Thursday, August 28, 2008

Broncos Sign Top Pick

Press Release:

Swift Current Broncos’ Head Coach and General Manager Dean Chynoweth announced the signing of Reece Scarlett, the Broncos first pick in the 2008 Bantam Draft.

Scarlett, 15 years old, from Sherwood Park, Alberta was the 12th over-all selection at last year’s draft. Scarlett, a 6’0” 150 pound defenseman, picked up 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points in 33 games for Sherwood Park in the AMBHL.

Chynoweth says "Reece has had an outstanding training camp. He is a quality
young man that we look forward to representing the Broncos in the future."


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Few Things...

- Not much on the Broncos news front today. The team is set to do what most teams are doing these days and announce the signing of a handful of players. The group of players includes one they think can step in right away and play this season. Look for an announcement late tomorrow or Friday. All the info will be on here....

- Former five year Bronco Luke Hunter is going to take a shot at pro hockey. The former team captain has signed with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the East Coast Hockey League. He's due to report at the beginning of October. The likable Hunter has been skating with the Broncos for some conditioning.

Last year Luke, along with his younger brother Dusty and older brother J.J. , completely tore up the local Whitemud Senior Hockey League with the Shaunavon Badgers. The Badgers won a league title and then the Hunter brothers helped neighbouring town Eastend capture a Provincial Senior title.

- The Swift Current Broncos have called their Annual General Meeting for Monday, September 22nd at the Recreation Centre lower lounge @ 7pm. The presentation of the 2007-08 financial statement will be released and nomination of directors will take place.

- I'm working on a neat little endeavor along with the Western Hockey League for the upcoming season. It's going to be a little extra work but I think the final product will be worth it. I'll have more details on that next week....


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just Blogging....

- I thought last night's Black / White game had the most intensity I've seen at camp so far. It was a game where 10 veterans were given the night off as the Broncos took a better look at their younger players.

There was some good hits and some physical play. Eric Doyle's hit on fellow veteran Derek Claffey was probably the biggest hit of the night. Doyle was sporting the full face-shield after taking a puck in the face Sunday and losing some teeth for his troubles.

- Zack Smith was one of the vets just watching. He mentioned to me how this could be the first camp without a single fight in a long time. He says when he was 15 or 16 the mentality was a lot different. Maybe it was just an off-year for that kind of stuff or maybe that's the direction the game is going more and more.

No one even looked at someone funny.

- Mark Guggenberger provided some entertainment in the Broncos Team White crease. His mini toe-drag around a forechecker late in the third period had lots of his teammates chuckling. He made sure I saw it.. " Keener, you see my toey in the third?" was his comment in the post-game wrap up.

- Both Guggenberger and Travis Yonkman were stellar, in fact all four goaltenders were outstanding. Austin Smith and Chad Ketting started the game for their respective sides.

Yonkman knows he's in a battle to be one of the three 20 year-old players this season.

"Really it's out of my control. As a goaltender usually it's pretty hard to stick as a 20 year-old but then again it does happen. All I can do is come to camp, work my hardest and try to earn my spot."

Yonkman didn't get a pro try-out this fall even after his playoff MVP performance for the Broncos last spring.

"I am a little disappointed that I didn't get a chance to go... just to get some experience. Then again, it's good motivation for myself to have a good year and try to go somewhere after that."

- A good crowd at the I-plex for the contest. The Bronco staff can sense a lot of excitement from fans around the team as they push closer towards 1600 season tickets. Even this blog is benefiting with over 500 hits from all over the league yesterday.


I won't be taking in the action at St. Albert for the pre-season tournament. Instead, I'll be in Regina this weekend taking in Labour Day football festivities. There's a group of us annually that make a weekend of it. This year our 60 tickets were snapped up in a matter of couple days.

It will be interesting to see Michael Bishop at the QB spot - the Riders 4th starting QB in seven games. He's always had a strong arm and can be mobile. The knock on him is that he makes poor decisions with the ball at times.

What a situation he walks into. A team that has lost two straight, a QB controversy and the Labour Day game to boot. Good luck.

White Doubles Black 4-2, Broncos Down to 35 on Roster

Geordie Wudrick's pair of third period goals helped Team White to a 4-2 win over Team Black in the Broncos annual Intersquad game.

Dale Wiese and Taylor Vause also scored in the game which saw about 10 veteran players get the night off.

Matt Tassone and '06 first rounder Christian Magnus scored in the loss.

Geordie Wudrick spoke after the game on his two goals.

" I was just kind of teasing them (Team Black) for the first two and half periods, I told Yonkman I would get a pair on him earlier. I got a little back-hand spin-a-rama that went five hole and then a little off the wrong side one-timer that slid past him.. I had to give it to him after that... absolutely."

