Same training camp schedule today... morning practices and then scrimmages at 4pm and 7pm at the I-plex.
I poked in briefly yesterday.... and will share a few things...
- Former Brandon Wheat Kings assistant coach Brad Wells is checking out the action. His 15 year-old son is here and playing well. His 16 year-old son is in Regina Pats camp. Wells now coaches a pretty successful program in the "AAA" Brandon Wheat Kings.
- There's a real good battle going on for some of the forward spots up for grabs. The battle won't be solved here. That will play out over the pre-season games. There's some 17 year-olds really trying to get the two or three spots.
- Grant Toulmin is really impressing me. He's come a LONG ways. His skating, his nose for the net, his hands... The only problem is the 19 year-old may have to crack the top six forwards in order to stay, and that's going to be a tall task amongst some of the Bronco veterans. A 19 year-old third liner usually isn't the way the league goes about their business.
Thanks to Jan Dalecky! The Czech players over the years have been amongst the nicest kids you will find... anywhere. Janny said to me in broken English "Jon, I have present... you come with me, I show." Janny presented a bottle of Czech Becherovka to me - a potent Czech concoction. Great in moderation you could say....
Over the years the Czech players have always gone out of their way to bring gifts back for staff and billets. Two years ago the Daniel Rakos family stopped up in the broadcast booth with one of those European horns you hear at hockey games overseas. It's kind like a giant kazoo. Blowing into that thing just reminds me so much of the sounds of the European game
and their crazy fans.
For most of the season, you are the parents connection to their son who is thousands of km's away on the other side of the planet. They tell stories of getting up at 3am to listen to the game on the internet. Now, with WHL Web TV they can watch the games while listening to the radio feed.
I sometimes forget about some of the WHL parents hanging on your every word.
The only time I think about the parents listening is when a player gets hurt. You realize they are probably trying to take in as much information as possible to gauge the severity of the injury to their son. In a serious case I'll try to get an update from the training staff between periods.
I remember one night in Medicine Hat, Jeff Harvey getting his wrist cut by a skate blade in the Broncos crease . Harvey was rushed off the ice under some huge concern. Minutes later the Broncos trainer emerged at ice level with a thumbs up to our broadcast booth - a way to say "he's ok". I appreciate things like like that.
With three weeks to a month away from our first broadcast everything seems to be coming together nicely. Our radio advertising packages have been well received this year and will likely be sold out early next week. The regular pre and post-game features are all sponsored again. There's a real buzz around the team in the community and our sales staff is doing a great job.
It could be one of the busiest years for me covering this team. I'm working on a weekly WHL radio show "WHL Around the Rink" with the help of some of the other broadcasters. The plan is to put together a weekly news and hi-light show which will be distributed to the rest of the WHL broadcasters for use in their intermissions or pre-game show. I've talked to most of the guys in Eastern Conference and a few out west and they all seem to be on board. I'll need their help for gathering interviews for the show's content. It's a long season and any type of quality intermission filler goes a long way.
On top of that, the local SHAW TV affiliate in Swift wants to do a weekly show dubbed "The Inside Edge". I'll be hosting the show which will air every Tuesday night and before Bronco games. It will include interviews, feature stories, highlights and some fun stuff. Christian from SHAW will be producing it and he will do a good job. Watch for it in the coming weeks.
Not to mention producing 72 radio pre-game shows at 30 minutes a pop, the morning sports run on four local radio stations and co-hosting the Eagle 94.1 FM morning show as one half of the "Breakfast Boys".
And don't forget about blog updates... another medium to keep up-to-date with the latest Broncos information.
I'm out of breath already.... so long summer. It was fun.