon Wheat Kings on Kurt’s KFC Teddy Bear Toss Night.

I sure hope the blueline can stay injury-free for awhile. He will be called back if required.

More later,


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

White Christmas

Remember Ian White? I sure do.

He was the Broncos' offensively gifted defenseman that most thought was too small to play in the NHL. After four years with the Broncos (2000-2004), he spent a year and a half in the AHL before cracking the Leafs' line-up on a full-time basis. Recently life in the big city hasn't been great for White who has made some bad decisions recently in T.O.

I'm going to tell you what's going on and then tell you some of my personal experiences with the talented rear-guard.

Back before the season started, White decided to get into his Cadillac Escalade and he drove drunk. He was busted for impaired driving and had his license suspended. Everyone makes mistakes.

Well, a few days ago White was busted again. This time for driving while disqualified.

Apparently he's not making any friends with the cut-throat Toronto media. Here's an excerpt from a Steve Simmon's column in the Toronto Sun - one of this country's largest papers.

So Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Ian White got busted for driving with a suspended license after being busted for drunk driving. He says it would be "no big deal" if he wasn't a hockey player. If I were him, I'd shut up for a while and try not to say anything quite so asinine.

It looks like White's comments of "it's no big deal" are getting some play in Toronto. This reporter Steve Simmons seems to be getting some mileage out of this.

Gee, I wonder when White started speaking to the media again?? In his final year in Swift Current White decided he no longer wanted to do interviews with local media . . .maybe more-so just the local radio station. Apparently he felt jaded towards us for some reason or another. It was either something that was said, something implied or maybe it was something else.

Sure we wondered (out loud sometimes) about his motivation, the way he practiced, the way he conducted himself in the community and interacted with others. He obviously decided to take exception to that and therefore imposedinto a "local media ban". Sure he has his supporters, and I can respect those opinions.

Let's rewind the clock and see how this all came to be . . .

At that time it was just after the 2003 World Junior Championship held in Halifax. White had made a big name for himself at the event with his booming pointshot and offensive ability. At one point he was the talk of the tournament. Don Cherry raved about him on "Coaches Corner". TSN and Sportsnet couldn't get enough of the young d-man from the Swift Current Broncos. After eventually losing to the Russians in the gold medal game, White returned with a silver medal and a head that almost couldn't fit inside his helmet, let alone the Broncos dressing room. He closed off the season and not much was said. It appeared at that point though that White was now only playing out the rest of his WHL time as thoughts of pro hockey and the $$$ danced in his head.

Later that off-season he signed with the Leafs, bought his "Cadillac Escalade SUV" and from that point on it was a done deal.

He returned for his 19 year-old season just content to get through his last year of junior. A broken leg in December put the season on hold and his return bid to the World Junior Team was cut short because he wasn't fully healed from his injury.

At some point between his injury and his return to the line-up for the stretch run something changed. Either he heard something he didn't like or was tired of the situation, the city, the media, whatever. He would refuse interview requests and seemed to have a very negative attitude towards the whole process. I never really raised the issue . . . to each his own I guess.

He returned just in time to fuel all the trade deadline speculation that he was headed to Kelowna or Moose Jaw or Kamloops. The Broncos instead traded away Aaron Rome and Aaron Richards to Moose Jaw for Blake Grenier, Derek Krestanovich and Mike Busto. Moose Jaw went on to win the division and enjoy some playoff success. The Broncos were swept in the first round.

My point to all this is Ian White probably upset Simmons from the Toronto Sun at some point and now he's taking his the first opportunity to get after him when trouble finally struck the Leaf's defenseman.

Media tends to go after guys who don't "play ball". Look at Barry Bonds, Todd Bertuzzi and even Riders running back Kenton Keith. There is a feeling of "we can make you look bad or in some cases even worse".

To close, I've never done a "Where Are They Now" with Ian White, I've never even attempted to track down a phone number. I've talked a lot to his teammates out there in Ben Ondrus and Jeremy Williams. I would love to talk to him now, see if his story has changed at all. I highly doubt it considering the way media is taking swings at him now.

That's it for today. Later this week, I'll tell you about some Star Power the Broncos have recruited for the Goals for Education Lottery.

