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,


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pigs Fly! Legionnaires Win!

Hey great job by the Legion of Doom tonight at the Fairview. The "AAA" club ended an 11 game losing skid on the Eagle airwaves as Riley Currie scored in overtime to give the Legionnaires a well deserved 4-3 win. Good job fellas.

Meanwhile Broncos are on the road tomorrow night in Medicine Hat to play the streaking Tigers. They rolled over the entire East division this last week on the road winning big in every game. They wrapped up in Prince Albert with a 5-1 win. Now they host the Broncos having beaten them twice already this season 2-1 and 5-4. It's a battle of division leaders as the Broncos hit the weekend a top the East division. We're on the air beginning at 8pm with the pre-game show, 8:30 play-by-play from the Arena!

Thanks for all the comments on the last post everyone. I really appreciate the feedback, even Switzer chipped in with his two cents. Thanks man.

What's going on in Prince Albert? They asked 20 year old goaltender Jesse Deckert to return after sending him to Salmon Arm of the BC Junior league at the 20 year-old deadline in favour of defenseman Cole Simpson. The two 17 year old 'tenders in PA (David Aime/ Tyler Esau) were/are doing their best dodgeball imitation. The Raiders have been beaten up on lately and coaching/management is putting most of the blame on the two young goalies. Isn't that sad? Prince Albert's a mess. Have fun in the end of March watching playoffs.

Sorry for the delay but I'm still working on that Top 10 Broncos prospect piece. The deeper I get into it the more excited I am for the future of this team. We have some top end prospect waiting to make an impact here. Here's a preview anyways (Ty Gerrans, Darren Tarasoff, Jordan Mistlebacher, Kris Foucalt, Taylor Vause, David Greyeyes, Brad Hoban, James Martin, Cody Eakin, Joel Rogers and Ian Curtis)

Now for my beef of the day . . .

How bad is CTV Regina's coverage of Broncos hockey? The only time our boys get some airtime is if they're in Regina. There better not be a Rider game that weekend either or they're screwed! Last night they had highlights of the Moose Jaw/Portland fiasco (two teams that have lost a combined 8 straight). They had highlights of a Medicine Hat walk over Prince Albert (5-1) but the battle for 1st in the East division between Brandon and the Broncos gets the score flashed quickly on the screen just before the SJHL scores. Brutal! C'mon your the only television sports source for Southern Saskatchewan, cover it all!

Check back for a weekend recap, later, all.


Beasts of the East?

Don't look now . . . but the Broncos sit a top the East division following last nights entertaining 4-2 win over visiting Brandon.

Good game by the club as they played disciplined hockey and put together a solid penalty-kill against the WHL's best powerplay.

The line of Leavold/Smith/Mcavoy combined for seven points. Smith had two goals and a helper. He almost had the hat-trick after taking a long stretch pass from Dane Crowley for the breakaway. His shot missed the mark though as he tried to go high on Tyler Plante.

Smith even did a good job of sticking up for his teammate when Brady Leavold was hit hard over the middle by Chad Erb after taking a "suicide pass" from his linemate. "I felt kind of bad about that so I figured I should be the one to do something about it". Smith commented in the post-game show interview

Dane Crowley was a machine last night. He scored his first goal of the season and was solid in his own end. What a pass to send Smith on the breakaway!

I'm liking this team more and more. Just wait, the best is yet to come.

Brandon can play! They have skill and speed to burn. The Burki/Derlago/Topilko line was dangerous all night long. The Juri Simek line was dangerous too. So was the hardworking trio of Reaves/Moore/Dittmer. Brandon is a much better team than there record would indicate. If they learn to be more responsible and not give up so many opportunities they will be a force to reckon with.

