Thursday, October 30, 2008
Despite the lack of some local flavour (besides Dean Chynoweth), the roster is very impressive which includes seven first round NHL picks and our fans are in for a treat.
Here's the news release from the WHL:
CALGARY, AB – The Canadian Hockey League and the Western Hockey League today announced the players and coaching staff competing in the 2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge for Team WHL.
The sixth annual ADT Canada Russia Challenge will take place November 17th to 27th, 2008 in Canada as Canadian Hockey League All-Star Teams, from each of its three member Leagues (WHL, OHL and QMJHL), take on the Russian National Junior Team in a six game series.Team WHL was selected by a special committee of WHL General Managers along with Al Murray, Hockey Canada’s Head Scout for the Canadian National Junior Team, as part of the selection process for the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships.
The complete Team WHL roster consists of 25 players – two goalies, eight defenceman and 15 forwards. Top NHL prospects for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft including Brayden Schenn (Brandon Wheat Kings), Jared Cowen (Spokane Chiefs) and Evander Kane (Vancouver Giants) will compete in the series along with seven first round draft picks from the 2008 NHL Entry including Kyle Beach (Everett Silvertips), Tyler Myers (Kelowna Rockets) and Colten Teubert (Regina Pats).The two WHL games will be hosted in the province of Saskatchewan by the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday, November 26th and the Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday, November 27th.
Game tickets are available at the Prince Albert Raiders office (306) 764-4263 and at the Swift Current Broncos office (306) 773-1509 Ext. 1.Since the introduction of the ADT Canada Russia Challenge in 2003, Team WHL has posted a 9-1 record against the Russian National Junior Team, outscoring their opponent 52-17. Overall the Canadian Hockey League has a 25-5 record during the ADT Canada Russia Challenge.
The WHL also announced today that Canadian National Junior Team Assistant Coach Willie Desjardins of the Medicine Hat Tigers will serve as Head Coach while the 2007-08 WHL Coach of the Year Don Nachbaur, of the Tri-City Americans, will act as Assistant Coach. Also, Broncos General Manager/Head Coach Dean Chynoweth will be an Assistant Coach during the Swift Current game and Raiders General Manager/Head Coach Bruno Campese will serve as Assistant Coach for the Prince Albert game.
“We are looking forward to bringing this major international series to two of our long standing small markets in Saskatchewan,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison, “It is the only time our top Canadian Players in the WHL have the opportunity to compete against their historic rivals from Russia.”
Last year the CHL posted a 4-2 record during the series and have won the past five ADT Canada Russia Challenges which has coincided with the Canadian National Junior Team going on to win four straight gold medals at the World Junior Championship.2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge
Schedule of Games
Game 1 – Monday, November 17 in Sydney, NS
Game 2 – Wednesday, November 19 in Saint John, NB
Game 3 – Thursday, November 20 in Guelph, ON
Game 4 – Monday, November 24 in St. Catherines, ON
Game 5 – Wednesday, November 26 in Swift Current, SK
Game 6 – Thursday, November 27 in Prince Albert, SK
All six games will be broadcast nationally on Rogers Sportsnet with RDS televising both games from the QMJHL.The following is the list of WHL players participating in the 2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge:
Bast, Jason Moose Jaw Moose Jaw, SK
Beach, Kyle* Everett Kelowna, BC
Benn, Jamie Kelowna Victoria, BC
Boychuk, Zach* Lethbridge Airdrie, AB
Broda, Joel Moose Jaw Prince Albert, SK
Calvert, Matt Brandon Brandon, MB
Eberle, Jordan* Regina Regina, SK
Ennis, Tyler* Medicine Hat Edmonton, AB
Kane, Evander** Vancouver Vancouver, BC
Kozun, Brandon Calgary Calgary, AB
Sceviour, Colton Lethbridge Red Deer, AB
Schenn, Braydon** Brandon Saskatoon, SK
Sonne, Brett Calgary Maple Ridge, BC
