Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Season Starts Tonight!

Indians baseball is back tonight.

The Tribe host the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets to get the season going. Lots of new faces with this year's team and as always, it will take awhile to adjust and get to know everybody.

They'll send Missouri native Bryson Clark to the mound - he's been named the opening day starter.
For fans heading to the ballpark they'll notice new bleachers. The team hopes to add to the comfort of the fans this season.

I personally love this time of year, it's just a chance to sit back and be a fan for once. Chew some spits, sit in the bleachers and hang-out. By the way, the game is on the Eagle 94.1 FM. The pre-game show begins at 6:45, play-by-play with Ryan Switzer at 7:05pm.

You might want to dress warm. There's a chance of showers and the overnight low will be 11C. Chilly!


The Ducks did it again last night. They received even more mileage from that 3rd line assigned to check Ottawa's big three. Sammy Pahlsson scored the game's only goal with six minutes to play in the third period. Pahlsson centers the line of Travis Moen and Rob Neidermeyer.
Afterwards, Ducks Head Coach Randy Carlyle gave the trio some props.

"It's nice to see that these three players are getting rewarded for all their hard work. The one thing about those guys is they play the tough minutes and the spotlight has not been directed towards them and right now they're earning that"

Stewart Valley's Travis Moen had another strong game. He logged about 16 minutes of ice, was a +1 and had a key shot block in the dying seconds of the game to preserve the win.
What a great year for him to be in a free-agent season. Moen's annual salary of $475,00o should more than double with his next contract. I would think his play this season as a valuable shut-down guy who can fight and score the big goal when needed could command in upwards of $900,000 to $1.2 million per year. I talked to a local former NHL'er the other day. He said Moen should be offered at least that dollar figure in the off-season.

Word is most of Moen's hometown will be at the Stewart Valley School watching the rest of the series on a big screen television. I've heard they plan on raffling off the T.V. after the series as a local fundraising project. I plan to find out a little more on this project in the coming days.
See you at the ballpark tonight,

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More on Constantine...

Still nothing from the 'Tips on Contantine heading to the AHL. Something isn't right here. Sounds like it came as a surprise in Tipsville.

From the Everett Herald:

Tips' coach to leave EverettConstantine to lead Houston's AHL team
Nick Patterson / The Everett HeraldEverett,

WA - It's the end of an era.

The only coach the Everett Silvertips have ever known is moving on.

Kevin Constantine, who's been behind the Silvertips bench since day one of the franchise's history, has accepted the position of head coach of the Houston Aeros, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Minnesota Wild.

And in doing so, he leaves behind the team he helped build in to a force, both in the WHL and in the local community.

"I really felt there was a strong chance Everett was going to be my last stop on the coaching tour," the 48-year-old Constantine said via cell phone from Iowa, where he stopped while driving back to Everett from Florida. "But it's not like opportunities like this come along all the time. I just felt that if I was going to make one more round coaching in the professional ranks, all the factors made this job worth looking at."

Constantine signed his contract Tuesday morning. The move could potentially lead to a return to the NHL, where he spent parts of seven seasons as a head coach between 1993 and 2001.

The Silvertips had yet to release a statement regarding Constantine's departure or his replacement, and general manager Doug Soetaert could not be reached for comment.

Constantine arrived in Everett in 2003 to take over an expansion team in a market many questioned would ever work as a hockey town.

He departs four years later having helped turn the Silvertips into one of the top franchises in the league. Under his tutelage, Everett compiled a 162-109 record with 17 ties in four seasons, winning three U.S. Division titles and one Western Conference crown.

In Everett's inaugural season he led the Tips to an improbable run to division and conference titles as an expansion team, earning the league's Coach of the Year award for his efforts. Several of the players from that team, who were deemed unworthy of protection in the expansion draft, have since gone on to earn professional contracts.

In the process the Tips also became a sensation in Everett, building one of the loudest and most supportive fan bases in the WHL.

"It was just spectacular," Constantine said about his time in Everett. "It'd be flat out inaccurate to say this wasn't the most fun and rewarding four years of my coaching career. It's what made the decision so incredibly difficult. These were years where we accomplished a lot as a team, and it was fun watching the players develop.

"And I could never have predicted the enthusiasm with which the town took to the team and the team took to the town."

Constantine also had his share of controversy during his tenure in Everett. His fiery personality behind the bench led to confrontations with referees, and he regularly appeared on the league's fine list. During this preseason he was slapped with the largest fine in league history ($5,000 Canadian) for having his players ride the bus home from Kennewick while wearing their game gear.

Still, Constantine's success on the ice in Everett was attractive to Minnesota.

"A development team requires a leader who will teach the players the game, while at the same time instilling the discipline, accountability and hard work required to play in the NHL for this organization," Wild assistant general manager Tom Lynn, who also serves as Aeros general manager, said in a press release. "Kevin has a demonstrated record of all of these elements. In addition, he has had success coaching at all levels of hockey, and in particular, in developing younger players."

Constantine, who wasn't actively pursuing an NHL job, was first contacted by Minnesota two weeks ago. He was approached with a similar offer a year earlier by a different NHL team, but didn't take it. However, this time a combination of factors, including being a Minnesota native, being closer to two of his children who live in Minnesota, and knowing members of the Wild front office, were too hard to resist.

"A year ago at the NHL draft I was approached by a team to run their minor-league team," Constantine said. "I didn't follow through and kind of let it slide. Then I was approached by a (Minnesota) a couple weeks ago. If it had been a different organization or if I didn't know people in the organization, I think it would have stopped it."

The move could eventually lead Constantine back to the NHL. Constantine spent time as the head coach of the NHL's San Jose Sharks (1993-96), Pittsburgh Penguins (1997-2000) and New Jersey Devils (2001-02) before arriving in Everett. During those years he helped San Jose set the NHL record with a 58-point improvement in 1993-94, and also guided two No. 8 seeds (San Jose in 1994, Pittsburgh in 1999) to upsets over No. 1 seeds in the playoffs.