Following the game, the Broncos re-assigned 13 players, including 15 year olds: Josh Derko (LW), Michael Lazo (LW), Nicco Digiovannantonio (C), Adam Lowry (C), Preston Amundson (C), Clayton Chingee (RW), Nathan Zimbaluk (LD), Graeme Craig (RD), and Brandon Bruce (RW). The 16 year olds are: Brendan Ritchie (D), Taylor Ernst (D), Brody Luhning (D) and Andrew Sullivan (F).

It puts their roster at 35 players heading into the Edmonton pre-season tournament this long weekend.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blue / White Game Tonight

The Broncos host their annual Blue and White Inter-squad game tonight @7pm from the Credit Union I-plex.

Broncos Head Coach and General Manager Dean Chynoweth says the roster will be shaved down to about 40 players for tonight's contest and then to about 30 following the game.

Training camp intensity has picked up as the sessions and scrimmages continued which is good to see. I didn't make it down to the rink yesterday for the two scrimmages but will be there tonight for the game and will put together some sort of a recap.

Just some notes...

Fitness testing results were posted the other day.

- Pound for pound, last year's captain Zack Smith is the strongest player in camp according to the bench press. Smith's bench weight x reps divided by body weight gave him the slight edge over defenseman Jesse Dudas.

- White men can't jump? Goaltender Travis Yonkman posted the highest vertical leap of all 80 in camp leaping 77 cm's from a standing position. Yonks is the last goaltender since Blake Grenier to take top honours in the fitness testing event.

Yonkman actually blew away the rest of the field. Cody Eakin and rookie Andrew Sullivan shared 2nd at 66cm's followed by Dale Wiese at 65cm.

- The veterans appear to have all returned in good shape. According to the numbers they all tested well. Body fat % ranged from just over 9% to about 14%.

- Mike Brown weighed in at a bigger, stronger 228 pounds, while Geordie Wudrick is up to a lean 214 and Jesse Dudas is at 219.


Saturday, August 23, 2008


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.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Training Camp Update

After 18 holes at the Chinook I caught the last two periods of the Broncos Gray vs White scrimmage in the evening...

It was my first chance to see the new and improved Grant Toulmin who is back with the Broncos trying to earn a spot after spending last season with the Prince George Spruce Kings in the BCHL.

His skating is better and he appears quicker. He's always had a heavy shot. If he plays physical and gets a bit greasy he has a chance of sticking I'm thinking.

"Last season (in the BCHL) I was able to play in all situations and got a lot of ice-time. It's made me more comfortable, I'm more relaxed with the puck. I've tried to work on my foot speed too." - Toulmin

We will see how camp progresses for the former 2nd round bantam pick.

- Bronco veterans took turns dominating the scrimmage session last night. Levi Nelson was going half-speed yet was still all over the ice. Nelson has nothing to prove at this camp, the signed 20 year-old will not be back this season. He combined with 17 year-old Jordan Peddle for the nicest goal of the night on pretty passing place which Peddle finished off. Jordan Peddle is one of the 17 year-olds getting a long look at this year's camp.

- Zack Smith and Cody Eakin took over a couple shifts too for Team Gray. Eric Doyle scored a nice goal off the rush firing the puck post and in from the bottom of the left circle. Doyle and Jesse Dudas would be a pretty good pairing on the Broncos first PP unit this season.

- Nice gesture by the scouts as they used exclusively 15 year-olds in the shootout to break a 3-3 tie in the end.

- Cody Eakin is still smiling after a gold medal at the U-18's at Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Cody is going to a be a good one for the Broncos this year and year's to come. Playing on a line last season with Justin Dowling and Geordie Wudrick, Eakin is hoping the three will be re-united to start the season.

"I hope so... that's what we left hoping. You never know but, we had a pretty successful end to the season playing together and if we're together that will be awesome but if not that's how she goes... we will deal with it."

I don't have much of a report on some of the younger players, although I was impressed with 15 year-old 7th round bantam pick Preston Admunson. Some of the people in the rink were also noticing 17 year-old Dillon Wagner. Wagner, who spent last season in the AJHL is also expected to have a decent chance of making the team.

Personally I think the tempo and physical play needs to be turned up a notch. I didn't see much jam or enthusiasm in the evening scrimmage until the last couple minutes as the teams tried to break a 3-3 draw. Im thinking the message from the scouts and coaching staff may be just that heading into the weekend. There's a lot of spots on the line and tip-toeing around isn't going to get it done.

