Friday, August 15, 2008

Back in the Mix

Miss a week... miss a lot.

A lot has happened since my blogger vacation last weekend.

First of all, congratulations to Broncos captain of last season Zack Smith for signing with the Ottawa Senators. The deal was finally done and made official earlier this week. A lot of work went into it.

After Ottawa took Smith in the 3rd round in June, his fate was set. The same case cannot be made for Dale Wiese though. Wiese doesn't look like he will sign with the Rangers this summer meaning he is likely to return for his 20 year-old season. Wiese immediately becomes the favorite to wear the "C" for the Broncos this upcoming season. That is if he comes back in the right frame of mind and doesn't think he's above the WHL level at this stage of his career. I'm confident he will be motivated for a huge final season in the WHL.

When it comes to leadership this season, the Broncos will have plenty. The Broncos will more than likely rotate their assistant "A"'s for home and away games. Look for Derek Claffey, and Eric Doyle to retain their letters. Also potentially Matt Tassone, Ryan Molle and Geordie Wudrick and a possibly 17 year-old Cody Eakin. Eakin is the future captain of this team in case you're wondering.

- Speaking of Eakin....

(photo courtesy

Eakin and Canada's National U-18 team claimed gold at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Cody collected two goals and an assist in the tournament as Canada went undefeated. I briefly chatted with Cody today. He's pretty excited to say the least.

- The Broncos P.R. Machine is in full force for another season with several media releases the last week. The Broncos have called a media conference for Monday morning at 11am to announce an International hockey event.

The cat is out of the bag already... but I'll wait 'till Monday until laying out the details of the event.

- Bronco rookies and list players show up Monday for orientation meetings. The Broncos will then put them through fitness testing on Tuesday and there will be some on ice sessions Wednesday. Main Camp opens Thursday for all intensive purposes. All events and ice-times are back at the I-plex after spending last year at the Fairview Arena because of on-going renovations.

- The Broncos broadcasts will have a new sound this season. As we all know Ryan Switzer is calling it quits after five fun seasons. Tim Tisdale will take over and I have big plans for the former Bronco. He will be stationed at ice-level for at least a period during home broadcasts to provide another point of view. The former WHL bench boss will also be doing some intermission interviews and talking with the Broncos coaching staff between periods. It's all in the planning stages right now, but I'm hoping we go ahead full steam.

- Welcome back Randy! Randy Merkley, former voice of the Moose Jaw Warriors who had to take a hiatus due to voice problems, is back in the biz! Merks is one of the good guys and I'm happy he's back in the WHL mix as the new voice of the Chilliwack Bruins.

He provided color commentary on a few broadcasts this past season when the Broncos were visiting Regina. He is also getting married in the next couple months which is making for quite a hectic time.

- As I compose this message, the Swift Current Indians trail Okotoks 11-7 in the 8th inning in game four of the WMBL Championship Series. Okotoks leads the best-of-five 2-1.

Former Coach Harv Martinez was inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame tonight in the Battlefords. The man just known as "Harv" is Mr. Baseball in Swift Current having been involved with the Indians for all of his adult life until this past season.

The former player and coach can now be seen on the golf course almost every day. Don't be surprised to see him back with the Tribe in the coming years.

Congrats Harv, well deserved.

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