Monday, April 30, 2007

Breaking News! **UPDATE**


The Swift Current Broncos have granted Head Coach/General Manager Dean Chynoweth a three-year contract extention.

The deal calls for two years plus a club option on a third.
The conditions of the deal have yet to be finalized. They are expected to be ironed out next week. But an agreement in principle has been reached.

Chynoweth joined the Broncos prior to the start of the 2004/05 season. He's presently in Calgary with his hockey staff preparing for the annual WHL Bantam draft set for Thursday.

Monday Morning

Some local sports tidbits....

- The Selkirk Steelers are off the to Royal Bank Cup after defeating the Humboldt Broncos in game seven. Quadruple overtime to settle this one... wow.

Former Legionnaires and Broncos goaltender Andrew Leslie backstops the Steelers.



Former Legionnaire Brett Kuglin who now plays for Humboldt must be devastated. We will try to track him down for sports story later this week once the dust settles.

- Speaking off former Legionnaires.... Kirk Mastad is a national champion. The former Legionnaire defenseman helped the Prince Albert Mintos capture the Telus Cup. P.A. ended it in double overtime 3-2 to win an unprecedented 2nd straight national championship.

- Big thanks to weekend news/sports anchor Clay Carleton. Clay was busy tracking down some interviews all weekend. He stopped by the Comp for some badminton and track and field clips. He then made an appearance at the Speedy Creek Raceway for some action. Thanks Clay.

- A lot of complaints about TSN breaking away from the Mintos/Red Deer Championship game in double-overtime for tip-off of the Raptors playoff game. What do you expect? As the Toronto Sports Network, their allegiance isn't with a bunch of 16 and 17 year old hockey players. They should have went back to the hockey game with the Raptors down 20 points early!

- The Western Hockey League's bantam draft is set for Thursday in Calgary. The Broncos have the 9th pick overall. We'll see if they get a young dynamic player. More on the bantam draft leading up to Thursday. Portland has the 1st pick..... we'll see if I had bad info or not on the Luke Moffatt scoop. Stay tuned.

- Perhaps I should clarify a post from last week. Despite how it may have come across, I AM an Eric Doyle fan. The Bronco defenseman has a bright future ahead of him. If he drops to the third round he'll be the steal of the draft. Doyle dropped 50 spots in the Central Scouting rankings from the preliminary to the final rankings. It's just one ranking service. I'd be interested to see what Red Line, ISS, or that other independent service who's name escapes me.

- Swift CurrentIndians baseball is now a month away from opening day... can't wait. Dustin Jones' walk-off homer in game two of the WMBL Championship series vs Lethbridge was my sports highlight of 2006.


The following is an RCMP press release from this morning....remember this?

SERIOUS ASSAULT - MAKWA SAHGAIEHCAN FIRST NATION

UPDATE: Nolan CRIGHTON turned himself in to the Meadow Lake RCMP on Sunday April 29, 2007 around 4:00 pm. He will make his first appearance in Meadow Lake Provincial Court on Monday April 30, 2007 in Loon Lake to answer to the charges.


BACKGROUND:Loon Lake RCMP are searching for a 21 year old suspect following an assault on Sunday February 18 at the arena on Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation. At about 11:30 am, a referee was assaulted by a player on the ice during a tournament.

A player, who had been penalized, was being ejected from the game when he reportedly cross-checked the referee, a 45 year old man, across the face with his stick. The player continued the assault until others on the ice at the time intervened. He left the arena a short time later.
The referee was taken to hospital in Meadow Lake with facial injuries and was later transferred to Saskatoon for further medical treatment.

A warrant has been issued for 21 year old Nolan Crighton of Meadow Lake for aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and breach of recognizance in connection with the incident.
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- Some may or may not remember the other side to this story. When the injured referee went to the hospital for a CAT scan, they discovered a brain tumor doctors think is treatable because it was found early. Maybe this attack was a blessing in disguise? Still a terrible story....


Have a good week,
Jon

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It's the Tigers and Giants!

Checked out last night's game five between the Tigers and Hitmen. Great game, good pace. For the most part I thought Med Hat really took it to the Hitmen and deserved the o.t. win. Calgary stuck with them and made the most of their limited chances. All three Hitmen goals were on the powerplay.

It was LOUD in there last night - the loudest all year. It rivaled the noise during the Tigers championship run of a couple years back. The place went bananas after the Tyler Ennis game-winning goal. Nuts.

I ran into Voice of the Hitmen Brad Curle pre-game. He was looking for a colorman so I helped out. Brad is one of the best in the league and someone I've always tried to emulate. When I was in college in Lethbridge he was the voice of the Hurricanes. Brad is great at several things - he's surgeon-like in his call of the game. He's also not overly homerish. That's tough to do when you spend 7-8 months solid with a team. I would compare him to how Jim Hughson calls a Canucks game on CBC. Everyone knows he's a Vancouver guy and has been the voice of the Canucks yet he rarely shows it on the airwaves for the national network. Curle is no doubt one of the top two or three professionals in the league.

It was revealed after the game that Calgary top-scorer Ryan White broke his hand in game four while blocking a shot. He tried to play with a cast last night but couldn't do it. Brody Dupont also had a sprained ankle they were freezing before every game. Last night he didn't take the freezing but tried to play through it.

Calgary Hitmen goaltending coach Darcy Wakaluk is one intense guy. He was up in the booth with us and was reacting to every call (or missed call), every chance, every save. That was quite the treat for me to be up next with him. As people know I was/am a big Minnesota/Dallas fan. I used to watch Wakaluk battle through those intense NHL playoff games. I'll always remember how he closed his eyes and focused nearly every whistle.

Ran into Tigers over-age Derek Dorsett at the end of the game. The friend I travelled with (Terry Pavely) used to coach him with "AAA" Legionnaires here in town. He's playing through a separated shoulder. Apparently he wasn't supposed to play last night and begged Will Desjardins to get into the line-up. Will eventually gave him the green light. He was named the series MVP.

The Tigers were presented the MNP Eastern Conference Championship trophy last night. They called Tigers captain Kris Russell over to accept it. He came over for the obligatory picture but wanted no part of the trophy. Didn't touch it, nothing. He knows that parading around the rink with that trophy would have been the kiss of death. It's a long standing tradition. All of this while the Tiger fans chanted "We want the Cup", "We want the Cup".

Enough blogging for today....

Jon

Friday, April 27, 2007

Golf and Playoffs!

That's on the menu today....

In fact a few of us just got done a quick 18 at the Chinook. Next up Medicine Hat, game five. I'll post some thoughts on the game tomorrow morning.

We'll see who we run into at the 'Hat.

I can taste Montanas.

Hey a couple others have entered the blogosphere.....

Bronco fan Willis On the Welfare sent me an e-mail yesterday wanting me to post his blog link here it is. www.willisonthewelfare.blogspot.com . Also Broncos regional scout based in Brandon Mike Fraser has fired up Fraser's Phrases. You can find that at www.mikefraser29.blogspot.com. This blog phenomena just keeps getting bigger and better.

Gotta go, flight's leavin'

Jon

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's the Deal with Doyle? / Moffat Says No Thanks?

Why has Swift Current Broncos defenseman Eric Doyle dropped 50 spots in the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings?


Ranked 19th at mid-term, Doyle will head into the 2007 NHL Draft in Columbus ranked 69th by CSS.


In that time, Doyle has played in the CHL's Top Prospects game and represented Canada at the U-18 World Championships in Finland.

Could it be the increased role or the extra exposure that has soured Central Scouting?

The offensively-gifted defenseman needs to work on his defensive presence and maybe needs to play with a little more bite.