Here's today's schedule:

Friday August 22

7:30-8:30 Practice Team Trottier
8:30-8:45 Goaltenders Team Trottier
9:00-10:00 Practice Team Ruskowski
10:00-10:15 Goaltenders Team Ruskowski
10:30-11:30 Practice Team Tiger
11:30-11:45 Goaltenders Team Tiger
12:00-1:00 Practice Team Sakic
1:00-1:15 Goaltenders Team Sakic

4:00PM Game: 3 Team Ruskowski vs Team Trottier
7:00PM Game: 4 Team Tiger vs Team Sakic


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wiese Ready To Lead **Update**

*** Just caught Team Trottier's (Red) practice this morning.

- F - Taylor Vause is skating well and looking good. Looks like a veteran despite only seeing a handful of games on a call-up basis last year. Thanks to his dad Dean who is already passing out cookies to those watching. Mmm, double chocolate.

- D- Jesse Dudas means business this year. I've heard he's in great shape and ready to make an impression in his final season. He was on the ice this morning and looking solid. He would be the anchor back there if the Broncos choose to use a 20 year-old spot on him.

- F - Keegan Dansereau amazes me out there. His sweet hands were on display on a couple of occasions. Reportedly in good shape, Dansereau will make a good case for himself to be here as another 20 year-old. I would hate to see the Broncos play against this guy. Could be the marquee shoot-out guy in the Eastern Conference this season along with Jordan Eberle in Regina.

- F - 17 year-old rookie Blaze Bruyer caught my attention this morning. The 6'4 195lb forward looks like he has some good tools. We will see how he progresses in camp and in the scrimmages.


Veteran Broncos forward Dale Wiese spoke yesterday to reporters outside the Broncos dressing room following a workout.

Here's the transcript:

JK: Back in Swift for another year, I'm sure it doesn't take you very long to fall into the routine.

Dale: It's always an exciting time. To see the old faces, and some of the new prospects and to see the coaching staff... I'm glad to be back.

JK: What's it like to get back on the I-plex ice?

Dale: It's always great to be back in this rink, it's definitely my favorite barn in the league for sure. You just remember some of the times you've had here and the exciting playoff run last spring. It's nice to get out with some of these rookies, it's real exciting.

JK: Seems like only yesterday when you scored that double overtime goal against the Pats in game four and the empty-netter you put away to seal the deal against them in game six which sent our fans into a frenzy....

Dale: That was the most exciting time of my hockey career for sure... to score that OT goal to even the series at two and to put the empty netter away... it does feel like yesterday. I rolled into town and I was like "wow" it does just feel like the other day, the summer just flew by. I'm excited to be here, it's going to be a good camp with lots of rookies pushing for spots and I want to be involved.

JK: Where you play this season either here or pro hockey is still up in the air... if you are here and they come to you with the captain's "C" with Zack Smith going into the Senators system, is that a role you would be willing to take on?

Dale: If I came back, I wouldn't put anything less on me. I think I'm ready to take over from Zack Smith. I've learned in the past from guys like Myles Rumsey and Luke Hunter who are absolute role models.

If I have to come back and play here I wouldn't be upset at all. I'm excited to be here, I love the team and the coaching staff, the city.... I'll be really excited to come back and get the opportunity.

JK: What's the contract situation with the Rangers and a contract?

Dale: It's really up in the air right now, I guess it's 50/50. I've talked to my agent a couple times. I just want to go into Rangers camp and make it hard on them. If you play well they will have to make room for you, just like at the WHL level.


I would like to post daily updates from camp but I'm not sure I'll be there on a consistent basis. It still feels like summer for the time being and there's plenty of other things on the go.

I'll try to make some observations throughout the weekend if I catch a scrimmage. I'll for sure be at the inter-sqaud game Sunday afternoon and post following.

Here's today's camp schedule:

7:30-8:30 Practice Team Sakic
8:30-8:45 Goaltenders Team Sakic
9:00-10:00 Practice Team Trottier
10:00-10:15 Goaltenders Team Trottier
10:30-11:30 Practice Team Ruskowski
11:30-11:45 Goaltenders Team Ruskowski
12:00-1:00 Practice Team Tiger
1:00-1:15 Goaltenders Team Tiger

4:00PM Game: 1 Team Sakic vs. Team Trottier
7:00PM Game: 2 Team Ruskowski vs. Team Tiger


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chynoweth Gives Training Camp Preview

Like every year, there is a lot of questions heading into this year's training camp. I had a chance to ask Broncos Head Coach and General Manager Dean Chynoweth most of them in a recent interview. Where the competition for spots will be, what's the 20 year-old situation going to look like and what player's he's excited to see take the next step....

Here's the transcript....

JK: Training camp is here... it's the time of year isn't it....

Chynoweth: It's exciting. It's the time of year where you have had enough summer and everybody is anxious to get on the ice. You see it with the kids coming back in good shape looking for some early ice or working out at the hockey school and skating at night... it's a good time of the year.

JK: Where do you see the battles at training camp forming? There's a lot of questions as to whether the rookies can fill the void of some of the departing players.

Chynoweth: Up front, there is potentially a lot of graduating players. There's a group of 16 year-olds and a real group of 17's that are all competing for limited spots. We like the progress of all of our guys and to get them back in this environment the battle up front will be an exciting one to watch.