Till then,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Euro Power

Euro power . . . a phrase coined by Austrian native and former Broncos forward Thomas Raffl, one of the biggest characters the Broncos have had in their line-up the last few seasons.

Red Deer showed their own version of Euro power Saturday night at the Civic Center as Czech forward Martin Hanzal and Russian sniper Kirill Starkov combined for 8 points in a 5-2 win over the Broncos. As for our Euro power? Danny Rakos continued his season long parade to the penalty box with his team leading 31st minor of the season as the Rebels scored the eventual game winning goal on the pp with 7:30 to play in the third. Our other Euro, David Stieler was busy sticking up for teammates by getting into his first fight in the WHL (probably in his life) with Red Deer's Kerry Pieper after a big check dished out on Matt Tassone. What's my point here? Well, Friday night, Red Deer's two Euro's showed all-world talent while the Broncos' pair showed that maybe they were actually born in Stewart Valley, Sask. Rather than their native Czech Republic.

It really was an entertaining game, the Rebels came in as an owly bunch and wanted to redeem themselves for a lackluster effort in Prince Albert the night before. They came out in the first and as predicted, dictated the flow before the Broncos responded well in the 2nd period to tie the game 2-2 heading into the third.

A lack of a powerplay caught up to the Broncos, especially when the teams traded 5-on-3 advantages on three separate occasions. Red Deer's two PP goals turned out to be the difference in the hockey game.

Afterwards the Eagle 94.1's Fine Furniture Oasis Hot Stove Lounge took over in the Canadian Room. We were joined by Head Coach and G.M. Dean Chynoweth, Assistant Coach Dave Hunchak and players Levi Nelson, Dale Wiese, and Zack Smith. Thanks guys.

When we got to the Q and A portion from the fans, it seemed the front two tables in the lounge - aka the "Karl Benke Fan Club" took over the first round of questions. They wanted to know "why Karl Benke wasn't dressed? Will we ever see him play again? How come he didn't play against the bigger, slower Portland Winterhawks earlier this week? The questions were directed towards Dean and after the third or fourth Benke inquiry from the Fan Club, Dean quickly responded as to sum-up his thoughts by saying "Because I wanna win". I don't want to give this more ink than it's worth but let's break down the Broncos blueline:

1. Right now (knock on wood) it's injury free.
2. Myles Rumsey / Dane Crowley / R.J. Larochelle have been outstanding this season
3. Michael Wilson - a 19 year-old adds experience and a powerplay/offensive factor
4. We have three very talented 17 year-olds (Derek Claffey, Paul Postma, Ryan Molle) the first two of the three are potential NHL draft picks this summer - ranked #12 and #18 in the WHL respectively. These three have a ton of upside and need to continue to develop so they can be the anchors of our blueline in the coming years.
5. This leaves Karl Benke. It's an unfortunate situation for the big 18 year-old defenseman, he's kind of caught between a rock and a hard place.

The best option for Karl Benke and his Fan Club is to just wait. An opportunity will arise. Let's hope he takes full advantage of it when it comes around.

To close, a few shout-outs. Thanks to Ernie for firing some good questions at the Hot Stove and keeping us all entertained. A few of the players have commented that they read this blog and so does their family and friends, thanks. Broncos Director of Player Personnel and Head Scout Jaime Porter took some shots at me for my "blog" but whatever, maybe he has a point. Stay tuned Jaime, you may learn a thing or two . . . even if my top prospects post was way out to lunch. Good luck at the bantam draft this summer, I'll be watching.

Some WHL news, notes and tidbits are coming up later this week . . . till then,


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Future in Good Hands

Awhile back there was an anonymous comment asking for a look into the Broncos' top prospects. Great idea! So, as the Broncos get set to take on the Red Deer Rebels I will attempt to piece together a Broncos Top 10 (actually 11) Prospects Guide. A little of a disclaimer here, I haven't seen these players outside of Broncos training camp and am going on what I hear from scouts, team personnel, team reports and what kind of season these players are having in their respective leagues. This list in no way represent's the thoughts of the Swift Current Broncos Hockey Club, it's just a list for fans to get an idea of what's coming down the pipe.

So here we go . . .