Constantine said he had yet to consider whether to ask associate head coach John Becanic and assistant coach Jay Varady, who followed him to Everett from the United States Hockey League's Pittsburgh Forge, to join him in Houston. Becanic is also likely to be a candidate for the head coaching position with the Tips.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It Starts Here..."Travis Moen For Conn Smythe" ***Update Kevin Constantine To Coach in AHL***


Kevin Constantine is the new head coach of the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. He's resigned as coach of the Everett Silvertips after four years. Here's a link:

And so it begins....

Ok, this has now become the official blog site of "Travis Moen for Conn Smythe"

We started talking about this today in the newsroom, I think he has just as good as shot as anybody if the Ducks win the cup.

Last night's game-winner with 2:51 to play was maybe his 2nd biggest goal of the post-season. His overtime winner in game four vs Vancouver would still hold up as his biggest to this point. That goal gave Anaheim the 3-1 series advantage heading home for game five.

Right now, the front-runner for the playoff MVP award would have to be Ducks goaltender J.S. Giguere... after that, why not Travis Moen?

He's picked up 10 playoff points (5g,5a). scoring some big goals while playing the shutdown role with the other team's top lines. I think he has to at least garner some consideration. Now, if Ottawa wins, either Daniel Alfredsson or Ray Emery will be taking home the award.

My question is, why not Travis Moen? Jiggy already has a Conn Smythe after losing to Jersey in the Stanley Cup final a few years back.

What do you think, who's with me?

Congratulations to Kyle Moir who was awarded the CHL's Humanitarian Player of the Year award over the weekend in Vancouver. Judging by his "facebook profile pic" he ran into Mr. Hockey himself Gordie Howe in Van City.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Giants Win; Memorial Cup Plays Out as Predicted

I must say the final for the Memorial Cup was a pretty exciting game between the Giants and Tigers. There's no doubt these are the two best teams in Major Junior hockey. Congratulations to the Giants on the victory.
They were the favorites going in and didn't disappoint. Many people thought the loser in the WHL final would go on to win the Memorial Cup - that's exactly what happened.

A couple things I noticed in the game was the loud crowd creating momentum for the Giants throughout the game. It was well officiated too. My experiences lead me to believe that Kyle Rehman is the best official in the WHL. One other thing... the Giants on-ice entourage would make rapper 50 Cent jealous. How many people did they stuff into that team photo on the ice? I swear I saw the popcorn vendors and the ushers sneaking into the shot.

So junior hockey is over for another year and I can't wait for another season to begin. The seven weeks away is long enough for me. I'm already anticipating training camp for the 07/08 season.
Reading Rod Pedersens blog today got me thinking about the upcoming Riders football season. I almost know I'll take some criticism for saying this, but I'm not a huge Riders fan. I used to be, and maybe should be considering I'm the sports guy for a group of radio stations. Now, I just find myself feeling indifferent. I know I'm in the minority here but this team has made it hard to like them over the years.

As a fan, they've torn out your heart time and time again. At what point is it enough? They've just let me down so many times it's tough to really be a die-hard. They're off-field problems have soured me a little too.

When I was young, I loved the Riders. I would maybe get to two games a year growing up in Lanigan. Whenever CBC had a Riders game on it was a huge treat - the highlight of the week. I also loved listening to the call of the game from Jeff Courier and Karm Carteri. I remember meeting Richie Hall when I was in grade four thinking "wow, Richie Hall!" In fact, our grade four teacher was actually the man behind the "Gainer the Gopher" suit. How cool is that when at nine years old, your teacher is Gainer?!

I used to call into the post-game show before I was in radio to share my thoughts. It was always a lot tougher to get through after a loss rather than a win, go figure? So is the Riders fan base.

I do sometimes wish I was still a big fan, but it's just not the case. I'm never the one to organize a big Riders road trip to Taylor Field but will go if there are some tickets and others are going. The atmosphere is 2nd to none in this province. It doesn't get much better than a warm Saskatchewan night in the Taylor Field stands, surrounded by friends with a few beer tokens jingling in your pocket. Or the classic Labour day afternoon game against the Bombers.

But now, win or lose, it doesn't much matter.

Of all the bloggers out there no one is more committed to it than Rod. I know he'll have something new everyday, and not just that, something interesting. The Rider coverage really is amazing. Rod's been called a lot of names but lazy is not one of them. He does a great job with his site.

An update to the Civic Center naming rights story. The city and the Broncos are seeking a long-term deal with whoever gets the bid. They're thinking a 10 year deal to get it properly branded. I'm told interest is HIGH. This will not a be a Broncos source of revenue though. The sponsorship dollars go to the city and in turn they will but the money back into the Civic Center with upgrades demanded by the WHL presently and into the future. Good deal. Looks like a Civic Center video screen/scoreclock could be in the works in the coming years among other things. We'll see what business or company steps up for that major ticket.

I'm excited about another season of Swift Current Indians baseball. The Eagle 94.1 FM will carry a 12 game on-air schedule and then the playoffs. Join the three-man team of Ryan Switzer, Trent Zoolander and Chris Martens all season long for all the action. I'll post some broadcast times as we get closer. The season begins Thursday night vs Saskatoon. Go Tribe.

Got out on the golf course twice this weekend. While standing over my ball on the 15th tee Saturday I came to this realization "I might be the worst golfer in this city for the amount I play". My foursome of Terry Pavely, Jerrod Schafer and Dr. Veason didn't argue with me, haha. Thanks.

I did have my best shot of my life Friday afternoon though. A 150 yard 7 iron for eagle on the par five 15th at the 'Wood. I knew it was close, but when we approached the green it was nowhere to be found. I checked the bunker, the back of the green, I even sifted through some trees 20 yards past the flag, nothing. Jokingly, I told Dave Hunchak to check the hole.... with a straight face he pulled the pin up and out popped the ball. I was laughing so hard that I almost missed my tee shot on 16. It ended up 20 yards to the right....back to my golfing reality. That's why you keep coming back.

Have a good week...


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lots to Talk About

First up, thanks to Travis Moen for being a guest with the "Breakfast Boys" on the Eagle 94.1 FM morning show today. He's always accommodating when it comes to this stuff. Considering he's the eve of the biggest series of his life, it was nice that he made time for us today.