Is Kelly Macrimmon the Civic Center superintendent? He had his way with the referee, the linesmen, even the scoreboard operator. I must admit his constant chatter to the referee worked in his favour last night. Give him credit, he realized he was dealing with a WHL rookie referee and made the most of it. How he got 3 seconds put back on the clock so RJ Larochelle remained in the penalty box was beyond me. With the situation 4 on 4 and the Wheaties just called for icing, it appeared the Broncos penalty (Larochelle) had just expired. It would have created an offensive zone face-off with the Broncos now on the PP. But Macrimmon lobbied successfully for Larochelle to return to box to serve the remaining 3 seconds of his penalty.

Speaking of coaches, Everett Silvertips Coach Kevin Constantine has been fined $500 bucks for his actions at the Civic Center last Friday night. He was tossed in that game by referee Nathan Weiler. He reportedly, came back to sit in the stands disguised in a ball cap in the section just below our broadcast booth. He's a piece of work.

Last night's tilt was one of the most entertaining games of the season. It's too bad there wasn't a lot of fans to see it. What's with the crowds this year? Is there something better to do? Maybe. These are busy days for people running their kids around to various events. The Wednesday night crowds just haven't been there. Incidentally, the next Broncos home game is next Wednesday! They host Portland.

It seems we're putting a lot into these "fan bus" promotions lately. Last time I checked that doesn't take care of putting the butts in OUR seats. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing Broncos support on the road. It's a fun time for everyone involved but what is it doing to help our own situation and our crowds?

I'm still working on the Broncos Top 10 prospects list for a future posting. It's just really busy right now. Legionnaires broadcast tonight from the Fairview. Then the Broncos hit the road for games in Medicine Hat and Kootenay Fri/Sat. Four straight nights of hockey broadcasts, not sure if I can pull it off! This schedule is starting to catch up with me. Can't wait for the two weeks off at Christmas.

I talked to Broncos prospect Cody Eakin (1st round bantam pick, 6th overall this past summer) the other night. Look for that interview before the Broncos/Ice game Saturday night. I can't wait to see Cody in the line-up in the near future, wow what a high-end prospect!

Enjoy the division lead Bronco fans . . . now the trick is holding on to it. Always appreciate your comments and feedback. Let's hear from you.

Till tomorrow,


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thanks Everybody!

This blog is only a week old but already I think it's become the #1 source for Broncos information. Thanks for all the hits and good comments everyone . . . even you Pat you diehard Pats' fan. Keep me updated from the Queer city . . . I mean Queen city. Good to hear from you.

A few readers' comments have asked for a Broncos top prospects post. I'm on it. Later this week I will update the Broncos top 10 prospects in the system. These players will be in the Broncos' line-up in the near future, some could be franchise players. Make sure to check it out as the future looks bright for the club. I predict they could chase a WHL crown next year or the year after if they get some breaks and some good luck along the way. They'll need to find some decent Import players to compliment all this young talent coming up through the ranks.

Broncos and Wheaties Wednesday night . . . Broncos could be tops in the division by the end of the game if they can pull out the win. They'll have to stay out of the penalty box. Brandon boasts the top powerplay in the WHL and has offensive weapons like Codey Burki and Mark Derlago. Not to mention Dustin Kohn on the blueline and solid goaltending in Tyler Plante (even though the Broncos have always done well against him).

Be sure to pass on the blog link to all your friends and for all your Broncos inside info.

Keep the comments coming, Thanks for visiting,


Monday, November 13, 2006

Cruel Summer

You know what? This could have been the Broncos year. I mean the last few have been rebuilding seasons. We've drafted reasonably well and have made some good trades. We are average to strong at the 17 year old age group (Postma,Claffey, Tassone, Toulmin) very strong at the 18 year-old group (Nelson, Bortis, Wiese, Mcavoy, Benke, Stieler, Smith, Yonkman) we have a great 1-2 goaltending punch and a veteran captain and good leader in Myles Rumsey. So why on paper, isn't it our year? It's simple.

The dreaded summer of 2002 and the WHL bantam draft.