What I've heard? Some teams have him ranked real high, some teams don't care for his style at all. We'll see where the chips fall into place on draft day.

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Congratulations to Broncos defenseman Paul Postma who actually climbed in the rankings from 75th to 67th - now ranked ahead of the highly touted Doyle.

Derek Claffey held pretty much steady. The d-man dropped three spots from 143rd to 146th.

Riley Nash - a Broncos bantam draft pick in '04 took a nice jump in the final rankings. Playing in Salmon Arm of the BCHL, Nash went from 99th to 64th. Don't expect Nash in a Broncos uniform anytime soon. It looks like it will be the college route unless something changes. The team that takes Nash in the upcoming draft may want him to play Major Junior hockey to take his game to the next level. It's an outside chance, the Broncos are willing to wait.

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Thanks, but no thanks?

Word is the top rated player in the upcoming WHL bantam draft has said no to Portland. Phoenix Firebird Luke Moffat is the consenus (not the clear-cut) number one. Portland was said to be interested. They met with him last week and apparently Moffat has said he's not interested in playing in "Stumptown".

Some sources close to the team say this isn't the case, that the two sides are on good terms. We'll see what happens on draft day. It does make for some good discussion.

Did you know Moffat has a Broncos connection? Apparently his good buddy is Broncos draft pick Eric Ferber. He's the American born goaltender the Broncos drafted in the U.S. draft last season. Will Moffat want to play in Swifty? Maybe. Will he drop to #9 in the draft so the Broncos can take a stab? No.
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What did Prince Albert expect? The Raiders have chosen not to renew the contract of Head Coach Pete Anholt for next season.


Anholt took over in December 2002. Granted the Raiders haven't had a lot of success but just two years ago they were a win away from advancing to the league championship series.

Pete got them to the post-season this year. No one thought that could happen. Almost everyone picked the Raiders for last in the east division this past season. The Raiders finished 4th.

They limped into the playoffs losing most of their games down the stretch. Still, you ask anyone in PA if they would have taken the 4th spot in the east heading into the season and they would have jumped at it!


Pete Anholt should have been given an extention.

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Dane Crowley is making the slow journey back to Winnipeg after being ousted from the playoffs by the Prince George Cougars.

We spoke yesterday. He's going to spend some time in Banff, and Swifty before getting back home to the 'Peg.

Crowley could sign with Tampa Bay this off-season but says talks so far haven't really gotten started.

If not, he'll be back for his 20 year-old season in Everett and will be a lock to be one of three overagers for the 'Tips.

I asked him a few questions, I'll post a transcript of our interview in the coming days.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Anholt's Raider Tenure Over

This news release from www.whl.ca,


Prince Albert, Saskatchewan – The Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League announce that the contract of Head Coach Peter Anholt will not be renewed when it expires May 31, 2007.

Anholt has been the Head Coach of the Raiders since December, 2002 and has compiled a regular season record of 137-153-16-24 with the team in his second tenure as head coach.

Anholt also was the Raiders Head Coach in 1988-89.“Peter is a well respected member of our community and has a long history with the Prince Albert Raiders which has made this a very difficult decision for myself and our organization”, commented General Manager Donn Clark.
“However, the past two seasons we felt the team did not play to its’ capabilities consistently.

We would like to thank Peter for his hard work and dedication over the past four and a half seasons and wish him and his family well in their future endeavors.”The Raiders will begin a search for a new Head Coach immediately.

Pete was one of the good guys, good luck.
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All is Quiet.....

I call this the "transition" period.

Not much going on in the local sports world just based on the transition from hockey to the spring and summer sports. Safe to say I'm scrounging for material right now.

We're still about a month away from Rider coverage and the Swift Current Indians won't open up defense of their WMBL Championship until late May. The WHL's bantam draft is two weeks away. I am planning to check out the Tigers/Hitmen Friday night in the 'Hat. Maybe I can round up a few angles from the Arena.
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It's looking more and more like a great championship series between the Tigers and the Vancouver Giants could shake down. Tigers Head Coach and G.M. Will Desjardins would just cringe if he read that statement. Most people around the WHL would know what I'm talking about. I don't think he ever let's his guard down. Even if the Tigers went on to win the championship, I think he would still down-play the event for fear of giving another team ammunition for next season. Whatever he's doing, it's working.

I look forward to seeing Will this off-season at Cypress Hills Park. You can usually find him at the golf course. Last time I saw him he was helping out his dad at the golf course - picking range balls.
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I was helped out today from a sports tip. Apparently, local 10 year-old Mathew Shaver is a free-throw shooting machine. The St. Pats student recently won the Knights of Columbus provincial free-throw competition. The young phenom was 23/25 at the charity stripe at the provincial championship. I talked to him today to get his secret to calming the nerves, " I imagine myself in a good place". Maybe I should try that on the golf course.
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How smart is Lyris Cappelle (pictured left) when it comes to fitness training? The local gym guru can turn almost anyone into an Adonis. Her workout techniques and diet plan post results!

I saw her working out yesterday at the Training Zone. Her list is full and is now not taking clients 'till August. Check out her website at http://www.lyriscappelle.com/ . I told her yesterday, "as soon as I get sick of getting no results, I'll give you a call!". She's nothing short of a miracle worker IMO.

She has told me in the past she'd love to put me on her program. I'm not sure why I haven't taken her up on it. I just think the diet would be too tough for me. Switzer has transformed himself under the program. He has nothing but good things to say too.


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I hope Big Ern has snapped out of his Dallas depression. I've barely thought about the game seven loss since Monday night. Sure it was a tough way to lose, but now I can actually relax and enjoy the playoffs.

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2nd round NHL playoff predictions?


Vancouver/Anaheim - I wanna say Ducks sweep but I know Luongo will steal at least a game - Ducks in 5


Detroit/San Jose - Detroit in 6, maybe 7. A great series on paper.


Buffalo / New York Rangers - Buff in 5. Go Sabres Go, my playoff pool depends on it.


Ottawa / New Jersey - Broduer will be the difference over Razor...Devils in 6


**Disclaimer** I was only 5-3 in round one, don't take my word on it.



Quick Lanigan shout-out! Here's a pic of a road trip I missed out on... regrettablly. It was November (the height of Bronco season) and I had to give my ticket up. The boys all went down to the Vikings/Packers game. The pictures have surfaced. Sadly, this is the only one I could post due to the nature of content! Good job guys, atta represent. Sorry I couldn't make it.



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Have a good one!


Jon

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Kiss of Death

A comment from earlier today:

ernie said...
Wow, I can't wait for tonight, Jon. GO STARS GO!!If it goes the other way, I'm prepared. The Stars have three shutouts, and come what come, Turco is no longer "the goalie who can't play in playoffs." Three shutouts! AMAZING! GO STARS GO!!!


Ok, every fan knows this is the kiss of death right here. Can anyone else spot it? Call me superstitious, but as soon as this came to me, the Stars were doomed. Ernie, Ernie, Ernie.

Good night,
Jon

Interesting Weekend

Lots of things going on this past weekend in the city, I hope everyone had a chance to get outside yesterday. It was amazing.

The Chinook Golf Club had their Nike Demo day, by all accounts, a lot of people came out to hit that new square driver. For the record, I have a friend who slices A LOT. It didn't help.

I had a chance to take to the pathway for about a 7k jog with Broncos Athletic Therapist Paul Ayotte. I guess I felt like punishing myself for having too much Fri/Sat.
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It felt like hockey season this weekend with amount of players I ran into. I saw Bronco rookie Geordie Wudrick at the Cypress College Auction Extravaganza. He was helping out with the event. That was a GREAT event. A good time for everybody. Free drinks for the first 90 minutes was a brilliant idea to get everyone to loosen up the purse strings. I didn't buy anything, but I did my best to drive up the $$$ on a few items. The post-auction five-way frisbee toss may have gotten out of hand....oops. Great job by Switzer and Skip Neufeld as the Host/Auctioneer for the event.