Sylvester, Dustin Kootenay Kelowna, BC
Tyrell, Dana Prince George Airdire, AB
Club: Hometown:Aulie, Keith Brandon Rouleau, SK
Cowen, Jared** Spokane Allan, SK
Hamonic, Travis Moose Jaw St. Malo, MB
Hickey, Thomas* Seattle Calgary, AB
Myers, Tyler* Kelowna DeWinton, AB
Negrin, John Kootenay Vancouver, BC
Spurgeon, Jared Spokane Edmonton, AB
Teubert, Colten Regina White Rock, BC
Goaltenders (2): Club: Hometown:
Pickard, Chet* Tri-City Americans Winnipeg, MB
Tokarski, Dustin Spokane Watson, SK*
First round pick 2008 NHL Entry Draft**
1991 birth-dates eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Monday, October 27, 2008
Pro-rated Season Ticket packages are now available at the Broncos Ticket Office. Fans can purchase Platinum Season Tickets for $12.60 a game, Standing Room Season Tickets for $8.23 a game and Silver Zone Season Tickets for $7.35 a game. Pro-rated Season tickets will be available until January 31st.
The advantage of a Season Ticket package is the ability to choose a specific seating location for the rest of the year, while also having the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the same seat for the play-offs.
To purchase your pro-rated season tickets call the Broncos’ office at 773-1509 extension 1, or visit The Stable Souvenir Store, office hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
- Portland has a bright future. Rookies Killian Hutt and Troy Rutkowski both played well and will be really good players in the years to come. Portland won't be the doormat for too much longer... it may turn around by the end of this season.
- Had a good visit with the road weary Andy Kemper of the Winterhawks. The play-by-play broadcaster has had to answer the same questions over and over regarding the sale of the team and all the rumoured changes. Seven games on the road is a long trip, not only for the players but for the entire staff including Kemper.
- I was happy for Geordie Wudrick to get his first two goals of the season last night. Maybe this will lead to some big things for Geordie who is coming a decent sophomore season. Let's hope he continues to roll. Without Cody Eakin in the line-up, the Broncos need some secondary scoring behind the Tassone/Dowling/Dansereau trio.
- Kyle Beach on his way to the Broncos? Easy Bronco fans.... don't get too excited. But, Everett General Manager Doug Soetart was in the house last night. Maybe he was just making a tour of the Eastern Conference or maybe he was in taking a look at some specific players. The Broncos need to add some scoring up front and could use an 18/19 year-old forward. Dean Chynoweth and the Silvertips' Doug Soetart have been active trading partners in the past.
- 18 year-old Broncos defenseman Andrew Hewett could be out of the Broncos line-up for awhile. He crashed into the end boards and suffered an apparent knee injury. More will be known this week but it's likely on the serious side.
- Cody Eakin continues his recovery from a concussion. It's progressing well although he still isn't practicing. In the concussion recovery protocol, "riding the bike" and being symptom free is the first step to getting back on the ice. Eakin is expected to begin the process next week.
- I was impressed with the Edmonton Oil Kings work ethic Friday night in a 5-2 win over the Broncos. Their top six forward played very well and controlled the game. Thomas Vincour was exceptional. A big-bodied forward, he was tenacious, feisty and dangerous. That's a great mix.
- Just watching some NFL today. What's the deal with NFL coaches at halftime? You have coaches, who are probably obligated to do the obligitory sideline interview on their way to the locker room, and they treat it like it's the most inconvenient, annoying part of their day. They are short, beligerent and usually get out of the shot before the reporter can say "thanks coach". Answer the questions. Don't be a jack ass! You're on national TV, raising your personal profile, it's part of the job, do it.
Im just thankful that most of the WHL coaches and GM's "get it". They know it's part of the job and almost all are very accomodating and a treat to talk to.
Let's just say it's gotten heads and tails better in the WHL the past five years.