The 2002 crop would be the teams' 19 year olds this season - the core of any junior hockey club looking to put it together for a long playoff run. Presently our 19 year-olds on our team are as follows:

Dane Crowley - stole him from Saskatoon in a trade deadline gaff by Saskatoon
Daniel Rakos - good solid import draft pick from two summers ago
R.J Larochelle - got him in a trade with Lethbridge (Redenbach trade)
Brady Leavold - listed player. Traded to Everett last season. Long story short - now back with Broncos

So as you can see from the above list we don't have any 2002 bantam picks on this years team. Here's why. That June day at the bantam draft in Calgary. Consider this as well, we had TWO 1st round picks that year, TWO. Let's review shall we.

1st round (14th overall) - "The Broncos are proud to select Ryan Sawka." Looked good on paper but what a bust! Sawka played 5 career games with the Broncos spread over two years and never picked up a point. He was later picked up by Everett for half a season collecting 1 goal in 40 plus games. Could I get an APB on Ryan Sawka please?? Maybe we need a "Where Are They Now" feature on this guy. This was only the start of it, it gets worse.

1st round (18th overall acquired from the Kootenay Ice in the Milroy/Boxma for Rome/Harvey/Jaffray and a 1st round bantam pick) - The Broncos proudly select from Alaska, Billy Smith. Till this day I don't even know if such a player exists. He never came to Broncos camp, never set foot on WHL soil. Actually, all kidding aside, Smith is playing for the University of Anchorage, Alaska after two very average seasons in the USHL in Green Bay with the Gamblers. A first round to forget!

2nd round (37th overall) - The Broncos select Clayton Bauer from Kelowna. Well apparently, Clayton felt the WHL started and ended with his hometown Rockets. You see, Clayton didn't want to play in Swift Current and from my understanding only wanted to play in Kelowna. The Broncos eventually granted him his wish. They traded him to the Rockets for a bantam pick.

3rd round (45th overall) - The Broncos select Marc Defoe. The big lumbering d-man never really grew into it and after almost two years of being the team's 7th or 8th defenseman they cut him loose to Trail of the BCJHL. The Calgary Hitmen brought him in for a look at the start of this season but re-assigned him back to Trail shortly after he arrived.

4th round - no pick.

5th round (94th overall) - The Broncos select Micheal Hengen (and his dad Tom). Micheal came in as a 16 year-old with a big offensive upside. It never really worked out though. Costly defensive errors was his undoing here. He was traded to Saskatoon in that Dane Crowley deadline deal steal. He was later picked up by Chilliwack and then traded to Calgary all in a span of a few months. It seems he has found a home in Calgary so far. As far as his Dad Tom goes, he is a very hands-on hockey dad. Some WHL teams don't really go for that.

6th round (102 overall) - Jerrid Sauer - Good pick! A hardworking good character kid that provided the Broncos with two plus years of good service. He was traded to Medicine Hat for Dale Wiese and Spencer Mcavoy in trade that fit both the needs of the Broncos and Tigers.

7th round (132nd overall) - Ted Gauthier? . It just never worked out for him. He is the step-brother of former Bronco Duncan Milroy. He never played a game as a Bronco.

8th round (151st overall) - Alex Laseen . . . hmm. Doesn't ring a bell. Actually the Redondo Beach, California native never panned out either. You could say Alex was "Laseen" playing hockey in the USHL in Indiana after two years in the hockey hotbed that is Des Moines, Iowa.

Well folks there you have it, the Class of 2002 in all it's glory. To be honest 2002 was not a good year for a lot of WHL teams. Take Calgary for example. Only 1st rounder Riley Merkley is on the team today. The other picks haven't landed anywhere.

The only team to make hay in the draft that year was the Medicine Hat Tigers. Consider this, they didn't have a pick higher than the 4th round that year! Take a look at this gold:

4th round - David Schlemko
4th round - Gord Baldwin
8th round - Kris Russell - a future WHL defenseman of the year!
9th round - Darren Helm - what a 9th round pick!