Other players I ran into included locals Zack Smith and R.J. Larochelle, Brett Ward and Craig Cuthbert of the Saskatoon Blades, and Andrew Bailey of the Kootenay Ice.

Former Bronco Alex Lentowich is in town. The Bronco tough guy is doing some construction work at the Swift Current Mall as part of some contract work for his Cooke's Creek, Manitoba based business. We had a beer and reminisced about his time here and some of the better moments with the Broncos. He spent his last junior season in the MJHL with the Selkirk Steelers. He holds the MJHL record for most penalty minutes in one SHIFT. We're talking a couple major penalties, 10-minute misconduct, a double game misconduct and an array of minor penalties. Lentowich told me it's great to be back to catch-up with former billets and friends. He LOVED his time here.
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Thanks to Ernie for his Levi Nelson update. Apparently the Broncos 18 year-old scored his first AHL goal on the weekend. Saturday night the Providence Bruins lost 4-2 in game two of their playoff series. Nelson scored in the third period. I betcha there isn't many 18 year-olds who have recorded a goal in the "A". Quite the accomplishment I must say. Remember, he still has TWO years left of junior hockey eligibility.
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What a big game seven tonight in the NHL playoffs! Dallas tries to win their third straight against the Vancouver Canucks to complete the series comeback. Although not wanting to jinx my Stars, I like their chances. However anything can happen in a game seven. Win or lose tonight, the Stars have dominated this series and deserve to win. It doesn't mean they will but they have proven to be the better team in the first six games of this series. Canucks fans, I would like to hear if you agree or disagree with this?
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How 'bout Canada's U-18 team crashing at the World Championships in Finland? They lost the bronze medal game to Sweden 8-3. Canada couldn't have really cared much after losing the semi-final to the U.S. As in most cases anything less than the gold medal is deemed a failure. Winning the bronze would have been little consolation. Broncos defenseman Eric Doyle was on the sqaud although I barely heard anything about him all tournament.
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It's a back-to-work Monday morning....time to get at'er...

Jon

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another Kruger Weighs In

Most Bronco fans in the south-west have seen this Letter to the Editor which appeared in the Booster this week. For those who read from out of town and beyond here it is:

Editor:

This letter is in reply to Gare Joyce's ESPN article.Dec. 30, 1986 is a day we all will remember, even the young who were not around then. They will hear the story because they will ask about the four leaf clover on their favorite players jersey.

People went to the game on Dec. 30, 2006 just like any game through the season as did my mother-in-law, Fanner, my daughter and myself. We walked in and went directly to our seats to see, a son, a husband and daddy coach the Tigers who were in town. Yes we went to see him, but also to honor Uncle Scotty and the three other young men who lost their lives in a tragic accident 20 years ago.

We bowed our heads and thought of Scott with fond memories and prayed for the other families. Then lifted our heads and looked across the ice to see Darren pumping up his boys to play hard. The rest of the night our focus was on the game being played here and now and yes deep down wishing Scotty was here too, and he is, each and everyday in our hearts.

Do we think about the bus crash? Sure. But mostly we think of happier times. The real tribute that night was the game still being played on that very ice surface where Scott, Trent, Chris and Brent loved to be.

What a team and franchise the Broncos are for still being there through a series of tragic events. A moment of silence after 20 years is quiet elegance. Those close family and friends remember the four men everyday of their lives. For others, fond memories of their favorite player is enough. The four leaf clover is for past, present and future players to pay tribute to and take pride in the Bronco crest and to always remember what happened.

Those who played on the Memorial Cup team have the four leaf clover on their ring as well - there is no greater tribute.

People deal with grief in different ways. Just because they don't want talk about it doesn't mean they don't remember. It must have been an awful scene for the other young Bronco players to have seen. Who are we to tell them how to deal with it. If they want to talk about it, let them. If not, let them be.

The James tragedy is a sad twist to the Broncos history. He has been dealt with - enough surely not but we need to move on. The CHL now takes measures to prevent this from happening again. Did anyone else know? Not sure, but the damage had already been done long before. He's gone, never to return again. Hopefully Sheldon and the other individual have gotten the help they need. We pray for them too and wish them only happier times.

As for the decision of the players to continue the season after the bus crash, I'd expect nothing less than a "Yes, I want to play on!" What courage, discipline, integrity, grit and honor this took. A true definition of any Bronco player any hockey player. Trent, Brent, Chris and Scotty would never had wanted them to quit. Keep playing! Keep fighting! Play harder for us!

Winning the Memorial Cup two years later shows the inner strength the team had to persevere and move on. Win one for the boys and no better way than bringing home the Memorial Cup.

There will always be "what if's" but there is a bigger picture here - Triumph through sorrow!

The bus crash and Memorial Cup win can be separated from Graham James because when I think of Scott I don't think of James. I think about what kind of Dad and uncle he'd be, what his kids would be like and how my daughter would have loved her uncle Scotty. When I think of the Memorial Cup win I think what a thrill it must have been for Darren to assist on the winning goal.

The Broncos are heroes in Swift. Junior players are in every city that has a team. Kids can be cruel with their taunting and jeering. Hockey players are stronger men inside because they walk away. They are here to play hockey.

They aren't the only ones. I've seen it and heard it as it's happened to me. It happens everywhere all the time.

Swift is a great place to live and play hockey in. The Broncos do a lot for the community especially in the schools, I've seen it first hand. The kids love them and can't get enough of them. The players like being there too, you see it in their smiles.

Does anyone think about Swift and not the Broncos? Not many, the two go hand in hand.

I married a hockey player and some still tease about what hockey players are like. I simply tell them I love him for who he is not what he does and he loves his job.

Hockey life is tough, I've found out, but true friends and fans are always there. The others don't matter. Gare Joyce, that would be you. You don't matter to those who know the true and real story.

We support our players, now, then and always.

Playing any sport is a privilege, and those who have played in Swift see it as that and much more - a close knit community and a great place to live and play hockey in. Hockey is a way of life in Swift - Love It Loud!

Beverly Kruger
Swift Current
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Friday, April 20, 2007

Finally! / Player Memories

Finally....


A Dallas Stars overtime victory. Last night's OT win kept their playoff hopes alive against the Vancouver Canucks. OT has been the death of the Stars in recent history. Brendan Morrow changed that last night.



The last 5 of 6 Dallas Stars losses in the playoffs have come in OT. Marty Turco is now 2-8 lifetime in the extra period.


How 'bout the plight of the Canucks fans? They've only seen one home-team goal at GM place in the last 10 periods. Borrrrinnnng. So the "soccer series" continues tomorrow night back in big "D".


Enough talk about my Stars...I'm sure only Rod P. in Regina and Big Ern can relate to this team's recent overtime woes.



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Hey, if you get a sec, check out Regan Bartel's blog at http://www.reganbartel.blogspot.com/ . For us broadcast play-by-play nerds, there's a little write-up on each from Regan's perspective. It's something I would consider doing. I just don't think it would generate much interest outside of us broadcasters. I would no doubt have some good things to say about a few individuals who really helped me along the way including Regan in Kelowna, Les in Saskatoon, Brad in Calgary and even Joe in Vancouver who I did color commentary with for three seasons.


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I thought I would blog about some of my favorite player stories over the years....there's a lot to choose from but I'll pick from four today. Aaron Rome, Alex Leavitt, Bryn Brucks and Jeremy Williams.