To sum up the chat, he's pretty calm about where they're at and what the Ducks have accomplished to date. He's preparing for what's going to be a "long,long series with Ottawa" in his words.
Moen and his linemates Sammy Pahlsson and Rob Niedermeyer will have the daunting task of shutting down Ottawa's big line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson. Could it get much tougher for a checking line? Ottawa's dynamic trio has combined for 58 points so far. Trapper had a quiet confidence about him. It's amazing how grounded and at peace he is considering the circumstances.

We were joking that he was 26th in playoff scoring with his four goals and five assists, pretty good numbers for a defensive minded forward. We also asked him about that late penalty he took against Detroit in game six in the last three minutes which gave the Wings a chance to tie it on the pp. It's funny, before we went on air he shared his true thoughts on that call. But, as the question was asked on-air he was like "yeah, I have to know better, I can't get my stick up near the arm. A wiley veteran like Chris Chelios knows what to do in that situation." C'mon Trapper... give me something to work with here!

He says his cell phone is getting quite the workout from family and friends who are fully behind him. He fielded over 15 calls Tuesday night following the Ducks 4-3 win over Detroit to claim the Western Conference. Good luck to Travis and GO DUCKS.


Former Swift Current Bronco defenseman Keith McCambridge was named the new head coach of the Alaska Aces of the ECHL this afternoon. He's been the Assistant Coach the last three seasons and was given the head coaching reigns today. McCambridge played four seasons with the Broncos from 1991-95. He was part of the 92-93 dream team. By all accounts, he could do it all. Former Bronco Kimbi Danies plays with the Aces.


I talked with former Bronco Assistant Coach Rob Daum today in Houston. Daum is out of work after parting ways with the Houston Aeros of the AHL. Expect Daum to be back in the WHL sooner rather than later.
I was getting some comments from him regarding Todd Holt's induction into the Broncos Hall of Fame next month. Afterwards, the reporter instinct in me kicked in and I couldn't help but ask him about some potential WHL destinations for the longtime coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
You have to think he's a front runner with the expansion Edmonton Oil Kings considering his familiarity to that market. What about Prince Albert? Moose Jaw? I think you can pretty much bank on his return to the WHL coaching ranks.

So the city of Swift Current and the Broncos are now accepting offers for the naming rights to the Civic Center. It's about time! This is an easy revenue stream that's been talked about for years now. The wheels are finally in motion for some sponsorship dollars. Who do you think will step to the plate? How much is it worth to the city, the Broncos, or a potential sponsor? I'd say it would at least demand a three-year naming rights contract in upwards of $50,000/over 3 seasons. Maybe I'm way off, but I think they could get at least that. Time will tell.

I cracked open both local papers today to see what they're talking about. It's funny, and I'm as guilty as the rest of them. Why do reporters choose to focus on what they're interested in? One paper is full of golf tidbits, the other has soccer, soccer, soccer. If you tune into the three local radio stations you're more than likely to hear something about the Broncos in the sportscasts, even though it's almost June. I guess we stick with what we're most comfortable with. (BTW, George, call me. We'll golf sometime next week together)

We used to have a reporter who was the artsy type at the station. You give him an afternoon newsrun and he would quickly spin it into the local Arts and Entertainment report in mere seconds.

As mentioned I'm as guilty as the next when it comes to local hockey coverage. But in my experience, it's hockey that makes the world go round in these parts. Always has, always will.

It was a nice day for track and field. I checked out about an hour's worth of action at the SWAC District meet at the Comp. Hopefully we'll have radio results once they are compiled.

Finally, I ran into Big Ern last night. Check that, he almost ran into me, literally! Hey Ern watch where you're going! We stopped and chatted for a bit. He always makes me laugh. He was telling me a couple of funny stories which happened to him this last week. Hilarious stuff. Thanks Ern.

Oh and Happy 21st birthday Kyle Moir.........
Have a good one,


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Championship Trophy Renamed to Honour Chynoweth

Here's something I found today from the Vancouver Province newspaper...

I've had the chance to meet Ed Chynoweth a handful of times and I'm always a little in awe. He just has this presence that consumes the room. I was pleased to know he's a regular listener of our Bronco broadcasts through the internet to check up on how Dean's team is doing. You can find him in Cranbrook just right of the broadcast booth in his suite surrounded by family and friends.

Here's the story from Ben Kuzma:

Honour and concern for Chynoweth
WHL's legendary former boss is feted as he battles with kidney cancer
Ben Kuzma, The ProvincePublished: Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ed Chynoweth was hard pressed to find a more meaningful moment in his 36-year association with the WHL.

In a weekend gathering of his major junior hockey peers at the Vancouver Aquarium, Chynoweth was shocked to learn the WHL championship trophy has been re-named in his honour. Previously known as the President's Cup, it's now the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

"I was totally taken by surprise and it certainly was a pleasant one," said the 65-year-old Dodsland, Sask., native, who served as WHL president for 23 years and is majority owner of the Kootenay Ice.
"Usually, I'd like to think that I know what's going on in our league."

What's going on in Chynoweth's personal battle after being diagnosed with kidney cancer in December isn't something the league's former board chairman -- and former Canadian Hockey League president for 20 years -- chooses to publicize. That's not his style.

The charismatic champion of many junior causes would rather talk pucks than pills. He's proud of implementing the WHL's guaranteed education fund, convincing teams in the early 1980s to release players to the world junior tournament and helping amalgamate the country's three league's into the CHL.

However, the outpouring of support for Chynoweth is one of many good-news stories at the Memorial Cup. He can't take many steps at the Pacific Coliseum without friends -- and even former foes -- cornering him to offer well wishes.

"The support has been unbelievable and the hockey community is a family," said Chynoweth. "I got the jolt and it certainly gives you a different outlook on how fragile life can be. At this point, it's not life threatening, as far as I know, and we're treating it."
Chemotherapy isn't the normal approach with kidney cancer. It's either treat it with pills or remove it. There are two new pills on the market and Chynoweth takes one a day for a 28-day cycle and then goes off the medication for 14 days. He then has a CAT-scan.

"The pill cuts off the blood and shrinks the cancer," said Chynoweth, who has completed two cycles and is scheduled for two more before a decision will be made about kidney removal. "The area they [doctors] are concerned about is when I was diagnosed, it had started to spread to my spine."
The danger there is the cancer metastasizing to the bone.