I'm taking Sunday off... that's it for today,
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Last night Zack scored the tying goal against Albany with 3:33 to go in the third period and then went on to score the overtime winner as the baby 'Sens went on to the 4-3 come-from-behind overtime win. Smith captured the game's first star for the 2nd game in a row.
He's now scored five goals in five games and his 18th in league scoring with six points. Pretty good for a checking centermen eh?
Great to see Zack doing so well in his first year of pro hockey. Here's hoping for an NHL call-up before Christmas.
Thanks to MB for keeping me in the loop....
Here's some other numbers worth noting on the most recent Broncos graduates. Dale Wiese has collected a goal and an assist in five games with the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL. Levi Nelson has one assist in three games with the Providence Bruins. Michael Wilson has picked up one assist in four games with the Worcester Sharks in the AHL.
I had a chat with Broncos graduate Erik Felde yesterday. He's back home in Anchorage, Alaska playing with the Aces of the ECHL. Listen for that interview coming up tomorrow night in our pre-game show. Senators.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Here's the rankings this week:
1. Windsor Spitfires (12-1-0-0)
2. Quebec Remparts (11-1-0-0)
3. Moncton Wildcats (11-0-2-0)
4. Spokane Chiefs (8-1-0-3)
5. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (11-4-0-0)
6. Calgary Hitmen (10-3-0-0)
7. Vancouver Giants (7-0-0-3)
8. London Knights (8-3-0-1)
9. Shawinigan Cataractes (11-4-0-0)
10. Guelph Storm (8-4-0-1)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It's true, many comparisons can be made on the two leagues. In fact, our rules try to reflect the NHL changes every year to help prepare players for the next level.
There's some big money owners, there's some perennial favorites and cellar dwellers... let's face it, of all the junior leagues around the world, the WHL imitates the NHL the best. And that can only be taken as a compliment.
With that in mind today's blog asks the question "What NHL team best reflects junior clubs in the WHL?" This is strictly for fun, no offense intended of course. Some of these are a little far-fetched but some have some merit. At the sake of making this a marathon post, I'm going to stick to the East Division, and then a few others that jump out at me around the league.
Regina Pats - Montreal Canadiens
The comparison can be made on both franchises rich history, passionate fans and the team a lot around the league love to hate. Either you love 'em or you hate 'em. Take your pick. If I was Regina I would take that as a compliment.
Brandon Wheat Kings - Pittsburgh Penguins
More so, the last couple years is where the similarities lie. The comparison here can be made on the young superstars on each team. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin could be the WHL version of Brayden Schenn and Scott Glennie. Brandon is an exciting, offensive team just like the Pens are. It helps the color scheme is similar too.
Moose Jaw Warriors - Philadelphia Flyers
Does this one really need explaining?
Saskatoon Blades - Chicago Blackhawks
The comparison here would be the team's recent history. Both teams have had their struggles but now it appears both are ready to turn the corner and be a contender again. Also, Blades Head Coach and General Manager Lorne Molleken coached the Blackhawks from 1998-2000.
Prince Albert Raiders - New York Islanders
Both dominant teams in the 80's now both having some recent struggles to make the playoffs. Fan support for both has been a bit of an issue lately. No crazy owner in Prince Albert like Charles Wang in Long Island though.
Swift Current Broncos - Edmonton Oilers
I had to rack my brain a little on this one but I think it best describes the Broncos big brother. Both in small markets, both had some highly offensive teams in the 80's and early 90's. Both teams have struggled financially at times over the years but both have seemingly turned the corner in that regard.
Here's a few others from around the league:
Kamloops Blazers - Toronto Maple Leafs
Both teams had their fair share of winning in the early years but it appears the tap has run dry lately. Both teams are seemingly always under the microscope from fans and other WHL teams. Both teams feature some hard-hitting print journalism, and what's old is new in both markets including an Alumni ownership group in Kamloops and the return of Cliff Fletcher as General Manager in TO. Could you also draw a comparison in head coaches? Ron Wilson meet your WHL counterpart Barry Smith.
