I'll admit it, I'm getting pretty excited about tomorrow night's ADT Canada Russia Challenge at the Credit Union I-plex.
Just watching game four of the event in St. Catherine's, ON last night added the extra element for me. Team OHL deafeated the Russians 3-2 giving the CHL teams a 3-1 series advantage.
For a lot of markets in the WHL there's a "been there, done that" vibe when it comes to the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge but for Swift Current it's still all shiny and new.
The local team, the Niagara Ice Dogs were represented by two players. It no doubt added to the experience for the hometown fans last night. The fact the Broncos are not represented in tomorrow night's game is a big reason for discontent personally. It's the only thing missing from an otherwise slick production.
In fact the more I think about it, how could there not be a player from the Broncos on the roster? From a marketing, fan relations and entertainment aspect it's makes perfect sense. Usually the CHL is pretty savvy in this regard.
The roster has more to do with Hockey Canada than the CHL I'm assuming.
Also, I would take the Broncos Eric Doyle over almost all the defenseman on the Team WHL roster, forget about the hometown charity factor.
It's not going to happen unless there is a sickness, injury or travel connection issue for the out of town players
Realizing this, I think an extra effort was made to have a special ceremony before the game to honour the Four Broncos who passed away back in 1986 with the Broncos Bus Crash.
Honorary captain Darren Kruger will also help give the night a local feel.
It's going to be a great show... and we're proud to be the only radio station carrying one of the six games in the series. We're on the air at 6:30pm with an extended pre-game show. Face-off should be around 7:17pm after the pre-game ceremonies conclude.
Rogers Sportsnet will carry the game. Gene Principe will provide the play-by-play along with colorman Sam Cosentino. Louis Jean will be used as the Game Host.
I shared a flight with Gene to Columbus, OH for the NHL draft a couple years back. He covers the Oilers like a blanket and is a real friendly guy. Make sure you welcome him into our city.
I've never met Sam Cosentino but he knows his stuff. He can do it all from hockey to baseball broadcasts. I'm looking forward to meeting him.
Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler will join our broadcast team for a period or two tomorrow night. He will provide the "Dennis Miller" factor.
Tim Tisdale will be on board will be at ice level beside the Team WHL bench for a large portion of the game as well.
The former WHL coach will grab some end of period interviews with the Team WHL Coaching staff.
How will our fans react to some of the rival WHL players tomorrow night?
Regina Pats D Colten Teubert hasn't exactly been a fan favorite the last couple of seasons inside the Credit Union I-plex. I'm sure he will get a spattering of boos when he's introduced in the pre-game ceremonies.
Other than Teubert, I don't think there's another player on the roster who our fans would have a history with.
I think it's a great chance to cheer for these guys for a change. Including Jordan Eberle of the Pats who is a class act both on and off the ice and is one of the biggest snipers you will find in the CHL, end of story.
There's a handful of Saskatchewan-born players to get behind too including Dustin Tokarski, Jared Cowen, Joel Broda, Jason Bast, Keith Aulie, Matt Calvert, Brayden Schenn and Eberle.
At last check there were some tickets left for the game. They are $25 dollars apiece but will jump in price tomorrow.
Some of the WHL and CHL dignitaries arrive later today. Team WHL Players and the Russians also arrive later today.
There's a pre-game skate set for both teams late tomorrow morning/afternoon.