As for the WHL, Chynoweth sees a danger in increased costs, depleting a player pool with expansion Edmonton starting play this fall to push the league to 22 franchises. And he's most passionate about creating a form of revenue sharing so the guaranteed education fund -- a year of tuition, fees and books for each year of WHL service -- can continue to be a league staple. When the Estevan Bruins relocated to New Westminster in 1971, they had one player taking a correspondence course.

What started out as a $1,000 commitment per player has risen to $5,300 and smaller franchises are finding it harder to honour the plan. Chynoweth favours a form of revenue sharing where, once team operating costs are covered, funds are put in a pool for education.

"This fund is one of the best things we've done and I tried to sell this to the owners on five different occasions and got turned down," recalled Chynoweth.
"Costs keep going up and up. I proposed this revenue sharing for the last year and a half. There's been such a change in our league and we mirror the NHL in so many ways.
"One thing they have in the NHL is revenue sharing and it's back on our agenda for the annual meeting."

As much as Chynoweth lauds the success of the Memorial Cup in Vancouver -- it has already established record tournament attendance -- he worries about smaller centres and the creation of a two-tiered league.

"We see big buildings and dollar signs and everybody gets excited," he said. "But we've got to remember what makes this league tick. We can't lose sight of our roots in regard to our mid-size franchises.
"Kamloops, Kelowna, Red Deer, Saskatoon and Regina have been a key part of our league."

For now, Chynoweth should put those concerns on the back burner. This is his time to reflect, get healthy and celebrate his trophy with family and friends.

"I like to think I eat, sleep and drink junior hockey," he said. "I've made mistakes as other people have, but the only other highlight comparable to this would be in 1988 when I got a chance to present the Memorial Cup to my son, Dean, who was captain of the Medicine Hat Tigers."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Back to Blogging

Jeez, it doesn't take all that long to fall off the blogging bandwagon. Because I don't want to add Keen's Korner to the list of the millions of abandoned blogs out there, here goes.

- I won't bore you with the details of my long weekend. I did get out on the golf course a couple times and that was pretty much the highlight. Just east of Avonlea there is a beautiful of challenging course that I would recommend. Long Creek Golf and Country Club boasts maybe one of the tightest and most challenging back 9's in the province. The front nine is child's play, the back will make you sweat. Words of advice - leave your driver in your car. Then again, I should follow that advice everytime I play.

- The rest of the weekend was spent at my friend Kevin's place in Regina. Along with his wife Michelle, the two have five month old twin boys. What a huge responsibility that is! Uncle Jon was a bit overwhelmed at times.

- All is seemingly quiet on the Broncos front. Kyle Moir has officially hooked up with the Laredo Bucks of the Central Hockey League. It's a just a small taste of pro hockey for Moir who joins the Bucks in the midst of the league championship series against the Colorado Eagles. At last check the Eagles held a 3-2 series advantage with game six set for later this week.

The Edmonton Oil Kings expansion draft is set for the first week in June. That will be the next major team news. The Broncos will lose someone. The player headed to Edmonton will no doubt hurt the depth of this hockey team. It's my belief that the Broncos depth is their biggest asset. They should have four solid lines next season and six to seven quality "d". They won't have a line that will strike loads of fear into their opposition, but they should have four strong lines the coaching staff can turn to at anytime.

- The radio station / Kidsport charity slo-pitch game is tomorrow under the lights at Mitchell Field. I'm not sure who I'll play for just yet as I'm involved with both. Should be a fun night. I know a lot of folks at the station are eagerly anticipating the annual match-up. Should be a fun night, let's hope the rain stays away. 8:15pm first pitch. Don't worry Dr. Ibrahim, your backyard should be safe from any towering blasts over the right field fence.

- The Memorial Cup is playing out as predicted. Vancouver, with something to prove has played well in their first two games. The Giants go in with a chip on their shoulder after losing in the league final to Medicine Hat. The 'Hat looked less than stellar in their loss to Lewiston. We'll see if they make good tonight when they take on Plymouth. No doubt, this would be the icing on the cake for the Tigers.

Like Switzer, I am too sick of hearing how "the WHL Championship didn't matter because both Vancouver and Medicine Hat knew they were going to the Memorial Cup". Big Deal! Since when do you throw away a grinding 72 game season complete with two months of grueling playoffs just so you can play four almost exhibition-like games over 9 days? I've heard several sports commentators on Sportsnet and Shaw make those comments and they just baffle me. Every team should be proud of getting to the Memorial Cup. It is a major accomplishment. Call me crazy but I'd rather win a WHL title then a year-end tournament which includes a one-game winner take all format. If you fail to win the Memorial Cup and write the season off as a failure then you've got me.

- In closing, here's something I stumbled upon this weekend - it was out at Long Creek. I know one of the readers will appreciate it...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Warning: Hard Hat Area

(myself and fellow newsies Jessica Williams and
Darwin Gooding don the hard hats for the tour)

Local media was given a tour of the on-going Civic Center expansion and renovation project Tuesday.

Graham Construction led the tour through what will be the new curling rink, Canadian room, and renovated Civic Center.

They say the job is about half done. The focus will be on the hockey side of things to get the building ready for the start of the season.

I would post pictures but I don't think they'd be all that interesting yet.

It's kind of like looking at a skeleton. Structurally almost everything is in place with the cinder block and concrete. It's still tough to picture the finished product - none of that work is even really close to starting. They plan to really get going on that aspect in the coming weeks.

There will be about 80 on-site workers over the summer months.

Just one more workday for me until an extended long weekend.... should be good.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tigers WHL Champs!

What a game, what a finish in a foggy Medicine Hat Arena. Brennan Bosch scored the winner, early into the 2nd overtime period to give the Tigers the 3-2 win and the game seven victory.

It was a game that looked in jeopardy of being suspended after fog settled in during the 1st overtime. The warmth of the building and the summer-like weather in the 'Hat contributed to a thick layer of fog rising off the ice surface. Every four to five minutes of play, referees Andy Thiessen and Kyle Rehman ordered the two teams off the benches and onto the ice to help dissipate the fog by creating some air movement - reminiscent of the 1974 playoff game between Buffalo and the New York Islanders.