Of course hindsight is 20/20. Let's look at some of the players the Broncos passed on:

Codey Burki - 17th overall
Moises Guiterrez - 31st overall
Scott Jackson - 42nd overall
A.J. Thelen - 49th overall
Tyler Plante - 55th overall
David Schlemko - 62nd overall
Gord Baldwin - 68th overall
Steve Dasilva - 71st overall
Brandon Dubinsky - 88th overall
Brendan Mikkelson - 108th overall
Kevin Undershute - 131st overall
Kris Russell - 138th overall
Darren Helm -157th overall
Ryan Russell - 204th overall!
Kyle Deck - 225th overall

So 2006 on-paper might not be the best. But look-out, the future only gets brighter with the strength we have coming up the ranks in the younger age groups. Anyone who attended Broncos rookie camp can attest to that.

Broncos and Wheaties Wednesday night - It's a battle for 1st place in the division!!

Till then,

Deal or No Deal?

Ok, let's play a little game Bronco fans. You know that show "Deal or No Deal?" Well have I got a deal for you!

Let's pretend it's the eve of the season opener, the Broncos getting set to host the Regina Pats to begin the season. I gather all the Bronco fans together and propose this:

1/3 into the regular season and the Broncos will be 1 point out of the East division lead, sitting nicely in 2nd place . . . Deal or No Deal??


You would be crazy to pass this up right? Of course you would! Well here we are 1/3 into the season and the Broncos are a point out of the division lead but all I hear out there is negative, negative, negative. Sure we've had some rough nights, (I feel your pain believe me) but think of Regina. All that talent and just treading water at 9-9-1-1. How 'bout Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and Saskatoon? They've had more bad nights than the Broncos have had. A lot of people need to take a look at the big picture here. I know, I know there has been some inconsistent play but overall did anyone expect the Broncos to be division contenders this season? Personally, before the season started, I said the .500 mark would be an attainable goal for this team.

So here are a couple of hours following a dominant 3-0 win in Saskatoon and all is good in Broncoland . . . for now. Game highlights included Matt Tassone's 2nd goal of the season as he blasted a puck by Braden Holtby on a 2-on-1 break. Kyle Moir making a seemingly routine 25 saves for his 3rd shutout and three thunderous checks dished out by Dane Crowley on Dustin Cameron (wow), Dale Wiese on Brad Cole and R-J Larochelle on Adam Geric. The Broncos took it to the Blades all night in this department.

Tomorrow I will try to explain why this year could have been "the year" for the Broncos. I will give everyone a hint: The dreaded summer of 2002.

"They told me to do it"
That was Ryan Molle's answer after pulling off a "shoe-check" on the unknowing radio guy (me) at the post-game meal tonight. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a timeless team tradition after a win which involves a rookie sneaking under the table to pour some sort of a sauce on someone's shoes. After the culprit returns to his chair the team then clangs on their glasses with their fork to indicate a successful "shoe-check" has been pulled off. Everyone then looks under the table to check their shoes and see who got it. Ryan, Ryan, Ryan . . . let me say you get an "A" for effort but the overall execution needs some work. Some advice, first order a side of ranch dressing - that always works best. It's white which works well on a black dress shoe and is somewhat tough to clean up. Don't use red ketchup (tonight's choice) and miss the target with most of the payload. Nice try rookie, nice try! Hopefully there are a few more road wins down the pipe so the boys can perfect their craft.

Till tomorrow,

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Did I pass up the Vikngs/Packers Game for This?

Well, it hasn't been the best of weekend's in Broncoland but let's hope the boys can finish it off with a hard-fought win in Saskatoon.

After tonight's game it gets tough, Brandon here Wednesday then to Medicine Hat and Kootenay next weekend. The Broncos NEED this one today.

So . . . anyways about that Vikings/Packers game today. My best friend got married earlier this year and as a treat for the wedding party he was going to take us all to Minnesota (this weekend) for the Vikings / Green Bay Packers game. I was excited for 10 seconds, knowing that the game would be in the middle of the Broncos schedule. Sure enough, three games in three nights. Now I could take off . . . leave the station and the team empty handed and "take a weekend off" but this is hockey season and this is what I do.