Vancouver Giants - Detroit Red Wings
The similarities here lie in the win/loss column. The Giants are perennial favorites in the WHL as are the Wings in the NHL. Both teams also usually get a healthy contribution for European players. It seems both teams always seem to draft extremely well.
Lethbridge Hurricanes-Washington Capitals
What jumps out at me are the young explosive forwards on each team. Both teams can skate and have their superstars up front. Both teams will also be a force this season. Hey, and the 'Canes old jersey (now their thirds) is a knock-off of the Washington Capitals.
I could go on but I think I would start to stretch it a little bit. Either way, the Western Hockey League wants to be all that is good about the NHL, and I think they're doing a pretty good job.
Swift Current Kidsport is set to welcome defending World Curling Champion Jennifer Jones as guest speaker for the 4th annual Charity Breakfast.
Our local chapter has brought guest speakers over the years including Dave "Tiger" Williams, Marc Habscheid and Danny Barrett.
This year, with our new curling facility we decided to go with the curling theme and Jennifer is the perfect choice.
I tracked her down this week for a chat.
JK: Kidsport is a charity focused on helping kids play sports despite family financial barriers. I know you have been involved with it over the year. Tell me why it's important to you.
Jennifer: Obviously sport has had such an impact on my life and I can't even imagine where I would be without it. I think that every kid should have the opportunity to compete and grow up with sport. I Just think it's the healthiest way to live. I've been involved on the Winnipeg level with some events here and try to be involved as much as I can.
JK: You're coming to Swift Current, I know you don't have a history with our city but what's it going to be like coming here to be the guest speaker of our Charity Breakfast?
Jennifer: Oh, I'm very excited. To come out and participate in Kidsport give me a great feeling inside. Hopefully we can meet as many people as we can, have a great breakfast and start the year off right.
JK: Talk about your curling background. When did you start? What's your history?
Jennifer: Believe it or not, my daycare was at our curling club, so I grew up there. It was such a big part of my childhood. Curling has been a foundation for my family. We've spent so much time there and really is where my fondest memories are as a kid. I hope we can get lots of kids playing and spending time at the Swift Current Curling Club.
JK: The 2009 Worlds are a ways away still. You will go in as the defending world champion. Does that bring added pressure? Are you still smiling about the achievement?
Jennifer: (laughs)... oh I think I'm still smiling... my face is getting sore. It's been an incredible ride and there's no added pressure. To experience what we got to experience was a once in a lifetime event. Hopefully we get the change to experience it again.
JK: Jennifer, maybe just a final thought about coming to Swift Current at the end of the month.
Jennifer: I'm so excited and honored you want me to come. I can't wait to show up and meet everybody and see your new curling facility.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Also, the new Mic'd up feature were doing on the site has it's first episode now available. We catch up to Spencer McAvoy and Derek Claffey for some behind the scenes at their "team class".
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
-The Broncos have now won six in a row inside the Moose Jaw Civic Center dating back to last year and are 10-1 vs the Warriors in the last two seasons. Conversely the Warriors are 1-6-2-2 against the Broncos.
- Injuries are becoming a bit of a concern for me. Ryan Molle left last night's game after taking a check in his own zone while Matt Tassone only played about 9 minutes of the first before not seeing another shift. Tassone remained on the bench the rest of the game and his nagging shoulder will be re-evaluated today.
- Good job by the Broncos young d-men. Jordan Evans and Joel Rogers saw more ice-time with Molle going down and did a good job. The Broncos have eight capable defenseman, nine when Jesse Dudas returns. The back-end is in good hands but will have a numbers issue shortly.
- The Broncos haven't had much success in Brandon. They haven't won here since early in the 06/07 season. They were 0-3-0-1 in Brandon last year.