The atmosphere was electric in the Arena, especially in overtime as the fans tried to lift their team for the final time this season. The long delays just seemed to get the crowd going even more as they cranked the music to keep the fans going. As was the case all year, the Tigers responded.

Game seven was fantastic - well worth the two-hour drive and the 1:15am arrival time back in Swifty. Here's a few pics...

Tiger fans urge on their team in double overtime

Brennan Bosch somewhere on the bottom...

Former Bronco Jerrid Sauer lovin' life in the Gas City

- Tiger fans...were Tiger fans last night. Defenseman Gord Baldwin was seemingly the fans whipping boy most of the night. There is ALWAYS one player for the Tigers the fans always seem to be all over.

- Why can't their fans get along? I was in the middle of two separate yelling matches between fans as they all clamoured around for the same space. I've never seen a fanbase squabble so much.

- Shaw TV was interviewing Tigers Goaltending Consultant Eli Wilson in our corner of the rink. Fans were all over Barry Strader of SHAW TV as he stood in front of the glass "get out of the way you #!$*", "Unlike you we paid for our tickets....get out of our way!" Just relentless. That's what makes the Arena experience unlike any other. Strader and his camera man couldn't get out of their quicker.

- One of the best reasons to watch a game in the Arena.... Taco in a bag. Those who know what I'm talking about, know what I'm talking about.

- I chatted with Tigers Will Desjardins post-game. For the last four years Willy has downplayed the strength of his team, always modest, and always feeling very fortunate and lucky to get to where they're at. I thought no doubt Willy would let it all out.... I thought wrong. He continued along the same's a transcript:

JK: Will, can I finally get you to say your Tigers hockey club is the best team in the WHL?

Willy D: (laughing) Naw, I can't say that, there's lots of great teams in this league.... but I guess tonight we are, I can say that. We played hard....any given night there's lots of great teams in this league.

JK: Will, you have the trophy now to prove it....

Willy D: It's great we worked hard and it's great to win. I love winning but there are a lot of good teams and any night anybody can win.

JK: What's the message, do you celebrate this one, or reel the club in for the Memorial Cup and say let's hold off one more week?

Willy D: We enjoy this one. It's been such a long grind and we gotta enjoy it and then move on. We have to get by it right away and start focusing, it's going to be a real tough week out there.

Here's a quick rundown of an interview with former Bronco Jerrid Sauer:

JK: Big goal by Brennan Bosch, what was your reaction when you saw the red light from the bench?

Jerrid: It was just unreal, Vancouver battled us so hard and they did such a great job in Vancouver to get up in the series but we were very comfortable coming back home and we always always are. You know, Brennan Bosch with a huge goal, he got a triple overtime winner last year and now a double overtime winner for the league title, he's just a clutch player.

JK: How nice is it to win it not only on home ice but in your hometown? To raise that trophy over your head must have been unbelievable.

Jerrid: Oh it feels so good, I raised the trophy and look up and have about it seven of eight family members looking down right at me and it feels so good it's just such an honour to win that.

Congratulations to the Tigers and their staff. Listening to the post-game show on the way home was sure a nice treat. To hear longtime voice of the Tigers Bob Ridley bask in the glory of another championship was fantastic. He's such a good guy and conducts himself like a pro at all times. He's been down the road before and knows how to pull it off. I'm not sure how composed I would be in that situation but I definitely heard how to do it last night.

Memorial Cup begins Friday in Vancouver. Unless something changes in the next few days I'll be tuning in on Sportsnet just like everyone else. I think it's safe to say these two teams have to be considered co-favorites going in. I would expect to see the teams in the final but would not be surprised to see the Giants celebrating this time around. Home ice advantage will be huge next week.

Have a great Tuesday,

Monday, May 14, 2007

Off to Game Seven!

I'll post some thoughts and some pictures provided the Motorola Q can capture some good shots of the game seven festivities....

Should be great, first time since 1994 the WHL final has gone the distance.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Three Days Grace....

Man, it's been three days since my last blog entry? Where has the time gone?

Maybe it's the fact that all my cpu team has been dedicated to facebook lately. WARNING: Avoid facebook if you have an addictive personality...just throwing that out there.

-Not much to report these days. As much as I try to get into the WHL Championship series between the Hat and Vancouver I just can't. Maybe because it feels like summer to me, maybe it's the style of defense-first hockey both teams have implemented...not sure. I do plan to head to game six tomorrow night back in the 'Hat though. When you have a chance to go to a championship game just two hours down the take it.

- No offense to the Broncos and the rest of the WHL, but these two teams in the finals are heads and tails better than anyone else. Watching them play a mistake free brand of hockey for periods on end is pretty amazing. They deserve to be in the WHL final, they both deserve to play in the Memorial Cup.

- What's happened to the Tigers powerplay? It downright amazed me with it's creativity and puck movement earlier in the playoffs, now it just looks stagnant. Everyone one is standing still, there's no player movement, they're making bad decisions. It could be more of a case of what Vancouver is doing on the penalty kill than what the Tigers aren't doing.

- I feel almost guilty for saying this but I've lived at the golf course the past week. My schedule in the summer makes it easy... at work at 5am done by noonish.....whack. I know just by saying that Mike Fraser will be giving it to me. I got a phone call from a local businessman this week, he said "since you don't do anything in the summer, do you want to join our foursome this afternoon?" I think he was joking.... Scott, you were joking right?

- We have a staff bbq tonight at the Goodings. Should be a good time. A little bbq, some pops, maybe some poker. I know there's talk of a ping pong tournament.... yeah, ping pong, are you kiddin' me? I just had a grade seven flashback...

My flights are booked for the NHL draft in Columbus next month. The draft this year runs Friday/Saturday. It's Friday night primetime coverage of the first round then Saturday they'll rattle off rounds two thru seven. I'll get their late Wednesday night and get a bit of a feel for the city. My hotel (Hyatt Regency) is attached to the Nationwide Arena (pic below) - where the actual draft will take place. Like in past years, I'll be filing reports for our chain of radio stations.