You wouldn't see Dean Chynoweth or Dave Hunchak take off in the middle of the season to go to a football game with their buddies right? Right. So, I'm here doing the games despite back to back home losses. The summer is the time for doing that stuff.

So what I'm getting at is . . . please make this weekend worth it Broncos, please. Give me something to cheer about, I need a reason to get excited and I can't do it alone.

Riders at 3pm, Broncos at 7 . . . catch us live from Saskatoon on the Eagle 94.1 beginning at 6:30pm with the pre-game show, play-by-play at 7pm from the Credit Union Center.

I'll have a recap on tonight's game posted tomorrow morning, The other recap will be from my friends calling in some sort of a drunken recap of the Vikings/Packers game on my voicemail. Great, thanks guys, appreciate it.


Friday, November 10, 2006


No, I don't mean Hooray!, far from it.

Hoorah - the Everett Silvertips goal celebration as the team gathers on the bench for the U.S. Marine style cheer.

Hoorah for nothing.

Wow. The 'Tips made a believer out of me and probably most Bronco fans tonight as they showed what they're all about in a 6-0 win over the Broncos to kick-off the weekend.

What a powerplay - Peter Mueller is a world class player and showed why when qaurterbacking the powerplay with unmatched talent in this league. His night 1g 3a - all on the PP as the Tips scored four of their six markers on the man advantage. Their 5th goal of the game simply was a thing of beauty. After Daniel Rakos showed off his Atom hockey clearing attempt, Peter "The Great" as they call him in Everett, faked a shot from the point, dipped his shoulder and went one way , then came back with speed to the far circle before lazering a pass to the side of the goal to Zach Hamill who then went cross-crease to Ondrej Fiala, good night, game over, drive home safely.

The Broncos can beat themselves up all they want but let's face it, there's only one team in the WHL that can give Everett a consistent challenge - the mighty Giants in Vancouver. Why don't they start playing the Western Conference Final right now? They WILL be there anyways.

Leland Irving was tested somewhat in the Silvertips' goal. His best save came late in the third as he dove across the crease with the glove on his back side to swipe a puck from mid-air to rob Kyle Bortis of a sure goal.

Kyle Moir had an off-night. Mueller's goal on the PP knuckled by him. Dailey's shorthanded marker should have been stopped as well. There wasn't one "Great save Moir!" from our broadcast tonight.

Hey I'm a big Bronco fan and their "homer" broadcaster but Everett was a treat to watch tonight. I wish we could see them more but not for the sake of the Broncos.

The only negative I have to say about the 'Tips is what was Head Coach Kevin Constantine thinking tonight?? Honestly I've never seen that. He's up 6-cobb in the 3rd period and he's giving it to referee Nathan Wieler. Hey Kudos to Wheels for tossing him after first giving him a bench minor minutes earlier. I know Nathan "18" Wieler away from the game a little and he's good official - one of the best, great guy too. It takes a strong referee to toss Constantine but he did it. It was one a few reactions from our crowd tonight. Could anyone else hear the crickets??

The best part of my night came when Stampeder die-hard Darrell Moir (Kyle's dad) came to pay his debt in the post-game show for our little Riders/Stampeders bet for the West Semi-final. Thanks for the $5 bucks Darrell. You're a good sport.

Go Riders,


p.s. Broncos and Blades Saturday night on the Eagle 94.1 FM. Pre-game show begins at 7pm, play-by-play at 7:30pm

I'm Not A Coach, But Here's How You Beat the 'Tips

First of all, I've never coached hockey at ANY level. I've been around the game all my life and understand it somewhat. Sometimes on the late bus rides home I sneak a peak at Broncos Assistant Coach Dave Hunchak reviewing game video on his laptop, but I never understand what exactly is happening. Oh . . . I forgot to mention I'm also 5-0 in the annual Black/White Broncos Intersqaud game! Sorry everyone but it's my coaching "claim to fame".