On the back-end, depending on who we return there, there's a couple 16's and a 17 (year-olds) that also will be competing for limited spots.

JK: Over your time here there's always been that statement heading into training camp of some of the veterans being pushed for spots by some of the younger players. Is that the case this season?

Chynoweth: I don't think that's as big as issue as it's been in previous years. I think we've taken a step in the right direction in our organization and the kids coming back know what they need to do.

The biggest thing is the 2nd year guys to not have the sophomore jinx type thing and wondering why things aren't going there way and not doing the work necessary. Players always think it's going to be easier because they are a year older and that's just not the case, it doesn't work that way.

We're going have to refresh everybody of how we played and the commitments we made last year to get where we need to. Right now everyone is anxious and once we settle into camp and our feet hit the ground I think it will fall into place.

JK: I wouldn't call it a dilemma at the 20 year-old spot, and maybe it's a good problem to have. But it's too many bodies and not enough spots. Where does it stand right now?

Chynoweth: It doesn't stand anywhere until we get those guys back. We have a number of those guys going to NHL training camps. It's a situation that I've been through before and I'm fairly familiar with the process from the NHL teams when or if the players are coming back. We will be well into the season before we have an idea of how that's going to play out.

JK: All the potential 20 year-old scenarios.... there's a lot of them. Is it something you're losing sleep over thinking about what three will be a part of this group?

Chynoweth: No, I learned a long time ago those are things that are out of your control so there is no sense wasting your time and energy over that. I've been more focused on seeing our young drafts and listed players. I'm more anxious to see where some of those young kids are at and obviously some of the returning guys and how they come back.

JK: Have you been fielding calls about your group of 20's from other G.M's? There isn't an abundance of 20's out there, some teams need to fill two or maybe all three of their spots. Are you getting some interest?

Chynoweth: I had a lot of calls at the end of last season of what our plans may be and have taken a few calls but other than a brief discussion there isn't much to be said until things play out and we see who's back and what position they're at.

JK: There was a group of players at the end of the season who really stepped forward like Cody Eakin, Justin Dowling, Matt Tassone... who should the fans be excited about this season?

Chynoweth: You're right those players all seem ready to take the next step... the other guy for me is Geordie Wudrick. I think we've only seen the tip of the iceberg with him. I think he's going to play an integral part of our hockey team and is a big powerful forward. He hasn't quite put up the numbers that some would have expected to this point but he's a hard-working, good kid and he's a guy we're going to look to for some production and to provide that element.

JK: As far as leadership goes, with the potential return of Dale Wiese... is the captain's "C" his to lose with the departure of Zack Smith to the pro ranks?

Chynoweth: That has to still play out again. Everybody keeps saying he's back or will be back more than likely... I still don't think that's the case.

I think he's in great shape and had a real strong Rangers development camp. Once he goes back and the Rangers see him I wouldn't be surprised if they try to make room or have to make room for him.

I would take him back obviously with open arms. I think he's made humongous strides from the day we got him to where he is today and that's very rewarding. To have him back would be great but we're in the business of developing players and if he moves on that's great for him.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Broncos Sending 11 to NHL Camps

The Swift Current Broncos will be well represented at NHL camps in the coming weeks.

Including graduating players, the Broncos will send 11 to camps across North America. Here is where they're headed:

Michael Wilson - San Jose - free agent try-out
Erik Felde - Columbus - free agent try-out
Zack Smith - Ottawa - drafted and signed by Senators
Levi Nelson - Boston - drafted and signed by Bruins
Dale Wiese - New York Rangers - drafted
Jesse Dudas - Edmonton - free agent try-out
Eric Doyle - Minnesota - free agent try-out
Keegan Dansereau - Columbus - free agent try-out
Ryan Molle - New Jersey - drafted
Geordie Wudrick - L.A. - drafted
Matt Tassone - Dallas - drafted

11 players off to NHL camps definitely reflects well on the organization. Good luck to the players heading off shortly.


Meanwhile, Bronco rookies will be on the ice today for a couple of sessions a day before main camp opens with registration.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Swift Current to Host Canada-Russia Challenge Game

Swift Current To Host ADT Challenge

The Swift Current Broncos are pleased to announce that the city of Swift Current and the Broncos organization have been awarded the ADT Challenge on November the 26th at the Credit Union i-plex.

The game features some of the best junior players in the world, as the WHL will host the Russian Junior Team. The game will be featured on National Television, carried by Rogers Sportsnet.

Chairman of the Broncos’ Board Joe Arling says: “We are thrilled to be given a chance to host an event of International exposure. This is a great opportunity for the city of Swift Current and the entire region of Southwest Saskatchewan to have our moment in the sun.”

The completion of the renovations on the Credit Union i-plex gave Swift Current a opportunity to hold an event of this caliber.