I have to ask this question.... what in the heck is there to do in Columbus, Ohio? I've heard it's a "sleeper town" - that can be good or bad. Come to think of it, what does that mean anyways? So, has anyone ever been to Columbus?

So, who's going to be the next head coach in Moose Jaw, Edmonton and Prince Albert? Who's out there? I would expect Steve Young to land somewhere. A guy whose that nice is bound to get a break somewhere.

Have a good weekend, I'll post some thought of game six if I head west Sunday afternoon.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

One-on-One with 1st Rounder Christian Magnus/Facebook Craze

I recently chatted with Swift Current Broncos first round bantam pick from last week Christian Magnus from Saskatoon.

Here's a quick transcript. Safe to say he's excited to be a Bronco.

JK: The Broncos have made you their 1st round choice, what's it like to be a Bronco?

Christian: I think it's just an honour, it's going to be awesome. I'm really glad I went 9th overall but I think my work is really just starting now.

JK: You had some pretty good offensive numbers this season in bantam hockey, tell me what kind of a player are you?

Christian: I think I see the ice well, I can score goals... I'm a team player. I think I'm a pretty complete player.

JK: What about playing in the Western Hockey League? How much does that excite you?

Christian: It'll be exciting. It's one thing I've always wanted to do, I grew up watching the (Saskatoon) Blades, I'm just really excited.

JK: Talk about this past season. To be a first rounder you must have really impressed. I know impressed in a couple of big bantam tournaments.

Christian: I think I had a great season. In Regina I was the MVP of the tournament. In Prince Albert I made the All-star team. I had an unblievable season and think I played well all year.

JK: You were following the draft online from the WHL website. Was that a nervous time?

Christian: (laughing) yeah, we were all keeping track. When my name came up at the 9th my mom was like "Oh thank-god, thank god"...I was kind of laughing at her.

I got this from Mike Fraser at regarding Ian White:

Former Swift Current Bronco defenceman and Manitoba product Ian White signed a three-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs today for a reported $850,000. If that's true, that's a pretty good deal for the Leafs. White had 26 points in 76 games – his first full season with the Leafs.

So I'm a little slow to pick up on the latest internet fads but this whole "facebook" thing is pretty wild. I recently signed up after receiving about 5 or 6 e-mail invites from friends. Now that I'm on it's cool stuff. You connect with people and friends you haven't talked to in years. College roommates, elementary school friends, past and present Bronco players.

I guess facebook has been around for awhile...too bad I waited this long to jump on board. I would suggest giving it a shot.

Another season of Swift Current Indians baseball is right around the corner. I for one can't wait to spend a few nights at the ballpark under the lights.

The Tribe chases a third straight WMBL Championship led by Mr. Baseball himself Harv Martinez.

It looks like this year's team will look a lot different this season. The Tribe will not be returning any of the import pitchers like Ryan Flanigan, Brandon Rupp, John De Visser, Jeremy Hickman and Rob Flanagan .

The Tribe is also hoping to get All-star lead-off man Dustin Jones back. He's having a great year of College baseball and is expected to be drafted by a Major League ball club in the upcoming draft. If that's the case, Jones would more than likely play somewhere within that team's minor league system.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tom Green in Swifty

So yeah, how 'bout that? The comedian/actor/rapper/tv host was in Swift Current yesterday among other places.
We has up to his usual antics...apparently he was busking on the street corner with a flute or something of that nature. He was recording a bit for his online site . Word is he had lunch at BP's before moving on.
He visited Pontiex (or Pon-tee-ex as he calls it) and came up with some pretty funny stuff while talking to the locals. You can watch it on the website.
He also made a stop in Bengough and checked in on some local ladies playing cards at the drop-in center. Again, you can check it all out online.
I'm surprised he didn't find his way to the radio station... we could have had some fun.
More later,

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Weekend Update

So, it's been a few days but I'd thought I'd chime in my two cents on a few things....

- How 'bout the set-up scrap to kick-off game two of the WHL Championship between Vancouver and Medicine Hat? Here's how it went down. Derek Dorsett and Kendall McArdle started jawing in the face-off circle before puck drop. The two come to an agreement to drop the mits as soon as play starts. McArdle sheds his gloves and then big Jordan Bendfeld comes off the Tigers blueline to deal with McArdle for a little punch in the face contest. Bendfeld got the early advantage then McArdle sort of held on from there - he did ok. But, the set-play by the Tigers is getting a lot of attention from the media and the coaches both Don Hay and Will Desjardins.

Here's the quotes from the Vancouver Province in a story from Steve Ewen. Don Hay saw it this way:

"I'd be embarrassed if I was the Medicine Hat TIgers with that start. "That was all set up at the start. I'd be embarrassed if I was the coaching staff and the organization and you pull off a stunt like that."

"Dorsett was good enough to fight last night -- all of the sudden he's not good enough to fight? Be a man, stand up for yourself. They want Bendfeld to start, be a man and start him up there on right wing. Be up front about it. Don't back away."

Will Desjardins responded:

"Don can be whatever he wants. It's my job to win. I coach and I play to win. I respect Don Hay for the things he does. He's a great coach, he's got a great hockey team.

"It's me coaching my team to win. That's all it is. It's me coaching to win. I can't control what Don does or says. I coach my team and that's the team I worry about it."

This is getting interesting... The series heads back to Vancouver for the next three games.

Y'er welcome Bill Wilms (Shaw TV Colorman). I noticed right off the top of the broadcast Billy used my little tidbit on Dorsett begging his coach to play in game six of the MH/Cal series because of a bad shoulder. It was posted here just a few days ago.

I think the Shaw games have been great. The broadcast team (Russell/Wilms) is doing a good job. The camera work is great. But, it looks like Shaw is just begging for the intermissions to be over. Where have all the intermission features gone? How 'bout some league news from some of the other Shaw affiliates. Maybe a bantam draft story or something from the Awards Luncheon out of Calgary? Mooner is doing a good job as the WHL Insider when he's on. Atta boy Mooner. The only one of the team broadcasters who actually played in the league. He's one of my favorites on the circuit.


I talked with Broncos 1st round bantam selection Christian Magnus Thursday. I'll post the transcript of our chat later this week. He's excited to be a Bronco - so is his mom who shuttered at the thought of him heading way out West, miles and miles away. "Oh Thank-god, thank god" is what Christian told me his mom said when she saw his name next to Swift Current on the WHL website.