All joking aside here's some must-do's to knock off the CHL's #2 ranked Everett Silvertips. There is a catch here . . . you have to do them all to win.

1) Don't allow Everett to control the game. They can outright take over a game and force you to change your plan if you let them to. They are well coached, they don't give up a lot and force you to do things you don't want to.
2) Stay out of the penalty box!! You will not beat the 'Tips in a special teams battle. Their PP is ranked 2nd in the WHL at 22.5 %. Also their penalty kill is #1 at an astounding 91.6% - that's ridiculous! Stay out of the box, don't allow special teams to play a major role.
3) Get pucks in deep! This is a must. Everett just waits for a mistake to pounce. If you don't get pucks in deep and pressure them they will run you over. If you're getting off for a line change, gain center-ice and pound the puck in and get off. You cannot afford to turn it over in neutral ice or on an odd-man rush.
4) Score greasy goals. It's a must. Leland Irving is a top three WHL goaltender. Get in front of him, go to the net to get rebounds, bang away and get dirty.
5) Dominate them physically. Finish every check. Take away their willingness to compete. The Vancouver Giants are great at this. That's why they've own the 'Tips the last couple seasons. Pound their back-end. Make them pay to go retrieve pucks in the corner. Some physical play may result in some turnovers.

Sound simple?? Hardly. If the Broncos go 5 for 5 in this department they will end the 'Tips 10 game winnig streak. A few big saves from Kyle Moir/Travis Yonkman will definetely help the cause.

I'll have a recap of the game later, till then . . .

Go Broncos Go,


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Keen, Constantine, and My Buddy Switzer

First off, kudos to Ryan Switzer who went down to the Cypress Hills College to conduct a "Life Lessons" class with the Broncos veteran players. Today's topic: interview school.

Ryan does a great job with this as he gives them some tips on how to conduct a better interview and hold a conversation with a reporter. The players seem to get a kick out of it including former Bronco Andrew Wasmuth who made sure to thank Ryan for his time and efforts last year. Just one hitch this year, Ryan was supposed to co-host the event with Carol Andrews of But, like all Bronco events, Carol and southwesttvnews were a no-show. Flat out stood up the event for one reason or another. Here's Switzer, a Program Director for two FM stations, on-location at Fine Furniture Oasis today, got up this morning at 4am to do his morning show on Magic 97FM, always joins me for Bronco commentary game-nights and has two kids at home . . . . and Carol is the one jamming?? Atta support the local sports scene southwesttvnews . . . CLICK.

Alright, enough of that. Let's focus on Friday night's game, the Swift Current Broncos hosting the Everett Silvertips at the Civic Center which leads me to the topic of Kevin Constantine.

I'm going to take you through the first conversation I ever had with him and it's one that may, or may not surprise you.

It was the Silvertips first season in the WHL, they were laden with former Broncos including Mitch Love, Jeff Harvey, Torrie Wheat, and John Dahl. A lot was made about this game coming in. The Broncos had some real characters that season that weren't afraid to verbally stir it up - namely Aaron Rome and Jeremy Williams.

The Silvertips walked into our barn that night almost like robots. Stone faced, their actions almost matching their teammate in front as they marched single-file to their dressing room. Mitch Love looked at me as if he didn't know me, so did Jeff Harvey who was usually one of the more sociable, outspoken guys the Broncos have had in years.

I knew something was up. The 'Tips had either just got a stern reminder from Constantine that they had a game to play and there was to be no friendly chit-chat or it was something more, I wasn't sure. I needed to interview Constantine and a couple of the guys to fill up my pre-game show, so I approached the former NHL head coach in San Jose, Pittsburgh and New Jersey. Here's how the conversation went:

Jon: "Hi Kevin, I'm looking to grab a few of your guys here for a couple minutes, when is a good time?"