- Contenders? Nah. Not yet anyways. A 9-3 start is nice but in my eyes it's a little misleading. This team isn't going to wow anybody averaging just over three goals a game. They are going to get solid goaltending and not give up a ton of chances and that will give them at least a chance to win most nights. But contenders? I'm not buying in just yet.
- Warriors Head Coach Dave Hunchak caught me by surprise last night during our coaches show pre-game interview. I asked Dave about the opening weekend home and home series which saw the Broncos win 6-1, and 3-2.
" To be perfectly honest with you, with us having a young team and up against a team like the Broncos expected to do a lot of big things this year, we did get better as the opening weekend progressed and it carried into the next weekend against Brandon."
I responded "Big things out of the Broncos this season? First I've heard that one."
Fact is the Broncos are a young team after losing Erik Felde, David Steiler, Mike Wilson, Bretton Stamler, Zack Smith, Dale Wiese, and Levi Nelson to either 20 year-old graduation or pro-contracts. How can a team losing so many key ingredients including four of their top five scorers from last season be considered a contender? But, I understand what Dave is doing and that's fine.
Honestly, the Broncos new core is a group of 17 year-olds (Joel Rogers, James Martin, Brad Hoban, Cody Eakin, Taylor Vause, Dillon Wagner, Jordan Peddle, and Oliver Jokel).
I think it's a nice compliment when others around the league view the Broncos as "contenders" but I'm going to reserve that title for Lethbridge, and Brandon. There are four or five teams in the next grouping of "good" in the Eastern Conference and I would put the Broncos somewhere in the middle of that.
- The Warriors have some work to do in their own zone but have a good group of forwards especially when Ian Duval makes his Warriors debut next week. As I heard an NHL scout say last night, "a young defense and inexperienced goaltending is one of the worst combinations a team can have."
- Euro power? Last night there were four European forwards on the ice between the two clubs - Jan Dalecky, Oliver Jokel, Tomas Karpov, and Martin Filo. Heading into the game the four had combined for 36 games played this season and 0 goals. Jan Dalecky's third period goal put the Euros on the board.
- I chatted with Mark Guggenberger when the team was loading up the bus. I asked if he was screened on both Warriors goals to which he replied in a light tone "of course I was... if I see it (the puck) I'll stop it."
I can't disagree with him. He's proven that in his first 10 starts of the season. Guggenberger was also happy to be back on "Minnesota time" as he calls it with the Broncos in Brandon today and a one-hour time shift.
- Note to self, add "Guggenberger" into my cpu's spell checker. His name is coming up a lot lately.
- There's a great coffee shop in Brandon. I'm sure most of the league knows about it but in case you haven't yet... it's called Forbidden Flavours - rights across from the Canad Inn. Getting a coffee from there is on my "to do list" today.
- Is a name change in order for Goal Judges in hockey? How about "Goal Light Operators"? They are becoming more and more irrelevant with the extra official on the ice and the NHL's instant replay. When was the last time in an HL game they consulted with the goal judge? Last night in Moose Jaw referee Pat Smith never even brought the goal judge into the equation on a puck the Warriors thought snuck across the line. It was under Guggenberger the whole time, and that's what the officials on the ice thought too.
- We're on the air tonight at 6pm Sask. time with the pre-game show, 6:30pm play-by-play on the Eagle 94.1 FM.
Have a good one,
Friday, October 17, 2008
Dean, a former Broncos goaltender from the early years made sure the tradition was passed on.
The Broncos drafted Taylor in the 6th round of the 2006 bantam draft. A neat story.
The Broncos are in Moose Jaw tonight to play a Warriors team that looks a lot different than it did in the opening weekend. F Joel Broda, F Ian Duval and DTravis Hamonic will all be new faces while F Evan Fuller, D Brett Ward have departed.
We're on the air tonight at 6:30pm (Eagle 94.1 FM) with the pre-game show. Following tonight's game the Broncos will make the trek to Brandon to play the Wheat Kings Saturday night.