The most interesting pick the Broncos made came in the 9th round when they selected Zach Habscheid in 9th round. I've heard Zach is super-excited to be heading to the Broncos. Safe to say when the Broncos made that pick late in the draft, there was definitely some eyebrows raised and some quiet chuckles inside the convention room from the other 21 teams. I'll leave it at that. I'm not going to stir the pot on this one.

My counterparts blog in Kelowna "Regan's Rant" received some publicity courtesy the Drew Remenda Sports Show in Saskatoon/Regina. Regan reported that CBC broadcaster Jim Hughson wanted to work with Harry Neale in round two - something he plucked from the Toronto Star newspaper. Remenda took exception to that statement on-air as they called out Regan on the show.

Personally, I think it's was just a big misunderstanding. Regan wasn't trying to slag on Remenda, he was just commenting on how much pull Hughson has with the CBC network. I've met Drew a couple times. He's a very nice guy who approached me and introduced himself - this is when he was with the Saskatoon Blades if I remember correctly. I rarely catch the show but when I do it's informative and entertaining.

I don't think any harm was intended. Regan's latest blog post explains it from his side. It just shows you another example of how powerful the internet and this blog phenomena can be. I know for a fact, everyone I've mentioned in this post will (with probably the exception of Hughson) will read this in the coming days. It's something I wasn't aware of when I started Keen's Korner but it's the reality.

While were on the subject, Jim Hughson and Chis Cuthbert (TSN/NBC) sit a top the play-by-play mountain. Not only are they the best at what they do they are both very nice people which has no doubt aided in their rise to the top. At two different NHL games a few years back I introduced myself to the them and told them what I do and who I work for. To my shock and amazement they both invited me into their booth to watch the game for a period or two. No doubt both experiences would be very close to the highlight of my career. So for every "Grrreat save Luongo" from Jim Hughson or a "Did you see that!?" from Chris Cuthbert these two professionals created a memory for me that will last a lifetime.

Well, maybe it's time to hit a few balls at the range on this nice Sunday afternoon in Swifty. If anyone is interested I have a driver for sale. I'm all over the map, huge slice in one breath, duck hook the next. Embarrassing. It's staying in the trunk for awhile. If anybody wants it, they can have it. I have a feeling everytime I reach into the bag for the #1 both Hunchak and Ayotte are quietly fist-pumping.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bantam Draft Drama/ Broncos Select Christian Magnus / Moir Wins Award **UPDATE**


Moose Jaw Warriors select Quinton Howden with the 1st overall pick in the WHL Bantam draft. Howden, from Oak Bank Manitoba was regarded as one of the best players available but not the a clear-cut choice for number one.

Wow, apparently the Hawks couldn't get a commitmment from Luke Moffat (as reported on Keen's Korner a week ago) despite others saying he was headed to Stumptown.

More details to come..........


Kelowna gets the Arizona hockey product highly regarded as the best player available. Regan should be happy in K-town. Didn't see that coming did you Regs?


****The Swift Current Broncos have selected Christian Magnus of Saskatoon with the 9th overall pick.******

This from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix newspaper on Magnus:

Magnus scored 32 goals in 26 league games for the Saskatoon Bandits, then added another 27 in 18 tournament contests. He's skilled and a very clean player, scouts say. Without him, his team may not have won more than two games, one hockey official speculated.

Magnus, who will play with the Saskatoon Blazers next year, says a lot of teams have talked to him. "So I hope that's a good thing." They want to know whether he will play in the WHL if drafted or what his school marks are (Magnus has an 82 per cent average).

"I'll go anywhere," the five-foot-11 Magnus says, but admitted his favourite team might be the Saskatoon Blades because it is his hometown and he goes to a lot of the games.

2nd Round - The Broncos select Regina 5'9 165 pound defenseman Taylor Ernst. "Taylor is an offensive defenseman that handles the puck very well,” commented Broncos Head Scout/Director of Player Personnel Jamie Porter. “He is a power play type defenseman that has a good intelligence of the game.”

3rd round - pick traded to Vancouver last season

4th round - The Broncos have selected left-winger Dane Muench from Martensville. No comment from team yet on him but if he's the same Muench that was burning up the ice in Swift Current this winter then he's a great pick. The game I remember he was everywhere. Not sure if it's the same player though, I'll have to confirm.

4th round - pick acquired from Spokane - The Broncos select Winnipeg center Michael Hay.

More later........

***Broncos Select Zach Habscheid***

The Broncos used their 9th round selection to take Zach Habscheid....yes, he's the son of who you're thinking of...Marc's son. Habscheid spent the year with the family just outside of Boston. Of course many already know that Marc is an Associate Coach with the Boston Bruins.

A complete list of all the Bronco selections is available at

Just one Swift Current draft pick today - Luke Barry, 7th round, Tri-City Americans.

Congratulations to graduating Bronco goaltender Kyle Moir. He was named the WHL's Humanitarian Player of the Year yesterday at the Awards Luncheon.

Here's the press release:

The Swift Current Broncos are proud to announce that 5 year goaltender Kyle Moir has won the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy as the Western Hockey Leagues Humanitarian of the Year for the 2006/07 season.

Moir won the award after appearing in a Canadian Hockey League record 233 career games played in a Broncos uniform and is also the new record holder for minutes played by a Canadian Hockey League goaltender. Moir was heavily involved in the Prairie Post Reading Program during his tenure with the Broncos and also spent countless hours around the entire Southwest, SK community with various other programs.