Aaron Rome.... just exudes confidence. He's been the best defenseman to come through these parts in years...maybe a tie with Ian White. Romer was a man of his word. He would say something and then go out and do it. The day before the first meeting between the Broncos and the Everett Silvertips (SilverBroncos), Rome was at his best.



The 'Tips featured five Broncos from the season before including rough and tough d-man Mitch Love. The day before the game in an interview Rome made the bold yet refreshing statement "Mitch Love will not be a factor....at all, we're not concerned with Mitch Love" He wasn't a factor and Rome was the neutralizer. Not that Love would beat you on the scoreboard but he was a big part of the team the year before. Rome added a goal and an assist and was the #1 star.


Harley Love (Mitch's dad) has been a longtime scout for the Broncos and does a great job up in Northern BC.


Rome did the same thing in Prince George....he told me before the game that Jonathan Filewich would get nothing tonight. I believe Filewich had an 17 game point streak going in - the same as Bronco forwards Tyler Redenbach and Jeremy Williams. Rome shut him down all night and while both Redenbach and Williams kept their streaks alive in a 7-2 romp.



There are several off the ice stories on Romer...they're colorful and we'll leave it at that. Good luck to him and the Ducks as they continue their playoff run.




Alex Leavitt- No doubt one of the most intelligent players to pass through this organization. Too smart almost to a fault. Although he had a fall from grace with this organization I'll never forget a night off in Prince George four seasons ago.



I was killing some time at the casino attached to our hotel, who comes up and sits down? Alex Leavitt. Leavitt is a numbers guy... a Rain Man if you will. He sat down to play a quick sleeve of cards. He was slick... a card counter. He was computing things in his head with the five decks of cards in play. He sat down with $40 bucks....left with $500 - one sleeve, that's it. "Good night, everybody", is all he said as he got up and left the table to head for the cash out window. Wow.








Jeremy Williams - Another confident kid with one of the best shots I've seen. Williams had recently signed with Leafs as a 20 year-old and was back in town for Broncos training camp - even though he was pro-hockey bound.



He hitched a ride with me and Switzer to Saskatoon for the annual Ice-Breaker tournament (he wasn't playing, just taking in the action). We stopped for supper and drinks.... the bill was maybe $100 bucks. "I don't have any money on me!" is what Willy said. Ryan and I were laughing... how could that be. Here's a guy who was just floated about a $600,000 signing bonus from the Leafs and us poor radio guys had to pick up the tab? Haha, we gave it to him about that. I'll give him credit, he's been pretty wise with his $$$, no Cadallic Escalade a week later for this guy.


He's a good Saskatchewan kid. I hope he can soon crack the Leafs roster on a full-time basis.



Bryn Brucks - Wow. Hands down, the biggest character I've seen - and he was only here just over a month! Where to start with this guy?? He was as tough as nails.... not overly bright but as tough as they come.

He was injured upon arrival from P.G. and sat out the first few weeks. He was supposed to make his debut a couple weeks into being here but ended up twisting his ankle when he stepped on a soccer ball the guys were kicking around in the pre-game....out two more weeks.

Patience began to run thin with Brucks from the coaching staff at the time (Randy Smith/Bryan Glynn). Brucks wasn't contributing and was being a pain off the ice at the same time. His demise came in Vancouver when he picked a fight with a toilet in his hotel room for some ungodly reason. He apparently got pissed off and ripped the toilet from it's anchors on the floor leading to water everywhere. A real mess.

The Broncos took a bus to Kelowna the next day. Brucks took a Greyhound north back home to Williams Lake. BC. Good morning, good afternoon and good night.

But here's my favorite story from this guy. We were bussing home after a loss in Prince Albert - about a four hour ride.... in silence.

Brucksy said the first words on the ride home directed to Broncos Assistant Coach Bryan Glynn about 20 minutes outside of Swift. Here's how it went to me recollection... picture Brucks near the back of the bus and Glynn in the first seat at the front.

Brucks: "Pssst, Glynner...... Glynner, Glynner......."

Glynn: (just waking up from a sleep in an owly voice at 3 am)..... "What.... what do you want Brucksy?"

Brucks: "Oh nothing..... just checkin' for a**holes...."

Glynn: (shaking his head, while attempting going back to sleep....didn't say anything. He didn't have too)

It was Brucks attempt at humour....wrong place, wrong time. He was obviously trying to be funny but c'mon Brucksy what were you thinking?? The people on the bus from that day four years ago still talk about that story and shake their head. What a guy!

That's just a sample.... I'll tell more stories on another slow day....
Tee-time at 12:40pm this afternoon can't wait. Even if it's 10C today.
Jon

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Habscheid Happy to Be Home


(Mark Habscheid - pictured left, is back home after his first season as Assistant Coach of the Boston Bruins)

Wymark native Marc Habscheid is back at his off-season home at Lac Pelletier. Here's a little bit of our chat:


JK: Habby, your first year behind the bench at the NHL level, was it what you expected?




MH: Well it was pretty much what I expected yeah, because of the World Championships - coaching those teams and players. Probably the most unique part or interesting part, it's the first time in my coaching career I've not been the Head Coach, so that was a unique experience to say the least.


JK: So with that said, how was Dave Lewis (Bruins Head Coach) to work with?


MH: Oh real good, he's a good man and gave me a lot of responsibilities, it was great that way. I ran the "D" but you know it was unique because in the end he has the final call. It was interesting that way for sure.


JK: It was a slow start for the Bruins but a final push actually had you in the playoff race down the stretch. Did you feel you had a legitimate shot at that 8th seed?



MH: We did, and with about 10-12 games left we were in the hunt. Then we got some unfortunate injuries, P.J. Axelsson and Glen Murray who were two keys to us. Then (Chuck) Kobasew came to us in a trade and he wasn't able to play. That really hurt us quite a bit, those were important guys not only on the ice but in the dressing room. Once we were kind of out, it just kind of compounded from there. Once you were out the fun meter isn't too high for anyone especially the players.



JK: I'm sure you're not used to being done so early in the season, either with Kelowna or with the World Championships. What's it like to be done in April already?

MH: It's not great, you always want to be playing into late spring so that's disappointing. Like we say in Saskatchewan it's always next year country so we're looking forward to that.


JK: What's the summer going to be like, what will you be up to?

MH: We're just going to be headed back and forth - the kids still have to finish up school. I'll try to get as many things done as possible so when the summer comes we will have a little bit of a summer. As far as the hockey goes I'm still going to look around and pursue the head coaching job if it's available and we'll see what happens but the situation in Boston is really good the ownership is good the General Manager is good and Dave (Lewis) is really good and treats me really well, and this city is great too. It's a city with great history and great tradition. With the Celtics, the Patriots, Red Sox, there's a lot of history and tradition. Hockey is a funny game and things change in a hurry - the only thing that is constant in the game is change and we understand.... we'll see where the winding road goes.


Marc also plans to co-host his Nancy Harvey / Marc Habscheid charity golf tournament in July making it the 2nd annual event.


-----------------

This is killing me! The Broncos are approaching the WHL's Bantam draft and could make a BIG splash - or nothing could happen at all.


We'll see if anything happens. Don't hold your breath.


Broncos Head Coach and G.M. Dean Chynoweth left for Abbottsford today on another scouting mission. The Broncos have the 9th overall pick and should be able to grab a very good player at that number. Word is there's no clear-cut #1 pick in the draft this year.


From some of the people I've talked to, Phoenix Firebird forward Luke Moffatt has garnered plenty of interest from Portland for #1 overall. Moffatt could be the most skilled player available. At the 39th annual Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament (KIBIHT), he collected 13 goals and four assists in getting his team all the way to the final.