#10. Scott Macauley - D, 5-8 171 Hockey Age:16 Winnipeg Wild"AAA" Midget

Macauley is a Broncos list player who could turn out to be another success story. He was recently named to Team Manitoba for the Canada Winter Games set for Whitehorse, Yukon in the new year. I have to admit, his name caught me as a bit of a surprise to make that team. He's a smaller type defenseman who is leading his "AAA" midget team in scoring as a defenseman 4-13-17 in 17 games. He's a player that may climb this list quickly if his development continues at this pace.

#9 Clayton Cumiskey - F, 5-10 165 Hockey Age:16, Williams Lake BCHL

I haven't seen a lot of Cumiskey, partly because he was hurt for training camp and didn't participate. He has good WHL bloodlines. His brother Kyle was a standout defenseman with the Kelowna Rockets. He was teammates with Geordie Wudrick and prospect goaltender Ian Curtis in Abbotsford. BC "AAA" bantam. So far in his rookie season, he's collected 3-6-9 playing B.C. Junior "A". He's the only 16 year old on that team. I'm also not sure of his hockey route and whether he want to play WHL hockey or not. We'll see at next year's camp where he's at I guess.

#8 Joel Rogers - D, Height/Weight N/A Hockey Age:15, Fraser Valley "AAA" Midget

Rogers is a 4th round pick (68th) overall in this past summer's WHL bantam draft. He really impressed me and others at Broncos training camp this fall. He is an excellent skater and puck-mover. He always seemed to make the right play in his own end. What I really like is that he's only 15. He hasn't put up big numbers in "AAA" midget this season 1-3-4. We'll continue to follow his progress.

#7 James Martin - D, 6-1, 176 Hockey Age:15, Winnipeg Wild "AAA" Midget

The Broncos are really high on their 2nd round bantam pick from this past summers draft. Another 15 year-old defenseman with a ton of upside. I questioned his skating ability at training camp but the team's scouting staff looked at me funny for that comment. Hey, they're the experts! Martin is playing well as 15 year-old playing "AAA" midget. Point totals are 1-5-6 through 17 games. He's a teammate of Scott Macauley and 1st round bantam pick Cody Eakin. I would love to see him dress a few games as a 15 year-old later this season.

#6 Kris Foucault - F, Height/Weight N/A Hockey Age:16 Calgary Buffalos "AAA"

I thought he was outstanding at Broncos training camp this fall. He has a natural scoring ability as was among the leaders in the rookie scrimmages. He skates well but it's his finish that really caught my attention. He hasn't put up big numbers this season playing "AAA" midget in Calgary. I'm not sure if that's due to injury or not. Has to improve his fitness. If he comes back in better shape next fall he could crack this team. We'll continue to watch Foucault's development under the careful eye of Calgary based Broncos scout Keith Wilson.

#5 David Greyeyes - D, Height/Weight N/A Hockey Age:15 Beardy's Sask "AAA"

Another 15 year-old defenseman in the system. The Broncos must be very happy with their "91" defensive group. He was a holdover into main camp and played well in the Black/White game. Good d-man who could be a future powerplay qb from what I saw over the week in camp. He was the Broncos' 5th round bantam pick in the latest bantam draft. Decent numbers so far playing in Beardy's "AAA" midget 5-6-11 in 16 games. With the graduation of Myles Rumsey and a decision to make with the 20 year-old situation, look for Greyeyes to be a front-runner to make this team next year as a 16 year-old.

#4 Brad Hoban - F 5-11 160 Hockey Age:15 Juan De Fuca "AAA" Bantam

The Broncos 3rd round bantam pick (47th overall) in the latest draft. Hoban is racking up the numbers in the lower mainland. He was a standout in the annual KIBIHT Bantam tournament. He was the tournament's top scorer and was also named the KIBIHT MVP. He's coached by former Kamloops Blazers star Len Barrie. Hoban is one of the top players "AAA" bantam in BC.

#3 Justin Dowling - F Height/Weight N/A. Hockey Age: 16 UFA Bisons "AAA"

He has really come on this season in the Alberta "AAA" midget hockey league. He's 2nd in league scoring 12-16-28 in just 16 games. He is probably the fastest rising prospect in my opinion. I'm sure some Bronco's team scouts would question this high of a ranking. I can't wait until they read this so they can give some feedback. He's been on the radar for awhile now. I'm hoping he continues to put up big numbers to justify his #3 billing. All this from another Broncos list player.