“Kyle did an extraordinary job for the hockey club during his time with the Broncos and is very deserving of this award,” commented Broncos Director of Public Relations and Game Day Operations Brad Boutilier. “Kyle was a big help with all of our player appearances over the course of the year and it is nice to see him recognized on a Western Hockey League level for all of the efforts he has put in during his five years with the team. He did a tremendous job to always represent the organization in a positive manner and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”


Here's a rundown of all the award winners around the WHL:

WHL Player of the Year - Four Broncos Memorial Trophy
Kris Russell (Caroline, AB), Medicine Hat Tigers

WHL Rookie of the Year - Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
Kyle Beach (Kelowna, BC), Everett Silvertips

WHL Goaltender of the Year - Del Wilson Trophy
Carey Price (Williams Lake, BC), Tri-City Americans

WHL Defenceman of the Year - Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy
Kris Russell (Caroline, AB), Medicine Hat Tigers

WHL Scholastic Player of the Year - Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy
Keith Aulie (Rouleau, SK), Brandon Wheat Kings

WHL Scholastic Team of the Year
Kamloops Blazers

WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year - Brad Hornung Trophy
Aaron Gagnon (Armstrong, BC), Seattle Thunderbirds

WHL Coach of the Year - Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy
Cory Clouston (Viking, AB), Kootenay Ice

WHL Executive of the Year - Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy
Bob Tory (Edmonton, AB), Tri-City Americans

WHL Marketing & Communications Award
Bruce Vance, Prince Albert Raiders Marketing

WHL Top Scorer - Bob Clarke Trophy
Zach Hamill (Port Coquitlam, BC), Everett Silvertips

WHL Top Official - Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy
Andy Thiessen

WHL Regular Season Champions - Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy
Everett Silvertips

One other quick note.... another former Broncos defenseman is moving on to pro hockey: Mike Busto signs with the Rangers! Apparently up to five NHL teams were interested in the free-agent d-man that both Moose Jaw and Swift Current didn't have room for.

Here's the Rangers press release:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has signed free agent defenseman Michael Busto.Busto, 20, skated in 70 games with the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, registering 20 goals and 43 assists for 63 points, along with 79 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating.

The First Team WHL All-Star led the Kootenay defensive corps in goals (20), assists (43) and points (63), while his 63 points ranked third among all WHL defensemen.

In the postseason, he collected three points (one goal and two assists) and nine penalty minutes in six games with the Ice.The 6-2, 210-pound defenseman has skated in 331 career WHL games with the Kootenay Ice, Swift Current Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors, recording 41 goals and 100 assists for 141 points, along with 371 penalty minutes.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Way to Go Mo! / Bantam Draft Preview

Stewart Valley native and all around good-guy Travis Moen was the overtime hero for the Ducks last night. His goal 2:07 into overtime powered Anaheim to a 3-2 win and now a commanding 3-1 series advantage over Vancouver.

We had a lot of fun with it on the Eagle morning show today. We had some old clips of Travis from his appearances with us and broke down his post-game interview with Scott Oake of CBC Sports.

It's the first time he's ever scored in overtime... the biggest goal of his career no doubt.

Let's hope Trapper brings the cup home to Swift Current.


The Swift Current Broncos head into tomorrow's WHL bantam draft under the direction of Director of Player Personnel Jaime Porter (left). I tracked him down yesterday in Calgary for a little preview. Here's the transcript of a few questions thrown his way.

JK: What's the mindset of the Broncos staff with the 1st round pick 9th overall?

JP: Well our mindset will be to take the best player possible, see what's available at that time. We have two forwards and two defenseman identified. We'll wait to see what falls to us and make a decision at that time.

JK: Do expect any surprises in round one?

JP: You always hope there's a surprise in front of you, usually that means an extra guy on your list to take a look at. I think the first group will probably fall into place as everybody expects for the most part. Then it's in that next group just before us, probably three or four picks before us that will make things interesting on draft day.

JK: When looking at the depth chart do you head into the draft with a specific need at any of the three positions?

JP: No I don't think so. I think the last two drafts we've had the 90's and 91's have solved that for us, we've got ourselves some depth in the organization and pretty much every position. So now it gives up the opportunity to pick and choose a little bit and pick the best player.

JK: What about drafting local? Any plans to take some south-west Saskatchewan kids? Do you think there's interest from other teams?

JP: I'm sure that there will be guys taken. As you go through the draft you never know where guys will fall after the first few rounds. There will be some south-west Saskatchewan guys that will be taken there's no doubt. You like to take guys who are close from home but at the same time you have to take what's there.

JK: How deep in the draft are the Broncos prepared to go?

JP: I would imagine we would go into at least the 8th round. After that we'd have to decide whether the next couple of choices are guys that we have a special interest for one reason or another but I think we'll go eight for sure.

JK: We've seen the Broncos really draft for size in the last few years. With the new enforcement of the rules we've see the return and the effectiveness of the smaller-skilled players. Will the Broncos be headed in that direction tomorrow?

JP: Absolutely, I think you'll see, especially in last year's draft and the '90 (1990 born) draft in some situations, we're starting to draft more with the idea that we need to get quicker. The smaller, skilled players are usually that way. They are quick and move and do things at high speeds. We're trying to do that, we're trying to make a team that can skate and one you'd have trouble keeping up with and you'll see that too with this draft I'm sure.

In other tidbits.... It looks like Portland will take Phoenix, AZ's Luke Moffat with the first overall pick. Apparently Portland is getting close to getting a commitment - they may even have one now. After initially kyboshing potentially playing in Portland, Moffat is slowly coming around, enough that Portland feels confident in selecting him.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more chatter about the Broncos re-signing Dean Chynoweth to a three year contract both good or bad. There was a lot of people grumbling earlier in the season. Now, I haven't heard very much of the negativity. Maybe it's the circles I run in or maybe the chatter has calmed down, not sure. I'm still waiting for the internet nay-sayers (they know who they are) to say their piece. So far.... silence. If you want me to go on the record I will.... it's a strong move. Let's keep the plan in place and the wheels in motion.

I was at the Brad Wall "Beans, Beef and Brad" bbq last night. For those who don't know, Brad Wall is our local M.L.A. and is also the Leader of the Opposition for the Saskatchewan Party. It was a good time. A very election-esq speech was delivered by Brad following the meal. Brad used to be a good public speaker, now he's great.


I think I'm in good hands on the golf course today should anything happen. The foursome will include Broncos Team Dentist Dr. David Stock, Team Chiropractor Dr. Kevyn Kristmanson and Broncos Athletic Therapist Paul Ayotte. Hopefully the T-storms stay away. High of 27 today in Speedy Creek.

Keep it here tomorrow for the latest info on the bantam draft. I'll try to update several times tomorrow time permitting.

See ya,