Once again it looks like the majority of the draft talent lies in B.C. and Alberta.
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Looks like Friday's golf is off the table. Rain, wind and highs of about 11C here in Swifty might postpone the action. Oh well, it's a long summer.

Have a good one,
Jon

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rumsey Ramblings **Update - Player of the Year Finalists**

Had a chance to talk with outgoing Broncos captain Myles Rumsey yesterday from his home in Winnipeg. As mentioned a couple days ago, the news on his knee injury has gone from bad to worse.

Even though he's looking at a lengthy recovery Rums was in good spirits yesterday. He says it's awful having to depend on everyone all the time but it's something he's trying to battle through.



Here's some highlights from our chat:


JK: I remember the injury quite well, watching you fall to the ice as the play moved up outside the Broncos territory... take me through it again if you can.


MR: I got the puck, just about the top of the circle and I got hit from the side and put a lot of pressure on my left leg and got hit from the front. I heard a loud pop and felt a louder pop. After that I thought I definetely broke my leg. It's not that bad, c'mon everyone can heal from injuries so it's just a little bit of adversity for me to go through.


JK: I know you have the latest doctor report with you... what's the latest.


MR: Yeah well, I got the M.R.I. report right here in front of me, I got a full thickness tear through the ACL, a significant grade two tear of the MCL. and microfrabicular fractures on the tibia and fibula where the ACL pulled off the bone... just little cracks. the ACL will require surgery. I go to see Dr. Peter Macdonald who is highly recommended on April 24th. Hopefully he'll give me good news and Ill hopefully be back five months after some serious rehab.


JK: It must have just been terrible to end your WHL career like that...


MR: It wasn't exactly the most ideal team sitting with ice bags around me and in pain listening to the overtime loss. You know what, I have nothing but great things to say about the fans in Swift Current, they helped me out so much, they've got me to where I am now.


JK: So when you do get healthy, what's your future in hockey, what route is next?


MR: I've been getting a lot of phone call from a lot of schools across Canada right now, but I mean if you're a hockey player your goal is to make it to the pro level and that's something I'm seriously still looking at right now. This injury has set me back a few months but I'll have to battle through some adversity...


JK: What's the summer going to be like, I don't imagine you'll be at the lake doing a lot of water-skiing....


MR: I'll be doing a lot of swimming I guess at pools (rehabbing it) and I'm sure I'll find time to go to the lake... no water skiing like you said... It's safe to say I won't be doing any back flips (laughs).


JK: Too bad you didn't get a chance to say goodbye to the fans like your fellow 20 year-olds Kyle Moir and Jeremy Schenderling at the end of game six.


MR: I didn't really get a chance to thank anyone... didn't really get a way to say thanks to all the fans after the game so these are my thank-yous and good-byes to all the fans and I really appreciate everything you've done. Keep supporting the organization, they're great, first class.
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Former Broncos defenseman Aaron Rome was in the Anaheim line-up last night in just his 2nd ever NHL game. The Nesbitt, MB product is one of, if not the best defenseman to come through here in my time.

We'll see if he's a quick-fix call-up or if he sticks around for game five of the series back to Anaheim.

Levi Nelson remains with the Providence Bruins of the AHL. Word is he's moved into a stall in the Providence room and could be spending some time with them for the playoffs. I'll keep you updated. I guess he was pleased with his first game but just couldn't score. This is all valuable experience for Nelson who will return to the Broncos next year as a 19 year-old leader.
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Russell and Gagnon will decide WHL Player of the Year.......here's the release.

Calgary - The Western Hockey League today announced the WHL Eastern and Western Conference finalists for the 2006-07 WHL Player of the Year. The two finalists for WHL Player of the Year were determined through voting by General Managers, coaches, broadcast and media representatives of all WHL Member Clubs.

In the WHL's Eastern Conference, which includes the East and Central Divisions, the Player of the Year Nominee is defenseman Kris Russell of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Russell enjoyed a tremendous 2006-07 season with the Medicine Hat Tigers. The product of Caroline, AB, in his fourth WHL season with the Tigers, scored 32 goals and 37 assists for 69 points in 59 games, helping the Tigers record the best record in the Central Division and Eastern Conference for the fourth consecutive season.

Russell, the Tigers' captain, led all WHL defensemen in goals while ranking second in points, and was the only defenseman in the League to lead his team in scoring. In addition, Russell ranked third in the WHL with 22 power play goals, and also scored five game-winners. As a defenseman, Russell was held off the score sheet for two or more consecutive games on just two occasions this season.

The 5' 10", 177-pound rearguard was recently selected to the WHL Eastern Conference First All Star team for the second year in a row, and is the Eastern Conference nominee for WHL Defenseman of the Year - an award he won last season.

Russell, 19, was the Columbus Blue Jackets' 3rd round selection at the 2005 NHL Draft.

In the WHL's Western Conference, which includes the B.C. and U.S. Divisions, the Player of the Year Nominee is forward Aaron Gagnon of the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Gagnon, 20, had an outstanding 2006-07 season with the Seattle Thunderbirds. The native of Armstrong, B.C., in his fifth WHL season with the Thunderbirds, scored 42 goals and 38 assists for 80 points in only 59 games this season, leading the T-Birds to a 37-21-3-11 record and a third-place finish in the U.S. Division.

The 5' 11", 189-pound center finished second in the WHL in goals, and tied for 9th in the WHL with a +27 plus/minus rating. In addition, Gagnon led the Thunderbirds in goals, power play goals with 15, game-winning goals with six, and tied for second on the team in assists.

Gagnon's contributions to the Thunderbirds cannot be overstated. Seattle managed just a 3-9-0-1 record without Gagnon, while posting a 34-12-3-10 mark with their captain in the lineup.

Gagnon, who recently signed a professional contract with the Dallas Stars, was selected to the WHL Western Conference First All Star Team, and is the Western Conference nominee for the WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year award.

The WHL also announced today the WHL Eastern and Western Conference finalists for the WHL Humanitarian of the Year award, the WHL Scholastic Players of the Year award, and the WHL Marketing and Communications award.

The WHL's Eastern Conference finalist for the WHL Humanitarian of the Year award is Kyle Moir of the Swift Current Broncos. The WHL's Western Conference finalist for the award is Ryan Bender of the Kamloops Blazers.

The WHL's Eastern Conference finalist for the WHL Scholastic Player of the Year is Keith Aulie of the Brandon Wheat Kings. The WHL's Western Conference finalist for the award is Damir Alic of the Everett Silvertips.

The WHL’s Eastern Conference finalist for the WHL Marketing and Communications award is Bruce Vance of the Prince Albert Raiders. The WHL’s Western Conference finalist for the award is Barry Douglas of the Chilliwack Bruins.

The recipients of all WHL individual awards will be announced at the WHL 2007 Awards Luncheon, which will be held in Calgary, Alberta, at the Round-Up Centre on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007.
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I'm still reeling about the offensive ineptitude of the Dallas Stars. I have my theories but I'll save them for now. Let's just say it looks like they're playing for the shootout - something they've been dominant in during the regular season. They've come so accustomed to winning games that way, it appears they can't shake that mentality in the post-season.

Jon

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tips Ousted! / Habby Back in Town

The #1 ranked team in the CHL heading into the playoffs are out.

The Prince George Cougars completed the comeback with a stunning 8-2 win in last night's game six of the 2nd round. The Cougars will now face Vancouver in the Western Conference Final.

I'm not shocked, maybe just surprised that the 'Tips could lose four straight and just fall apart. Some say it started earlier than the 3rd period of game five where they held a 3-0 lead only to have the Cougars roar back for the 4-3 win. From that point, the series seemed to be over.