Kevin: "No one is talking to no one tonight! These guys aren't going to talk to any Swift Current media until after the game. They have a game to play and focus on, forget it."

Jon: "Well I've planned my whole pre-game show around this Kevin"

Kevin: "Too bad, you can talk to me, that's it."

Jon: "Sorry, but you have to make your players available to talk up to 90 minutes before a game - it's league rules, a WHL media guideline and if you don't make it happen, I'm going to the league."

Kevin: "I don't give a f@!k! You do whatever you want!"

Well I left to get the Broncos interviews done, when I returned 15 minutes later his mood was much better. He gave me full access to anyone and even gave me a four minute chit-chat for the pre-game show. He was very pleasant and has been excellent ever since, he's actually a very personable guy.

Not sure what his initial intentions were. Did he think he was going to walk into a mass of Swift Current media at the doors "lights! camera! action!". Did he think his players would be mauled by reporters in Speedy Creek?? Yes Brian Dueck from the Booster, myself and Carol Andrews with her camera in the media scrum! Haha, at least Constantine won't have to worry about her being there.

Go Broncos Go,

Fines, Fights and Apologies

The Western Hockey League has turned into your favorite soap opera lately, or the WWE take your pick.

This statement came from the league Wednesday:

CALGARY, AB - The Western Hockey League announced today that a complete review of the game between the Kootenay Ice and Regina Pats on Friday, November 3, 2006 in Regina has been completed.The WHL Office has determined that the performance of the referee was below the expected standard of officiating in the League. As a result, the League will be disciplining the referee in an appropriate manner.As well, the WHL Office has determined that the actions of Regina Pats management following the game was not acceptable. As a result, the Regina Pats Hockey Club has been fined $1,500.00.

So how do you feel if your referee Adam Byblow?? This was in regards to Friday's game in Regina in which 27 powerplays were awarded including 7 in a row to Kootenay in the third and overtime as the Ice came back win 4-3.

After the Ice scored the OT winner (with 3 seconds left in overtime) Pats Head Coach Curtis Hunt and Head Trainer Greg Mayer were both issued game misconducts for their actions. Pats' General Manager Brent Parker and Owner/Governor Russ Parker confronted referee Byblow in the referee's room following the game.

Here's an idea. How 'bout take all the fine $$$ from WHL referee incidents and put it into an officials development fund? Parker could fund the entire program on his own most seasons!

Former Bronco assistant coach and tough guy Andy Milne was up to his old antics . . . sort off. Milne, who is now an assistant coach in Kamloops with the Blazers was involved in a 9-2 lopsided tilt over the visiting Red Deer Rebels last night. You can bet with the score out of reach that Rebels Head Coach and G.M. Brent Sutter wouldn't just ride calmly into the sunset.

After a fight-filled third period and the Blazers' 8th goal of the game, another fight would ensue, this of the verbal variety between Milne and Sutter. Lots of finger pointing and yelling not much else though. Those that have access to the WHL Webcast archives can check it out. It's about 2:17 into the webcast.

Later today I'll post a game preview between the Broncos and 'Tips who face-off tomorrow night at 7:30pm from the Civic Center and I'll share my first run in I had with Silvertips Head Coach Kevin Constantine from three years ago -he was at his big- leaguing best that night! It's off to do the morning show . . . later all,


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"If I knew, I would tell you"

That's the response I got from newly appointed Prince George Cougars Associate Head Coach Drew Schoneck when we talked earlier today.

Just what exactly is an Associate Head Coach anyways? It seems to be a title you give someone when you aren't quite sure he's your man for the job or not; not exactly a vote of confidence.

"Right now I'm operating as the head coach and will do so until they bring another guy in they feel could be the head coach. But certainly that is the question around PG, is what exactly is an Associate Head Coach, and right now Dallas Thompson is the Head Coach and General Manager and I was brought in to spell some of those coaching duties from him to allow Dallas to concentrate on the G.M. side of things, so right now I'm operating as basically the head coach I guess." So, is this the same as a on the job try-out?. I guess only time will tell.