Arling adds: “We are pleased that following the efforts of many involved, we can hold an event of this nature so soon after the upgrades to our facility were completed”.

The exhibition contest will have the best under 20’s showcase their talent for the upcoming World Junior Tournament in Ottawa. It is a chance for the fans to see the best Western Hockey League and Russian players showcase their skills. This will be the most significant International Hockey Event to come to Swift Current.

Swift Current is one of only 6 Canadian Hockey League markets that will host the event this year.

The Challenge starts November 17th in Quebec with each CHL league hosting two games. Prince Albert hosts the other game featuring the WHL.

Information on tickets will be released in the next couple of weeks.

Training Camp Schedule / Telford's Travels

Although rookies and list players show up this evening for orientation, Bronco returning players will report Wednesday.

Several of the vets are already in the city helping out with the hockey school or getting reacquainted with their winter home. Here's a schedule for those looking to check out training camp later this week.

2008 Broncos On Ice Training Camp Schedule

Thursday, August 21
7:30-8:30 Practice Team Sakic
8:30-8:45 Goaltenders Team Sakic
9:00-10:00 Practice Team Trottier
10:00-10:15 Goaltenders Team Trottier
10:30-11:30 Practice Team Ruskowski
11:30-11:45 Goaltenders Team Ruskowski
12:00-1:00 Practice Team Tiger
1:00-1:15 Goaltenders Team Tiger

4:00PM Game: 1 Team Sakic vs. Team Trottier
7:00PM Game: 2 Team Ruskowski vs. Team Tiger

Friday August 22
7:30-8:30 Practice Team Trottier
8:30-8:45 Goaltenders Team Trottier
9:00-10:00 Practice Team Ruskowski
10:00-10:15 Goaltenders Team Ruskowski
10:30-11:30 Practice Team Tiger
11:30-11:45 Goaltenders Team Tiger
12:00-1:00 Practice Team Sakic
1:00-1:15 Goaltenders Team Sakic

4:00PM Game: 3 Team Ruskowski vs Team Trottier
7:00PM Game: 4 Team Tiger vs Team Sakic

Saturday August 23
7:30-8:30 Practice Team Tiger
8:30-8:45 Goaltenders Team Tiger
9:00-10:00 Practice Team Trottier
10:00-10:15 Goaltenders Team Trottier
10:30-11:30 Practice Team Sakic
11:30-11:45 Goaltenders Team Sakic
12:00-1:00 Practice Team Ruskowski
1:00-1:15 Goaltenders Team Ruskowski

4:00PM Game: 5 Team Trottier vs Team Tiger
7:00PM Game: 6 Team Ruskowski vs Team Sakic

Sunday August 24
10:00AM Consolation Final

2:30PM Championship Final


Speaking of training camp... remember Graham Telford? Want to know what the last four years have been like for him?

The towering Broncos forward was brought into camp for his 16 year-old hockey season. We gave him the handle Graham "The Real Deal" Telford for his fisticuffs prowess. He was always a willing combatant and got into a few tussles at main camp - including one with Dane Crowley in the Blue/White inter-squad game (in which Telford finished 2nd in)

He even played in five games just before Christmas due to a rash of injuries on the Broncos B.C. swing. Never the most gifted player, Telford always showed a lot of heart which allowed him to play a handful of games at the WHL level.

Four years.... and now 14 teams later!

Telford is due to play this season in Miramichi in New Brunswick to begin his 19 year-old season. It will be his 14th team in his junior career, 13 with a junior club, another with a senior men's team in his hometown of Williams Lake, BC.

Here's a list of his stops along the way including hockey age and team:

15 Princeton Posse - Kootenay Int. Junior "B"
16 Kimberley Dynamiters - Kootenay Int. Junior "B"
16 Creston Thundercats - Kootenay Int. Junior "B"
16 Quesnel Millionares =- BCHL Junior "A"
16 Swift Current Broncos - WHL
17 Williams Lake Timberwolves - BCHL
17 Castlegar Rebels - Kootenay Int. Junior "B"
17 Sicamous Eagles - Kootenay Int. Junior "B"
18 Calgary Hitmen - WHL
18 Drummondville Voltiguers - Quebec Major Junior
18 Williams Lake Stampeders - CIHL Senior Mens
18 Penticon Vees - BCHL
18 Summerland Sting - Kootenay International
19 Miramichi Timberwolves - Maritime Junior "A"

It's been quite the ride for Telford. Could this be some type of record? It's worth looking into. A great kid, here's hoping Telford's travels are a little less in his last two years of junior eligibility.


The Broncos have a major announcement for later this morning. Check back for all the details.

Have a great day,


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.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Blogger Vacation....

This pic has been making it's way on the e-mail forwards today... about sums up the current injury situation for the Riders.

