Just the mere sight of the Tigers' logo is enough to get the emotions running high. Although no longer division rivals, the Broncos and Tigers have recent history which involves several current members of both teams.
You have to give credit to the Tigers organization. They have put together another great season to date and have to be considered the front-runner in the Eastern Conference. They've won 20 of their last 21 games and are ranked #2 in the nation in the Canadian Hockey League weekly rankings. From goaltending, out to the rock-solid offensive-minded blueline to the gritty, hard-working, talented forwards the Tigers might be the most complete team in the WHL.
Although the Broncos won the last meeting 5-2 just after the Christmas break, the Tigers were without World Junior members Darren Helm and Kris Russell. They had injuries to David Schlemko, Jerrid Sauer, and Daine Todd. Plus, Matt Keetley was going through a bit of a rough time in goal. It's game five of the six game season series. The Tigers return to Swift Current March 9th.
Medicine Hat has probably produced the most NHL'ers in the last five years. Just off the top of my head we have Jay Bouwmeester, Joffrey Lupul, Clarke McArthur, Darren Reid, Steve Regier, Ryan Hollweg, Derek Boogard and Cam Barker. That's amazing. Look for Kris Russell to eventually play with the Columbus Blue Jackets if not next season. Will Desjardins should be commended for the work he's done since arriving in the 'Hat as Coach and General Manager. How 'bout the scouting of former Director of Player Personnel Bob Green over the last five seasons too? He made the jump to the expansion Edmonton Oil Kings over the summer to serve as their General Manager.
Broncos and Tigers are on the Eagle 94.1 FM beginning at 8pm with the "Big Show" at 8pm, play-by-play at 8:30. After the game the Broncos travel to Cranbrook to meet the Ice tomorrow night.
BLOG UPDATE: Here's a quick addition to the post today. I just chatted with former WHL goaltender Jeff Calvert who is currently the CHL record holder for most career games played as a goaltender with 229 appearances. Broncos goaltender Kyle Moir is approaching the record as he sits at 227 games. The Calvert interview will play tonight before the Tigers/Broncos game.
Remember Donny Lloyd? (pictured left). The former Broncos defenseman for the past two seasons was just named the Alberta Junior Hockey League defenseman of the year. Lloyd is playing his final season of junior hockey in Grande Prairie. The Storm is one of the top teams in all of Canadian Junior "A" hockey. They begin the playoffs tomorrow night. Lloyd will be our guest on the "Big Show" tomorrow night in Kootenay. He's juggling work and hockey quite well up in northern Alberta. He has an apprenticeship with Haliburton Energy and works Monday to Friday unless the hockey team is on the road. Donny had over 60 points this season.
Big night of scoreboard watching around the 'dub. Prince Albert travels to Regina, Moose Jaw hosts Tri-City and Saskatoon takes on Brandon. The Warriors aren't giving up their playoff hopes just yet. I saw interim head coach Rene Lemaire say they need to win three of their next four games to put themselves into position.
Finally Broncos Geordie Wudrick (Team BC) and Phil Gervais (Team AB) meet for the bronze medal today at the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse. Both players are having great tournaments. Wudrick has collected three goals and five assists and is wearing an "A" for team BC. Gervais has picked up a two assists while basically playing a checking/penalty killing roll for Alberta. Wudrick is set to re-join the Broncos Saturday night Kootenay. Gervais should be back next week.
Enjoy the weekend,
I'll try to keep everyone updated from the road this weekend . . .