Last night's Broncos win over the Kootenay Ice was more than just a win, it was the first time all season the Broncos defeated a legitimate contender. Previously their wins had come against Lethbridge (2), Prince Albert (2), Moose Jaw, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Prince George and Saskatoon.

Friday will be another measuring stick, the Everett Silvertips will make a visit. They are loaded with offensive talent led by NHL 1st rounder Peter Mueller.

See you at the rink,


Broncos Beat the Ice . . . Finally!

As a four-year Broncos broadcaster I've never said that before and it kinda feels good! Yes the Broncos ended their 11 game regular season drought after a 3-2 overtime victory last night at the Civic Center. If you were there, good on you, you were the few, the proud.

A sparse Tuesday night crowd of 1724 watched an entertaining end after the Broncos tied it up on a pretty powerplay goal from Dainel Rakos with 5:08 to play in the game. Overtime was end-to-end until David Stieler stripped the Ice defender off the puck behind Kootenay's net. He then centered for Bortis who sniped the winner on goaltender Kris Lazaruk.

The win pushes the Broncos to just a point behind the Brandon Wheat Kings in the east division, also known as the "yogurt" division (don't ask, Switzer and I came up with that one)

Man, I hope defenseman R.J Larochelle and Myles Rumsey will be ok. They both left the ice under a lot of pain after blocking shots from the point as some of Kootenay's big boppers let fly including WHL leading scorer Ben Maxwell. R.J.'s blocked shot in overtime sent him down to the ice like a ton of bricks. He laid helpless on the ice, unable to be part of the PK and unable to get the bench. It led to a frantic 4-on-2 scenario for 20 plus seconds before the play was blown down by referee Graham Skilliter.

How big was this win for Broncos Head Coach and G.M. Dean Chynoweth? Well judging by his reaction after the OT winner, BIG. Usually composed on the bench, he couldn't help but let go just a little. Good to see!

Anyways, I type this after just finishing up the 6am sportsrun here at the radio station. A late OT hockey game and an early 4:30 am wake-up call doesn't mix very well, but a Broncos win sure makes it easy to keep the energy level up.

Broncos host the red-hot Everett Silvertips Friday night, the Tips won their 9th in a row last night with a 3-1 win over Moose Jaw.

On another note, Medicine Hat Tigers super-pest Derek Dorsett has been given a one-game suspension for his check from behind on Dale Wiese Saturday night in the Hat. I remember Dorsett when he billetted at a friends place when he played for the "AAA" Legionnaires in town. What an effective player he can be when he plays within the rules . . . his game Saturday night lasted 7 seconds before he was tossed out at 19:28 of the first period.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Broncos trim roster, host the Ice tonight

The Broncos have re-assigned 17 year-old forward Kyle Ireland following practice Thursday afternoon. Tough to keep the kid around when he's only appeared in five games this season. He saw limited action collecting one assist - oddly enough on his first ever WHL shift.

Good Rosetown kid, hope to see him back at some point this season but has to work on some obvious things, skating being number one. He has some skill . . . anyone who's been down to practice would see his shifty moves in the breakaway contest. He also sat directly behind me on the Broncos bus and was always entertaining to talk to. Good luck Isey.

Broncos host the Ice tonight . . . will they ever beat them? They've lost 11 straight games against them dating all the way back to November 2002, yikes!. We may catch them tired, this will be their 4th game in 5 nights in the midst of their East division swing. They will be without one of the league's best players in Ryan Russell who has a hand injury.

Look for a recap following the action . . . . later,

And so it begins . . . .

What's up Swift Current and the rest of the local sporting world? This will be your #1 source for local sports news including Broncos, Indians, Legionnaires, Riders, and pretty much anything goes!

Keep up-to-date with behind the scenes Bronco news throughout the rest of the season. I'm looking forward to your feedback and comments as we get into it.

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