Is this the last we see have former Bronco Dane Crowley (pictured left) in the WHL? The Broncos traded Crowley at the deadline partly due to the assumption he would sign a pro-contract this off-season with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Crowley's production didn't really improve after he was traded to Everett. During the regular season Crowley played 29 games as a 'Tip collecting four goals and 13 assists. You compare his 33 games with the Broncos where he had four goals and 15 assists. His playoffs weren't spectacular either. Crowley played in 10 playoff games accounting for two assists and a -1 rating.


Good luck to Dane making the jump next season.


What about this guy? This is Jordan Mistelbacher. A virtual throw-in for the Crowley deal. The 16 year-old was playing Junior "A" hockey in Winnipeg before the trade. He made an impression with the 'Tips after they called him up at the end of the season. He played in 8 playoff games collecting three assists.


I really liked Mistelbacher in training camp this past fall. He even cracked the unofficial Top 10 prospects list at number #3 I believe.


When I talked with Everett General Manager Doug Soetaert after the deal, I got the impression the 'Tips didn't really know a lot about Mistelbacher. Soetaert must have received a positive scouting report from someone down the line otherwise why would the Broncos just throw him in? He must have been requested in order to make the deal happen.

I can see Mistelbacher developing into a solid go-to forward for the 'Tips in the years to come. He may turn into a big trade deadline steal. The Broncos have a lot of talent at the '90 age group including Geordie Wudrick, Phil Gervais, Justin Dowling, Ian Curtis, Kris Foucault and Clayton Cumiskey just to name a few.

-------------

So the WHL Conference Finals will begin Friday night with Vancouver hosting the sizzling Prince George Cougars. Both teams have won four straight playoff games. Vancouver was 7-1 against P.G. during the regular season - but this is the playoffs now.

The Medicine Hat Tigers host the Calgary Hitmen in game one Friday night. This should be a great series. The Tigers have won five straight playoff games while the Hitmen stormed back to beat Brandon in six after dropping the first two games of the series.


Predictions? How 'bout Cougars in six and Tigers in six. What do you think?

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I saw Marc Habsheid Sunday at the Fairview Arena. The Associate Coach of the Boston Bruins is back in town for a week after wrapping up the NHL season. He was checking out the Western Shield championship game between the Swift Current Wildcats and Notre Dame. Marc has a niece (Bailey Habscheid) on the Swift Current team. I plan to track him down before he leaves to get his thoughts on his first NHL season behind the bench. Check back for that.

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I'm still trying to track down Myles Rumsey. Hey Rums! Check your messages. His knee injury is worse than first thought. He will be sidelined for months instead of weeks. I'll try to get in touch with him today.


I've been slacking off lately with the blog.... as pointed out by Regan Bartel in our conversation yesterday. I'll try to pick up the pace a little.... enjoy your day.

Jon

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Joyce Continues Crusade

It seems ol' Gare continues to spew on things where he clearly is in over his head. The verbal salvo remains a fixture over at Switzer's blog. Click the link to the right "Switzer's Blog" to get the latest.

Gare, I too have chosen not to publish some comments deemed a little over the top in regards to bashing you. You don't deserve that kind of moderation on this site after some of your choice words earlier in the week but I'll grant it to you.

I did receive a forwarded e-mail from yourself from a high-school student in NJ. The e-mail was about Graham James - not about the bus crash so I thought it wouldn't exactly add to this debate. I have posted ALL of your own words - I'm sure much to your displeasure looking back. I have received several e-mails from people who have contacted ESPN with links to this site and your quotes.

What gives you the credibility to take a run at Switzer? Here's a guy who was born and raised in this community. Has been involved with the team on several levels dating back to the time he was a stick-boy with the franchise at the age of 13. He's plugged in to the community, knows the background of this team like the back of his hand and doesn't need to do "research" when engaging in a debate about the past.

And so it continues....
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Broncos forward Levi Nelson has yet to play this weekend in Providence. Called up earlier this week, Nelson has been a scratch for the Friday and Saturday game. The Bruins play one more game this afternoon to close off the weekend. We'll see if he gets into the line-up.

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I couldn't believe that wild comeback at the Everett Events Center last night! With the 'Tips of 3-0 over Prince George heading into the 3rd period, the Cougars went to work scoring at the three, eight and nine minute mark to even the game. A PG powerplay goal with about 12 minutes to play turned out to be the game winner - the series heads up north for game six tomorrow night.
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You have to be po'ed if your a Flames fan today. I just finished watching the 1st period of game two in their series with Detroit... what was that 7 penalties in the first 10 minutes? The Flames are lucky it's only 2-0 after the first.
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Finally got on the golf course Friday afternoon. A group of us headed up to Sask Landing )half hour north of SC). The course didn't suffer any winter-kill and is in really good shape. Granted, the entire course is brown but the greens roll true and it's about as good as conditions as you could hope for in mid April. I suffered another classic back nine blow-up. Hunch retained the title firing a solid 83. Not bad for the first time out. For the local golf fans, I heard the Chinook opened up nine holes this weekend. The Elmwood is still shooting for next weekend.
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Most everyone I know is hockey draft crazy right now. This is the time of the playoffs where everyone has a shot. The action quiets down a little once people start losing half their team after the 1st round. Our station put together 11 participants. I'm heavy Buff/Nash/Det/Dal with a little help from Ott and NJ. Switzer has put all his eggs in the Vancouver Canuck, New York Ranger baskets. If the Stanley Cup final is circa 1994 - Switzer will take it all. Can't see it though.

Time to try and get something accomplished on this Sunday...

Jon

Thursday, April 12, 2007

War of Words Continues. ***Update - Chynoweth Fuming***

So this on going debate Joyce vs .... everyone seems shows no signs of letting up. Both sides are entrenched in their views and both continue to fire away.


I've spent the last couple days talking to community members who were involved with the team back then, were friends with the families and four players, etc. They are all telling me the same thing - they're irate with Joyce's article "Denial of Death".


Through all of this, I think Joyce is actually liking the attention this is bringing upon him. I read a solid quote on Rod Pedersen's blog today "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it." Not RP's words - they were from a posted news story.

This debate has done one thing, it's brought plenty of traffic to Keen's Korner. The last three days the blog hit have doubled, nearly tripled. Granted this isn't the best scenario but it shows me people really care what's going on. People want to make their voice heard. Some have told me they want to contact ESPN.com, I'm sure some have. I doubt it would to little good though. The editors there probably would be standing behind their reporter. They would more than likely get their backs up in a situation like this. If anyone even gets a response I would love to see it.

I talked with Broncos Head Coach and G.M. Dean Chynoweth today. He had A LOT to say. I will post a transcript of our chat Friday morning. He's upset and for good reason.

***UPDATE***

JK: Dean, you've seen the article, it's been out a few days now. What was your reaction when you saw it?

DC: I was extremely disappointed. I think it's been known we made Mr. Joyce extremely comfortable when he was here and opened up our dressing room to him with full access. He travelled with us, he was in some of our meetings. we helped set up who to talk to. I was under an impression in talking to him before he came out to do his interviews that the article was going to entail the anniversary of the bus crash but more importantly how Swift Current has progressed and moved forward in the last 20 years and that we're still surviving in one of the smallest markets in the CHL.

JK: Swift Current as a community has really come under attack here. What's your thoughts on that?

DC: Well, they've dealt with a lot worse things than this and have done a tremendous job of moving forward and putting it behind them - not neglecting it but putting it behind us and making our organization and our community a lot stronger than it may have been through some of those tougher times. Outside the community...it's (Joyce article) an opinion and you get a lot of different opinions from different people but I think it will slowly go away and I know from my standpoint that I've learned moving forward is that you have to be very careful who you open up your work to.

