I have really cared less about this on-going Canada/Russia series as it tours through the Canadian Hockey League. Tonight it's a different story though.
I'm interested in how our Bronco connection will do in this the finale of the series. Broncos forward Levi Nelson will get his shot to impress while Dean Chynoweth will handle the role of Assistant Coach for Team WHL.
The game will lack the "Hockey Canada" feel just because of the timeline of the event. Dean and Levi will drive in for the game and meet around 4pm for an orientation. It's game-time already at 7:30pm from the Medicine Hat Arena.
The biggest concern for Dean may be just trying to look good for the HDTV broadcast from coast-to-coast.
Last night the Russians surprised the WHL'ers with a 5-1 win. Good to see Swift Current's Andrew Bailey get involved physically in the third. The Kootenay Ice forward ran into the Russian goaltender at a pretty good clip and then ended up in a fight (if you would call it that) moments later. Bailey isn't known for that type of play but it did add a spark to the game in the final period.
It will interesting to see what kind of a reception Levi gets from fans in the 'Hat. He usually enemy #1 when the Broncos are in town.
The Broncos are hoping to get healthy this week as they prepare for the weekend. A quick stop at practice yesterday had three players in yellow "don't hit me" practice sweaters including Derek Claffey, Spencer McAvoy, and Mike Brown. Cody Eakin didn't practice due to a concussion but he's set to resume skating this week.
The Kootenay Ice come in as one of the hottest teams in the WHL. They haven't lost in regulation in the month of November going 8-0-1. Steve DaSilva is starting to score again and both Ice goaltenders have been solid over the last while.
It's the first of four meetings between the two teams. They play again a week from Friday back in Cranbrook when the Broncos begin their six-game U.S. road swing.
I think it's funny Kootenay only plays Kelowna once this year but has the Broncos on four separate occasions. Wacky scheduling to say the least.
I got through it... my birthday was yesterday and I'm now 29. I don't go seeking attention on birthdays and I like to keep them pretty low key...meaning no mentions on the Eagle morning show or things along that line. The boys on the team all seemed to know yesterday when I showed up for practice to get some interviews. I think they got the info from Facebook.
I also heard it was in the Leader-Post's sports figure birthdays. I shared the same space as famed New York Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti.... I guess it pays to know Leader-Post Sports Editor Rob Vanstone, haha. Rob is doing a great job with all the Rider coverage lately following the big Grey Cup win.
I just don't care to be the guy who has to advertise his birthday to the world. When I was driving to Notre Dame on Tuesday I caught some Regina radio and the afternoon announcer on Z99 made it a point to announce it was his birthday everytime he cracked open the mic.... in one instance he sang happy birthday to himself! I was embarrassed for him. That's great radio Josh.
Speaking of Regina radio, my old college buddy Chad Hansen - who hosts the afternoon show on 104.9 the Wolf gave me a call to talk on-air about how bad Winnipeg Blue Bombers Head Coach Doug Berry was in the Grey Cup game. Some of his challenge attempts were way out to lunch. And what was up with that half-time interview he gave to that CBC sideline reporter? Weird.
I'm making a visit down to the office of Broncos team Doctor Rizqi Ibrahim this afternoon. Doc is going to hook me up with the appropriate shots in order to head south over the Christmas holidays to the Dominican or Cuba.
Doc is a great guy and is a very valuable piece to the Broncos organization. He's great with the players and has been the team doctor for several of Canada's junior teams who have traveled abroad. He has the medals to prove it.
I've never been to a warm resort destination so I'm getting geared up to go. Should be a fun time if we can all avoid Montezuma's Revenge.