A bunch of us took in the game in Regina last night. For three quarters of football it was one of the poorest Rider showings I have seen live. They made a game of it in the 4th, and got some exctitement going at Mosiac Stadium.

They were due for a letdown game, I just don't want it to be when I'm there. Better last night than Labour Day when 60 to 80 of us will take in the contest as a group. That's promising to be fun as always.

I won't go into game details, there's plenty of blogs out there to break down what happened and what didn't happen.... but give credit to Calgary. They executed their offense quite efficiently in the first half. A near flawless performance that had the Riders guessing and being dominated at the line of scrimmage.


I have a week off will likely not be blog posting during that time. After the week of holidays are up, Broncos camp opens full swing and I'll be posting on a regular basis then....

Hockey season is almost here....


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Training Camp Bible - Part Two

Last week it was a look at some of the 15, 16 and 17 year-olds attending Broncos training camp. This week it's a glance at some of the veterans rolling into town in less than two weeks time.

1990's - 18 year-olds

This is perhaps the age group where the Broncos have made the biggest transition in regards to what they drafted in 2005 to what they have now. Of the 1990 bantam draft, only 1st rounder Geordie Wudrick is on the current roster.

The Broncos traded Ian Curtis (PG), Phil Gervais (Edm), Jordan Mistelbacher (Evt), Kris Foucault (Koot), and lost Clayton Cumiskey in the Edmonton Oil Kings Expansion draft.

Here's a rundown of what the Broncos return:

F- Geordie Wudrick - the 4th round pick of the L.A. Kings this summer will be looking to take the next step in his junior hockey career.

A gifted, big-bodied player who is looking for a break-out season. I don't think Geordie will ever be a top goal-scorer in the league but he will provide the team with a stable presence who can play in all situations. Geordie can score, but he may provide more of a support role for linemates Cody Eakin and Justin Dowling if the Broncos choose to keep that line together that was so productive in the playoffs. Regardless, he will be a major part of this year's team.

F - Justin Dowling - A former top scorer in the Alberta "AAA" midget league, we saw flashes of how talented he is at times last season. A head-turning playoffs should be the jump Dowling needs to get off to a strong start this season. He has a lot of offensive upside and a lot of people around the team are excited about his sophmore season in the WHL including me. His rookie season saw him collect 27 points. He should look to nearly double that output this season barring injury.

F - Jan Dalecky, - The 2nd year Broncos import from the Czech Republic is a player I'm really excited to see in an expanded role. Dalecky is a hard worker and good skater He works incredibly well along the boards and off the cycle. Pound for pound might be the strongest puck possession player on the team. You can see his talent. A year in the WHL under his belt should help the likable Dalecky have a productive season.

F - Mike Brown. The Calgary native is a favorite amongst his teammates. Brown is a thick, strong kid who did well in his 4th line role last season. Brown, who battled injuries will come into camp knowing what to expect. He will be pushed by some of the younger players this season but should be up for the challenge.

The Broncos do not have any 1990 d-men. I'm thinking it's probably on their wish list. If there is a trade in the works I would expect the Broncos would be getting one somewhere in the mix. If history tells us anything with G.M. Head Coach Dean Chynoweth, there's always a mini blockbuster the first week into the season.

1989's - 19 year-olds

Where the Broncos lack a 1990 d-men, they make up for it in their crop of 89's. So much so they felt Paul Postma was expendable in that big deal with Calgary to begin last season involving Kyle Bortis, Keegan Danereau and Erik Felde.

D - Eric Doyle - Look for Eric to be the man this season in his 4th year in the league. He will QB the powerplay and play key minutes, He's sure to add plenty of offense from the back-end. His 49 points last season was the offensive output the Broncos were looking for. Doyle will be one of the leaders on the team.

D - Ryan Molle - The New Jersey Devils 7th round pick will be a rock on the back-end this season. Look for a little more offense although he won't be relied on for that aspect. Primarily a shutdown d-man, look for Molle to see more time on the PP.

D - Derek Claffey - The Broncos defensive anchor. The Red Deer native excels in his own zone. He's going to be looked upon as a leader with this team once again. Bronco fans are looking forward to Claffey being the " Myles Rumsey type" but with more offensive prowess.

F - Grant Toulmin - Yes former 2nd round bantam pick Grant Toulmin will be back at Broncos training camp this season after a year in BCHL. He's excited to try and make an impact any way possible. Another good character player who wants to be more of a physical presence. We may see more of the rough and tumble side our fans were clamouring for out of Grant. Could add more offense than in years past. It will be interesting to see what a year of junior "A" did for him. He has a good attitude, and that's always a solid base to work with.

F- Matt Tassone - Last year's most improved player, now an NHL draft pick of the Dallas Stars (6th round). What a year for Matt Tassone who was fired up right out of last year's training camp. Look for more of the same from the native of Sherwood Park. Fans should be excited for the type of season Matt could have. He will score this season and be a big part of the offense. Look for a 25-30 goal season while providing some grit and toughness along the way.

