Saturday, October 04, 2008

Game Day in Cranbrook / Another Bronco Signs Deal

I'm camped here at the Heritage Inn on Cranbrook's main drag....just back from the rink after a quick team skate. A perfect time for some bloggin'.

The Broncos arrived late last night after departing practice. The trip wasn't without it's mishaps. Somewhere between Sparwood and Fernie we hit some uneven pavement and the bus jarred pretty good. The shock was enough to spiderweb one of the side windows on the drivers side near the middle. The window stayed in tact for the rest of the hour and half journey before our bus driver could get some attention to it. There has to be better ways to spend $1500 bucks you would think...

Factor in the window and the numerous wildlife on the highway and it was enough to make you pay attention. I've never been on a bus that's hit a deer or anything but have had several near misses.

The team is a confident bunch and the coaching staff no doubt appreciates where the team is in the standings at 5-0 to start the season. I have to admit it's nice to hit the road as the only undefeated team in the 'dub. This team doesn't seem to worry about who's next up on the schedule... they'll leave the worrying to the opposition at this point.

The guys have played hard and have given themselves a chance to win every night. Some of the games could have went either way, but the Broncos have come out on top... so far. These things have a way of evening out over the course of a season. It's the law of averages and no team can escape it.

The Broncos welcome 15 year-old 2nd round bantam pick Austin Smith into the fold tonight as a back-up goaltender to Mark Guggenberger. Smith, a Calgary native will be arriving just in time for face-off meaning the Broncos will likely only have one goalie on the ice for warm-up. Smith's team plays today and he will have to hustle to get here before face-off.

Smith had a good training camp and the Broncos are excited about his potential in the years to come. I think it's great he'll get a taste of the league tonight and tomorrow. Great experience and something to work towards.

20 year-old goaltender Travis Yonkman didn't make the trip. His status for next week is unknown but I don't expect back on the ice for at least another week, depending on what they do with his shoulder.

The Broncos morning skate drew a bit of a crowd. A handful of spectators watched from the concourse while Ice Head Coach Mark Hollick took it in from his perch in a corner seat high above the ice.

Both Mark and Ice General Manager Jeff Chynoweth will be our pre-game guests tonight. A lot to talk about with Jeff. There's a looming attendance issue for the team this season if the start is any indication. Also, Jeff will have the honour of speaking at the Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Toronto next month as his late father Ed goes into the Hall in the Builders category. Talk about the speech of a lifetime...

I didn't get an uneasy feeling walking into the Rec Plex this morning. In year's past it was like being fed to the wolves in this barn. The Broncos went through a stretch where they were winless in 10 in Cranbrook before finding some recent success. They've won two the last two of three meetings here.

It's nice to shake the feeling of "Buckner walking back into Shea Stadium" if you know what I mean.

I recorded our pre-game chat with Broncos/GM Dean Chynoweth before the morning skate. I asked him if these games against Kootenay mean more than just a regular one for him personally..

"Of course, I put lots on it. (laughing)..... the family cup is on the line here... I took my licks in the early years when I was with Seattle and it wasn't a lot of fun but the points is what's most important and getting our group to continue to move forward. I'm looking forward to tonight's game."

We're on the air tonight at 6:30pm with the pre-game show. Broncos Public Relations Director Keegan Goodrich has also made the trip with the team. He will join me for color commentary duties. He's pretty excited to hit the road this weekend... he'll do a good job over the two game stretch this weekend.


Another Bronco has signed a pro contract. I've spoken with defenseman Michael Wilson has signed with the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate Worchester Sharks. Great news for Mike who joins a growing list of Broncos from last year's team to sign a pro deal.

His team will take on the Hartford Wolfpack in a pre-season game this weekend. Hartford is where Dale Wiese is presently playing for.

Mike will be a pre-game show guest sometime next week. Congratulations are in order.

Wilson joins Levi Nelson (Boston), Dale Wiese (New York Rangers), and Zack Smith (Ottawa) who have now signed pro contracts from last year's team.

Erik Felde is still working for a contract with Peoria of the AHL - The Columbus Blue Jackets farm club.


Alright it's time to get some prep done for tonight's game and relax a little. Enjoy your Saturday...


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