JK: There seems to be a lot of personal attacks and names mentioned. How does that make you feel?

DC: That's very tough and that's tough to watch. A family like the Mcbeans who have been mentioned numerous times over the years I can tell you first hand with the amount of work we do with them that they are first class people. They've endured their own tragedy at different times and the way they have been solid members of the community and within the organization I can't say enough about them. Colleen Macbean was honored a year ago with a WHL distinguished service award and that's not a one time thing, that's somebody that's put in and given a lot of time in their life to a community owned team, to a team who is developing a lot of young men not only on the ice but off. I just think that's a tragedy when that happens.

JK: What about the general thought in the article that Swift Current hasn't done enough to honor the four Broncos who died in the bus crash in 1986?

DC: Everybody deals with it differently and everybody has moved on. Not denied it, not underplayed it by any means. There's a lot of other areas where we still honour them, there's a trophy in the league named after them, we wear the four-leaf clover on our jersey every time we step on the ice. Those guys are not forgotten by any means, and not only in Swift Current but league wide.

----------------------

Through all of this, there is a little bit of team news that has been forgotten. Defenseman Eric Doyle (pictured left) was held pointless in a 7-2 Canadian win over Germany today at the U-18 World Championships in Finland. Doyle and Canada are back on the ice Saturday when they play Latvia.

Broncos 18 year-old forward Levi Nelson is poised to make his pro hockey debut at some point this weekend with the Providence Bruins of the AHL. I'll track down how he's doing/did playing with the big boys.

Congratulations to fellow Lanigan-ite Sheldon Brookbank for capturing the "Eddie Shore Award" as the American Hockey League's top defenseman. The news came out earlier this afternoon. Those who have been reading the blog for awhile will remember the "Foley Crescent Crusher" post from a couple months ago. Good job Bill.



I was down at the Fairview Arena this afternoon for the opening game of the Western Shield "AAA" midget female Championships. I was impressed. The future of womens hockey in Canada looks bright for many years to come. These girls were really going at it. I was impressed with how well they competed and battled. Good luck to our Diamond Energy Wildcats this weekend. I'm hosting the awards banquet Saturday night, maybe we'll see some of you folks there.

Check back Friday AM for Chynoweth's take on Joyce. Deano usually doesn't care or is bothered by what the media has to say....he understands they have a job to do. Not this time.

Jon

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Impressive Response

First up, it's some late night blogging due to the Stars/Canucks overtime marathon on the first night of playoffs. My Stars always seem to keep up past midnight in the post-season. I'm just not one of those people that can go to bed not knowing the end result. It's headed into triple o.t an it looks like both teams are playing for the shootout...great. So, I'll suffer tomorrow. The longer this game goes I don't like the Stars chances...or mine.



Given the circumstances, It's not the best scenario but Bronco fans and longtime members of this community have stepped up to shoot down this article from Gare Joyce. You want the proof... check the comments below. A lot of thoughts, a lot of emotion.

Switzer has some great responses on his blog in the comments section. I encourage you to click the link on the right side.


photo from cbc.ca -(Susan Bourette)
Is this the most loathed media personnel in the team's history? (Joyce pictured left) Not sure on that one, but no doubt in my time here. I've heard some stories of some national reporters in the midst of the bus crash tragedy. They're not pleasant at all.


I have talked to and heard some things about the people who were featured in the article and their feelings now after reading the article. I won't share our conversation(s) yet. I plan to e-mail Joyce in confidence to pass along the information.



I'm impressed with the Bronco community who have stood up for their team, their town, their way of life.
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I still plan to post the Q and A I had with Joe Arling about the potential renewal of Dean Chynoweth's contract. I will post that once things settle a bit. For now, I don't see that happening.

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Someone had left a comment asking about Levi's status in Providence. I know he's there. He may not be on the roster yet but I'll be checking this weekend to see if he takes to the ice in one of the three P-Bruins games this weekend.

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Tigers took a commanding 3-0 series lead with Regina tonight. Former SC Legionnaire and recently signed Columbus Blue Jacket prospect Derek Dorsett had the o.t. winner on the powerplay. P.G. has evened their series with Everett, so has Brandon with Calgary. Vancouver took a 3-1 series advantage with a 3-1 win in Seattle.

More tomorrow/later today.

Jon

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Joyce is "sorry people took offense", Plans to "drop me where I stand"

Ok, now this is getting good. Gare Joyce has responded to criticism taken on this blog. Here's his post which can also be read in the comments section on "Wow".

"I'm sorry that so many people took offence. I certainly didn't mean to kick those who live in Swift Current. But the fact remains, I didn't say that the team didn't do enough to honour Kruger, Ruff, Manteyka and Kresse--Fanner and Tisdale did. And when I tell people not from Swift Current that the four were honoured basically with a moment of silence--and that the board of directors just brushed off the idea of more of a ceremony or raising a banner--they are appalled. Fact is, it should have been an anniversary that the WHL marked--they first dropped the ball, then the team ownership. And fact is, Dean C wanted something more--the right thing--and it didn't happen. Too bad for Fanner, the families of the others, Tisdale and other team-mates.


As I said on the other blog, Brady said what others said, almost no dissent in the ranks of the team. Kids are cruel in high school and for the locals the best way to cut the Broncos down to size is take their swings. It can't be pleasant but I don't believe that it's uniques. It's almost certainly more true of small towns than cities--I went to school with Marlies (a Marlie captain sat beside me in class) and everyone gave him respect and space.


I think Dean's instincts were right about getting a banner and the rest. I wish he had pushed the board harder. I think he did a good job with his team and I'm glad to see that he got a vote of confidence. If the directors went into brain lock and gassed him, he'd get another job.


Fact is, many people in Swift want to live in the present because the past is so awful. The view in Swift Current isn't the view from elsewhere. When the McBains say that Graham James did a good job with the team in the wake of the crash--well, there's no saying that he did a job in one aspect with the team but just happened to molest players.


You know Mr Keen, you can attack the story but when you attack me--I don't fit in, I'm a snake, whatever--you're not helping your case. What exactly do I have wrong? Fanner feels like the team could have done more over the years, Bob Wilkie says that someone had to know about James, Sheldon Kennedy says the same, Tim Tisdale once coached in the arena on an anniversary that went unmarked--and I stood out like a sore thumb. What a joke. And you say you're going to get in my face--I'll drop you where you stand. Don Cherry took issue for me--yeah, he defended Phil Esposito when he told a woman reporter to fellate him. I've been doing this since you had your baby teeth.


Gare, Gare, Gare....don't kid yourself. First of all, if you think me saying "I'll take issue with him when I see him at the draft " (see "Wow" below) is a threat of physical harm then you're even better at jumping to conclusions than I thought you were. Congratulations, you've now misquoted me too. Who's the veteran scribe now eh? I would love to sit down and tell you about the pain and embarrassment you've caused this city with your article and I know in turn you would like to tell me more of your side too. If you're not ok with that, go ahead, take a run at my "baby teeth", Just because you wrote a book on the "Punch Up in Piestany" it doesn't make you the league heavyweight.

Many people think you may have come in under false pretenses. Do you think the team and the organization would have gave you an all-access pass (which they did and you know it) if they knew the route you were headed with your feature piece? I'm sure most thought (as did I) you were in town to recap the events of a terrible tragedy to hit a small community 20 years ago. But of course a feel-good fluffer like that wouldn't make the headlines right? You've managed to anger an entire community, a loyal fanbase, and the Broncos organization to what appears like trying to get headlines for personal gain.

I was maybe taught a lesson here too, a lesson on trust. We put you on the air (December 30th) and you said nothing of the angle you were planning. We promoted you, the article and it's upcoming release at espn.com. So I guess I shouldn't trust everybody. Next time I guess. What would a local yocal small-time radio announcer for a small market CHL team know anyways? You managed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes, even me...you should feel good about yourself.