G - Mark Guggenberger - A good pick-up from Portland at last year's trade deadline. Guggenberger had some astonishing numbers as a Bronco last season including a GAA of 2.59 and a save % of .917. His four shutouts in 14 appearances made a name for himself. It's just a matter of what mindset the goaltender will come in with this season.

With Travis Yonkman the favorite to see the bulk of the workload, do the Broncos have room for a 19 year-old back-up? Guggenberger has all the tools to be an elite goaltender in this league and turn pro. Can he make the most of it?

1988's - 20 year-olds

The Broncos have an
elite group of 1988's. So much so that a lot of their tough decisions will be out of their hands with the prospects of several playing pro. The Broncos should have among the best group of 20's in the league this season.

Here's who may or may not be back. Remember, after the first week in October, the Broncos can only have three 1988 born players on their roster.

F - Levi Nelson - Already signed with Boston, Levi will more than likely play pro in Providence of the AHL this year Nelson will be at Broncos training camp, but strictly on a conditioning basis. He may play in some pre-season games but I'm not sure he will. He told me he would love to but I don't know what good it would do either him or the Broncos. I'll be keeping a close eye on Nelson this next season in the pro ranks and wish him all the best. Thanks for an exciting three seasons in a Broncos jersey.

F - Dale Wiese - The New Rangers draft pick could be back this season due to a lack of room in the Rangers system. Nearing their 50 contract max, the Rangers may really like Dale but won't be able to do much about it. Dale has already taken on the mindset that he will spend another year of junior hockey. If he does play this year with the Broncos look for him to be a dominant power forward. The selfish part of me wants to see Dale in a Broncos jersey but if he signs and isn't back then that's great for him. Potential Broncos captain candidate.

F - Spencer McAvoy - One of my favorites since coming over in a trade with the Tigers in his 17 year-old season, Spencer will be hard up for a spot with such an elite age group. He knows it but will come to camp and compete hard anyways. The versatile F/D will be a 20 year-old in the league somewhere if not with the Broncos.

F - Keegan Dansereau - Maybe one of the most skilled players to come through the team in awhile, the Broncos will have a tough decision to make here. Dansereau can be a dominant player in this league and has the ability to compete for scoring title. Dansereau garnered some attention for playoff MVP with the post-season he had.

This will go either two ways. Either he stays with the Broncos and is a key, top line player or he will be traded to a team looking to make a long playoff run. He could be that key ingredient either as a Bronco or go-to veteran on a team like Kelowna or Spokane - two teams out west expected to compete for a WHL championship. If he stays or goes, Keegan will be motivated to play for a pro-contract in his final season in the WHL.

F - Zack Smith - The more I break down the 1988's the more I'm impressed with the Broncos potential group. Don't expect the Senators 3rd round pick to be back in the Broncos mix. Although he hasn't signed with the Ottawa Senators, it sounds like only a matter of time. The Sens have plans for him in the AHL and pretty much said that point blank when they drafted the Maple Creek native in June.

Last year's captain can play any way you want to play. Speed and finesse or rough and tumble. The complete package means big things for Zack's future. He could be back, but I would render a guess of about a 10% chance.

D - Jesse Dudas - Air-lifted out of a tough situation in Prince George at last year's trade deadline, Dudas may be deemed a key on the Broncos back-end this year. The Broncos may need his services with the departure of graduates Michael Wilson and Bretton Stamler.

Injuries have always plagued the defenseman but what a package Dudas brings to the table. An Aaron Rome type player, Dudas can do it all when healthy. Hit, fight, score, QB a powerplay, and shutdown the other team's top line.

Passed over by Columbus after being drafted in 2006, Dudas is a free-agent again. He'll want to prove the Jackets wrong this season.

G - Travis Yonkman - Haven't heard if Yonks will get an NHL try-out this fall but definitely deserves one after the playoffs he had. It feels like only yesterday when he robbed Regina's Jordan Eberle with the stick paddle in OT to turn the series around. Or save after miraculous save in the triple OT game against the Calgary Hitmen.

His regular season wasn't too shabby either going 31-19-0-6 with a GAA of 2.67 and a save % of .909 in 57 appearances.

Many people think he will be here this season to play over 60 games in the Broncos crease. I'm thinking those people are probably right. Yonks is excited about coming back to Swift Current for his 20 year-old season to be that rock they will need between the pipes.

Excited for the season yet?

See you at the rink,


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Eakin Makes National U-18 Team

Broncos forward Cody Eakin was one of ten WHL'ers named to Canada's U-18 team for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Congrats Cody! A complete roster can be seen


Sakic Safe... Barely.

Is there any other way to describe Joe Sakic other than a living legend?