#2 Jordan Mistelbacher - F 6-0 180, Hockey Age:16 Winnipeg Saints MJHL

By all accounts he was maybe the best player at Broncos rookie camp. He led the rookie scrimmages in scoring and played well at main camp. He was the Broncos 4th round pick in the 2005 bantam draft. As a junior hockey rookie in Winnipeg, Mistelbacher has posted good numbers 2-12-14 in 25 games. It will be interesting to see if he will play a few games with the Broncos or not this season. Is the NCAA route being considered in his case? I would love to see him step up to make this team next season. He will would compliment this team as a talented 17 year-old forward next season. Time will tell.

It's a first place tie for Top Broncos Prospect . . .

#T-1 Ian Curtis - G, 6-5 185, Hockey Age:16 Cowichan Valley BCHL

I still think Ian Curtis is the "real deal" and have often touted him as the best Broncos' prospect I have seen since following this hockey club. He was the first goaltender taken in the 2005 bantam draft as a Broncos 2nd round selection. He's the most athletic goaltender I have seen in the Broncos organization and possesses great movement, balance, size, reflexes, puck handling and maturity. He often reminds me of former Hitmen goaltender Justin Pogge (he may also have Pogge's swagger to go along with the skills). Pogge at 16 didn't look anything like Ian Curtis . Pogge virtually just busted out as a 19 year-old. I was disappointed not to see Curtis make Team BC for the Canada Winter Games. His stint as a back-up in the BCHL is the likely cause of not maing that squad. It's too bad he's not here with the team. But with Moir and Yonkman holding down the fort, he will remain in Cowichan Valley.

#1-T Cody Eakin - F - 5-10 165 - Hockey Age:15 Winnipeg Wild "AAA" Midget

Wow. He is a future WHL star you can take that to the bank. This speedy forward was the talk of Broncos training camp. At only 15, he didn't look out of place at anytime and lived up to his top-billing. The Broncos 1st round pick (6th overall) out of Winnipeg will eventually be a top WHL face-off man. He is putting up great numbers as a 15 year-old. 15 goals, 10 assists for 25 points in just 17 games puts him 2nd in team scoring. Eakin first made headlines when he was one of a few select bantam players chosen to participate in the AHL skills competition when the Manitoba Moose hosted the AHL All-star game last year. Eakin's time in the fastest skater competition not only blew away the rest of his bantam-aged counterparts. It put him in the middle of the pack with the pros! He also went 4/5 in the shooting accuracy event to electrify the hometown crowd. Let's hope we see Cody Eakin make his WHL debut at some point this season.

There you have it . . .now it's your turn. What do you think?

I'll post a recap of the Broncos/Rebels game tomorrow, later all,


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Who's In Trouble In Sports Today?

Wow, do we have a couple doozys today! Today you get your choice of a pair of struggling WHL teams. Let's now make case for them both . . . you decide.

Portland Winterhawks

They just finished the road-trip from hell. They played six game through the East division only to grab one win (in Moose Jaw, but who isn't beating Moose Jaw these days?) They were blanked in Saskatoon,Regina and last night in Swift Current 3-0 - Travis Yonkman made 24 saves for his 2nd shutout of the season. They blew a two-goal lead in Prince Albert to lose in a shootout 3-2. They've won once in their last 9 games.

That's just some of the on-ice woes they have had as they head back to Oregon as I piece this together. RCMP report a fast moving bus heading West on the Transcanada.

Perhaps the biggest blows have come off the ice. In talking with Winterhawks' Head Coach Mike Williamson, it's the old saying "what can go wrong, will go wrong"

Bus and Bus Driver problems - the opening game of their swing in Regina, their bus driver slipped on the ice in the parking lot and banged his head. It required an ambulance pick-up and a visit to Regina General. Their bus also broke down along the swing - never fun when in the middle of the prairies.

Team related issues - Captain Kyle Bailey and leading scorer Rob Klinkhammer were both healthy scratches in Prince Albert for what Williamson referred to as "team issues that had to be dealt with". That's never good when it's two of your 20 year-olds in the stands.