Had you been up-front with the people, the team....me, no doubt that would have jeopardized getting to the real dirt you so desperately seeked. So I understand the veil of secrecy.

Broncos Hockey and this City is more than about Graham James, more than about a sad time back in late '86 early '87, more than about what you have made it out to be. There are lots of great things you've conveniently overlooked. Where did it go? Nowhere Gare, it's right here...here, in a small southwest Saskatchewan City who loves the game; has passion, loyalty,trust, feelings, How could a veteran reporter like yourself miss that?

See you in Columbus Mr. Joyce.

Nelson Called Up To Providence. Holt and Lambert to Enter Broncos Hall of Fame


Busy Newsday!

This is great for Levi.... here's the press release. Congratulations.



The Swift Current Broncos announced today that Levi Nelson, the team’s leading scorer, has been called up by the Providence Bruins.

The Bruins, who are the affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, drafted Nelson in the summer of 2006 in the 6th round (158th overall) of the NHL Entry Draft. The 6’0” 185lbs. Nelson is a product of Calgary, AB and has spent two full season’s with the Broncos.

In 2005/06 Nelson scored 21 goals and 17 assists in his rookie season and was named the team’s Rookie of the Year. This season Nelson doubled his assist total with 34 assists to go along with 18 goals for a team high 52 points. In addition to being the team’s leading scorer he was also named the King of the Road and the Fans Most Popular Player at this year’s Broncos Awards Banquet.

Nelson will practice with the Bruins and could see some action in any of the team’s 3 games this weekend. Providence is scheduled to take on Worcester on Friday night and Springfield on Saturday night before closing out their regular season at home on Sunday night against the Manchester Monarchs.




It's been a big Bronco news day as they've also announced that Todd Holt and Dan Lambert will be this year's inductees into the Bronco Hall of Fame. Great choices!

Here's the information:

The Swift Current Broncos have announced today that this year’s Hall of Fame inductees are former team Captain Dan Lambert and the franchises all time points leader Todd Holt.

Lambert spent four full seasons with the Broncos from 1986-1990. A defenseman from St. Malo, MB, Lambert appeared in 244 games played as a Bronco where he recorded 75 goals and 244 assists. His 244 career assists are a franchise record that still stands today. Lambert helped the Broncos to their Memorial Cup victory in 1988/89 and was named the Western Hockey League’s top defenseman the following year in 1989/90.

Holt spent five full seasons with the Broncos from 1989-1994. Hailing from Estevan, SK, Holt rewrote the Broncos record book during his time with the club. He currently sits 2nd all time in the Broncos record books with 321 games played. Holt is the teams all time leading goal scorer with 216 goals in his career and is also the points leader with 423. Holt played a key role in the Broncos 2nd trip to the Memorial Cup in 1992/93 with 10 goals and 12 assists in 16 playoff games.

The 2007 Hall of Fame Banquet is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall. Tickets will be available in the near future.


Great to see the Broncos progressing further up into more recent times. They've taken care of a lot of players from the late 60's and early 70's and are now moving into the next generation.

More on this tomorrow. I still have to post the Q and A of the Joe Arling interview.

Jon

Joyce Takes Heat, Arling Comments on Chynoweth's Contract


Boy, a lot has happened in the last 24 hours.


This ESPN.com article from Gare Joyce (see below) has ruffled a lot of feathers across the Western Hockey League. I would still appreciate your comments after you take a look at the article (link is below).


There has been A LOT of people that have stepped forward to support the community and it's people after they were both bombarded in this piece. Joyce has responded to some of the criticism on Switzer's blog. I think Ryan has posted a GREAT reply. Check it out.


I wasn't part of Swift Current in 1986, I knew hardly anything about the bus crash before moving here in 1999. I did do so some research in December and put together a 16 minute audio feature on the bus crash entitled "Triumph over Tragedy". I was honoured to hear our company nominated it for an RTNDA award for this summer's national meetings.


For those who haven't heard it. Here's the audio link. This is how we chose as a radio station to pay tribute to the events from 20 years ago.




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Shifting gears now.... Chairman of the Board of Directors Joe Arling is throwing his support behind a contract renewal for Head Coach and General Manager Dean Chynoweth. Arling says we're in the midst of a five year plan and he wants to see it through. He says they could have something in place in the next two to three weeks. I'll post a Q and A transcript from our interview tomorrow.


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The Broncos Hall of Fame ceremony has been bumped up a couple months this summer. The annual event usually held in August will be in late June. I've been asked to help out again this season and I'm excited about the two inductees going in. It's under wraps right now....stay tuned!


Jon



Monday, April 09, 2007

Wow.

***Update***

Gare Joyce has posted a reply on Switzer's blog regarding the article (see my links on the right). He also has his own blog at www.garejoycesgames.blogspot.com . I think people here should voice their views to him too. I hope he's read the comment section of this blog too. There are some powerful words.

The Broncos organization, the board of directors, the fans and the city are all not happy over this I guarantee you that.

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Well it's out, and I can't say I'm surprised or impressed at all.

The long awaited espn.com piece on the Broncos Bus Crash 20 years ago is now available online. The lengthy article was put together by Gare Joyce and it's more about Graham James than about the crash that claimed the lives of four players.

It has plenty of quotes from those involved with the team from then and now. I don't agree with it. Swift Current's hockey pride is being questioned - that's my take. I think it doesn't speak very highly of our loyal supporters.

Read it then leave your comment back here on the blog and tell me what you think. It's not very warm and fuzzy to put it mildly. I'm sure this is nothing new for the community. Some parts you'll read and just shake your head.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=swiftcurrent

**Update**

I just remembered that he'll be at the NHL draft in Columbus at the end of June. I'll be taking issue you can bet.

Jon

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter!

I was planning on not posting this long weekend but thought I would throw a short one out.

The weather is fair...not warm though. I would love to hit the links but that won't be happening just yet.

The Broncos season is over but WHL playoffs continue on four avenues. Here's something I pulled off Switzer's blog. This is from LeaderPost sportswriter Greg Harder:

" The Medicine Hat Arena, in some respects, is simply a larger version of the Civic Center in Moose Jaw and the Centennial Civic Center in Swift Current. Each one is old, outdated and in desperate need of upgrades - or demolition".

Greg: Give it up. It's been done already (Rod P). You missed the boat, at least a week late on this one. Rob Vanstone, I know you read this, and you must just shake your head.
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Looking forward to doing as little as possible right now. Hockey season is over and the decompression phase begins for a couple weeks. If I had a nickel for every time I heard "you must have some free time now that hockey season is over" I would have at least a buck by now.
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Good to see Seattle beat Vancouver last night. Hopefully they can give the G-men a run in the 2nd round series. Yeomans vs Sexsmith.... easy choice there. Medicine Hat hosts Regina in game one tonight. I won't make it over there tonight, maybe Monday's game two.
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Rod P, this one is for you. Don't even think of pulling any stunts in the Arena. You will not leave on your own strength. Just a warning. Tiger fans are nuts...in a good way I guess. Plus Rids doesn't take any crap! Here's another one for you. The scoreclock's main power switch is just to your left in the broadcast booth. If the Pats ever need a timeout late in a game I'd suggest hitting the switch. It shuts the clock down and takes about a minute to get it up and running again. Many a times I've thought about it. Not because the Broncos needed a time out, just because of the homer shot-clock operators that love to pound the "home shots for" button. It's ridiculous sometimes. I don't think I could ever do it.... but I know you could/would.
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Anyways, that's it for today.


Jon