The long time NHL'er and former Swift Current Bronco has done so much for the game and this country (think of Salt Lake City vs the U.S.) and has the utmost respect in any hockey circle.

Joe was back in Swift the last few days visiting his in-laws. Although he keeps a very low profile when in town, I managed to run into him by accident at the Chinook Golf Course Friday morning.

It was General Manager John Gaudet that pointed him out on the first tee as he got ready to play with his kids and father in-law. I would have been none-the-wiser if not for Gaudet.

Having only ever spoken to Joe on the phone, I took the chance to quickly come over from the adjacent driving range and say hello.

He was interested to find out when Broncos camp opened and what their prospects for this season looked like. Of course, the big question surrounding Joe is whether he's going to play another season in the NHL.

The reporter instinct in me broke into that aspect. Safe to say he's going to likely give it another go. Why not? He's still near the top of his game.

"September 18th"

That was his response when I asked him when he had to report for Avalanche training camp. You don't think he's coming back? Sounds like a sure bet you'll see him for at least another season.

I let them get their round under way and went to finish off what was left of my small bucket before our tee-time just minutes after their departure.

As I stood over my last few balls - and with only a mesh fence separating the driving range and the first fairway, I thought to myself. "Don't yank one left and take out Joe ya dumb-dumb".

My heart rate immediately jumped thinking to myself "what if?" I peered to my left to see the group down the middle of the fairway about 190 yards and on the move.... and me with the often sprayed Nike Sasquatch in tow.

I let one buck... feeling my bottom hand turn over at impact... NO!

It was hard and ducking left!

"Get Down!" I yelled to my yellow Srixon range ball.

It spun wildly and on a collision a heat seeking missile to it's target... I gulped and watched helplessly... eyes on the ball, the fence, the Sakic foursome....

I watched... as the ball just caught the top of the mesh fence and fell harmlessly to the ground.

What a relief.

My knees were weak from what might have been.

I took a step back... a breather if you will.

I returned back over my ball but this time turned almost 90 degrees and started hitting in the complete opposition direction.

I thought of TSN's James Duthie and his recent blog post about having a close encounter with Wayne and Walter Gretzky at Gretzky's charity golf event. He managed to almost take out the famous father-son duo on TWO separate occasions.

Joe made it down the first fairway unscathed. For that I was grateful.


Swift Current and Regina get set for another playoff series - this time on the ball diamond.

The local Indians ball club now has a date with the Red Sox in the 2nd round of playoffs. The Indians disposed of Yorkton in a three-game opening round sweep while Regina took out Melville in four.

The Tribe won all three regular season contests over the Red Sox. Game one is likely Thursday night at Mitchell Field. Game-time 7:05pm.


Another Saskatchewan moment Saturday night...

Camping this weekend, we were all pumped about watching the Riders game at the campsite.

We weren't alone. EVERYONE was watching / listening at Katepwa Lake and that was evident by the loud cheers resonating from the campground every time the Riders made a big play.

A roar came up when the Riders stuffed Joffrey Reynolds on that third and one late in the 4th quarter.

Rider cheers could be heard all over as the Green and White held on to the 22-20 win to run their record to 6 and 0.

This season has been so much fun.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Stouffer Loses Battle With Cancer

The Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings are in mourning today following the passing of former athletic trainer Rob Stouffer.

A Brandon product, Stouffer died Wednesday after a lengthy battle with liver cancer.

He is survived by his wife Maria and son Logan.

“We’re really disappointed to lose Rob,” Wheat Kings’ general manager and head coach Kelly McCrimmon told Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun. “He was a great friend and a real important part of our organization for a long time. It was obvious with his battle with cancer that this time could come and yet it’s really sad to lose him.”

A former trainer with the Brandon University Bobcats, “Stofe” joined the Wheat Kings in the summer of 2000 and was a valuable member of the organization for seven years, before taking a leave of absence last year due to his illness.

During his tenure in Brandon, he emerged as one of the most respected athletic trainers in Canadian major junior hockey.

“Rob enjoyed people and he cared about people. He was real well suited for the line of work that he chose,” added McCrimmon. “I know that he had a lot of impact on the players that he was around during his time in our organization, not only in terms of what their immediate needs might be medically, but I think just in terms of being a friend and a person that they could talk to as well.”

Rob’s funeral will be held on Wednesday, August 6th at 2 p.m. in Brandon’s Central United Church, located at 327 8th Street.


I crossed paths with Stouff on a few occasions. Usually we would pull into Brandon at 4am after a game in Moose Jaw or Regina. He was always there to greet the weary eyed travellers after a six hour bus ride through the night.

He was always pleasant to us and was one of the best hosts for the visiting team on the circuit.

The Trainers/Athletic Therapists are a pretty close group and do their best to take care of each others needs. This one will hit that group hard.