Hotel and post-game meal issues - apparently they've had their share of booking issues along their trails. It always makes for extra headaches when things aren't going well.

Voice problems - Oh, man I feel terrible for Dean "Scooter" Vrooman. He's the voice of the Portland Winterhawks and has been for years and years. Well Scoot came down with what he calls the "Saskatchewan cold" and he didn't have a voice last night. He took our Eagle 94.1 feed and broadcasted it on Feel better Scoot. See you next year back in the Rose City.

Alright, moving on now . . .

The Regina Pats

All the lights are off in Patsville. They have hit the skids big time. They haven't scored since early in the 1st period against Chilliwack in their first game of their B.C. roadswing.

The span between goals now sits at a whopping 242 minutes and 18 seconds! That has to be approaching some sort of a record for the underachieving hockey club. They have been blanked in three straight games in Vancouver, Prince George in Kamloops.

Here is a few quotes from the Regina Pats Coaches Show. (courtesy of Regina Pats play-by-play host Rod Pedersen's blog at

That was a speechless game and I'm absolutely uninspired by how we played," fumed coach Curtis Hunt on CKRM's postgame show, "We played with absolute indifference toward each other and what we're trying to accomplish as a team. It's such a far cry from the team we've been at home and before this trip. It starts at the top and our captains weren't prepared to play tonight. We had some gutless plays tonight, some selfish plays. As much as it's gone, we've gotta learn and the time is now. We've gotta maybe have some wholesale changes because we played like a team that wants changes at the top. But we're not done fighting, I know that.""I take responsibility. It's my club and I take responsibility. It's our club, no question, but I'm the guy that pulls the strings. We've gotta figure this out and if there's a fire I deserve to be in it. I'll take the heat. We're a bunch of individuals playing for the name on the back of the jersey, not the front. We're not even playing for the guy beside ya and we've got it all wrong here."


Ok now you decide. Let's hear from ya.

Till tomorrow,

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giving 110 percent

What is that? That's one of the worst sports cliches around! As a member of media I've had about enough of these "go-to" phrases from sports figures in the WHL circuit. Now, I've heard them all. They vary as to whether a team is going good or spinning their tires. Over the last three years in Broncoland the cliches have been fired at will! It's been a virtual cliche smorgasborg. Here are some of the quick one-liners I could live without over the last three seasons:

"We have to start bearing down on our chances" One of my recent dislikes. It refers to a team struggling to put the puck in the net. It's something that has plagued the Broncos since the days of Tyler Redenbach and Jeremy Williams going 1-2 in the WHL scoring race. the cliche refers to making the most on your scoring opportunities. Enough already!

"We need to play a full 60 minutes" Ugggh, this one has to go. It's been a catch-phrase for a few seasons at times. All the Broncos are using this line this season. We all know the game is 60 minutes. It's a cliche best used to describe a lapse in a game where the other team turns it up a notch or things come a part at the seams on the other end. We'll see who the next interviewee is that decides to throw this one my way. Guaranteed it comes tomorrow night vs Portland.

"We just have to do the little things right" How 'bout this . . . do the big things right too! It's a phrase thrown around indicating the need to take care of the small details of the game - get pucks in deep, limit turnovers, chipping pucks, etc. I know these things are an important part to the game but can we cease the old go-to liner?

"Take it one game at a time" or "One shift at a time" Another classic "we're struggling recently" catch phrase. It refers to the need of not getting ahead of one's self and "focusing on the task at hand".

"Don't allow ourselves to get to high or too low" Yes, good in theory but rarely does a team stick to it. Players have a bad way of celebrating every win like it was their first and every loss likes it's the end of the world. I like emotion in the game, in the players and coaches. Let it out. better yet, tell ME about it. That stuff is radio gold.

"We just didn't get any puck-luck" Sort of self-explanatory here. A usual line when the "bounces just didn't go our way". I'm as guilty as the next one here. That's a common phrase up in the broadcast booth. It's a way to take soltice after a loss in my opinion.

"We came out flat tonight" To the Broncos credit this hasn't been a cliche they've used over the last little stretch. It's go to line whenever getting outplayed, outshot and outscored in the 1st period of the game.

Here's some cliches I would love to hear in the future "All lines are firing" , "it was a good team effort", "our powerplay was the difference tonight"

Anyways . . . it's the Broncos and Portland Winterhawks Wednesday night at the CC. It's the only meeting between the two teams this season. I'm looking forward to seeing the Hawks. They are truly an international team. They have players representing 11 different provinces, states or countries compared to the Broncos five. Portland features players from B.C., Alberta, Sask, Manitoba, Minnesota, California, Nevada, Germany, Sweden, and Washington.

Man, lets hope Portland's play-by-play broadcaster Dean "Scooter" Vrooman remembers his broadcasting equipment this time! Last year he left his gear in the hotel in Medicine Hat and I had to give him our old rinky-dink mixer board to do the game. He said it was fine . . . but I think he was just being nice. For more info on the 'Hawks check out this blog: - It's hosted by Portland's color commentator Andy Kemper who couldn't make the trip to the prairies because of "his real job"

We're on the air tomorrow night at 7pm. Included in the pre-game show will be a look at the SJHL neutral site game in Gull Lake Friday night between Kindersley and Notre Dame.

Go Broncos,

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A lot of Miles, No Smiles

That might be the toughest two game swing in the WHL aside from doing an Everett/Vancouver back-to-backer.

First of all, I apologize for the delay in posts. Two games, 1500 kms, over two days doesn't leave a lot ot time for "blogging". I appreciate your patience.

The Medicine Hat Tigers and the Kootenay Ice are more than just two good teams who play their best at home. I swear they have a higher power guiding them in their own barns. Similar to the "Ghosts of Yankee Stadium", there is something that is out of the norm in those two buildings. It takes an enormous effort to win in those rinks - especially for the Broncos who have won only once combined in Cranbrook and Medicine Hat in the last three years!

Take nothing away from this team's effort. They outshoot the 'Hat 33-27 and outplay them through two periods. In Kootenay, they get out to a great start but find themselves down 2-0 after the 1st.

They played physical both nights, didn't back down and played hard. It's just wasn't enough.

7-3 for the Ice in no way reflects how the game was played. The Ice played in spurts - scoring goals #1 and #2 just :37 seconds apart. Goals #3 and #4 came :20 seconds apart and goals #6 and #7 just :22 seconds apart.

Assistant coach Dave Hunchak said in the post-game show that they outchanced the Ice but the difference is their top-end players finish chances off while the Broncos continue to be denied. He also commented that Wednesday's game vs Portland is a game they "can and should win". They host the 'Hawks Wedneday night at 7:30pm

Here's some quick weekend tidbits . . .

- Levi Nelson's goading of Derek Dorsett was certainly a nice change. We've seen enough of Dorsett's antics (effective as they are) used against the Broncos. Nelson drew Dorsett into taking an unsportsmanlike penalty in the 2nd period. Nelson then went on to score the PP goal. I asked Nelson what it's like to be booed by 4006 Tiger fans everytime he touched the puck, "Awesome!" replied Levi.

- Who heard me say "Whoa!" just before going into commercial during the Broncos/Kootenay broadcast as we headed to the 2nd intermission? Here's why. Big Karl Benke sat in the booth with me during the game. He's a big guy with big feet! I had my mixer board power source, mini disc recorder cable, phone line chord, lap-top power chord, internet cable, cell phone charger, and PSP charger all on the counter with all the dangling chords underneath. Well, when Karl stood up to leave he managed to wrap those big size 14's around them all . . . and you guessed it. EVERYTHING came crashing to the floor. He knocked us off the air but no harm done to the gear.

- Derek Claffey and Matt Tassone didn't make the trip. Claffey is suffering from a sore groin, Tassone was sick. Their return to the line-up is uncertain, especially Tassone.

-Dane Crowley and Medicine Hat tough guy Jordan Bendfeld scrapped 3 seconds into the game Friday night. Crowley told me afterwards "I asked him to go". Bendfeld takes the decision landing three body shots to Dane's two. Can't say I've seen that before. 18 year old Bendfeld is 6'3 and ripped from head to toe at 230 pounds. He's the heir to the heaveyweight throne presently occupied by Kamloops' Matt Kassian.

Till tomorrow,