Talk at you later,
Thursday, October 16, 2008
It sounds like a concussion so don't expect Eakin to play this weekend. I'm thinking the Broncos will have more information on his status later today. I'm just glad he's ok.
- The Broncos lost the battle of the streaks last night to the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades kept their winning streak alive as they increased it to seven wins in a row. Meanwhile, the Broncos had their nine game winning streak against the Blades come to an end.
- The Broncos did keep one streak going. Jordan Peddle's goal with 6:33 to play in the third period means the Broncos have now not been shutout in the last 90 games going back to the 06/07 season. It's the longest streak of it's kind amongst the WHL's 22 teams.
- WHL This Week should be posted to whl.ca late today or early tomorrow. This week's show takes a look at the Brandon Wheat Kings being named the host of the 2010 Memorial Cup. It will also feature Boston Pizza Player of the Week Evander Kane of the Vancouver Giants. There will be some league news and notes and WHL Radio Rewind makes it's return.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Calgary, AB – The Western Hockey League announced today that the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Province of Manitoba have been selected to host the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup will be held at the Keystone Centre in Brandon, Manitoba from May 14th to 23rd, 2010 and will mark the 92nd edition of the Canadian Hockey League national championship. All games will be televised on Rogers Sportsnet.
Three WHL Clubs – Brandon Wheat Kings, Everett Silvertips and Kelowna Rockets submitted applications to host the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The decision to award the hosting of the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup to Brandon was made by a majority vote of the WHL Board of Governors on Wednesday, October 15th in Calgary.
The 2009 MasterCard Memorial Cup will be hosted by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Rimouski Oceanic from May 15th to 24th, 2009 in Rimouski, Quebec. The Memorial Cup features a four team round robin format with the host club competing with the Champions from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The WHL’s Spokane Chiefs captured the 2008 MasterCard Memorial Cup by defeating the host Kitchener Rangers last May.
“We are delighted to bring one of the most prestigious Canadian hockey championships – The MasterCard Memorial Cup – to the city of Brandon and the Province of Manitoba for the first time,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison, “The Brandon Wheat Kings are one of the longest standing franchises in WHL history and this community has earned the right to host our national showcase.”
“This is a great honor for the Province of Manitoba, the City of Brandon and the Wheat King organization,” commented Wheat Kings Governor, General Manager and Head Coach Kelly McCrimmon, “We look forward to being the center of the hockey world in May 2010.”
The Brandon Wheat Kings joined the WHL for the start of the 1967-68 regular season and have represented the WHL in three MasterCard Memorial Cup Championships - Montreal (1979), Kamloops (1995) and Peterborough (1996).
The City of Brandon hosted the 2002 Scotts Tournament of Hearts Women’s Curling national championship and the 1997 Canada Summer Games. Also, in 1994 the Keystone Centre played host to Canada’s national championship for midget aged hockey players, the Air Canada Cup. With the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup heading for the city of Brandon, it marks the first time the Canadian Hockey League national championship has been hosted in the province of Manitoba.
The Western Hockey League has won a total of 18 Memorial Cup Championships since its inaugural season in 1966, including five of the past eight Championships, Red Deer Rebels – 2001, Kootenay Ice – 2002, Kelowna Rockets – 2004, Vancouver Giants – 2007 and Spokane Chiefs – 2008.
“On behalf of MasterCard I would like to congratulate the City of Brandon and the Brandon Wheat Kings Hockey Club for a successful bid to host the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup,” said Lillian Tomovich, Vice President, Brand Marketing for MasterCard Canada. “MasterCard has been a supporter of the Canadian Hockey League since 1999, and we are extremely proud to continue this tradition as title sponsor of the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup” added Tomovich.
Here's the latest rankings:
1. Windsor Spitfires (8-1-0-0)
2. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (10-2-0-0)
3. Quebec Remparts (9-1-0-0
4. Moncton Wildcats (8-0-2-0)
5. Swift Current Broncos (8-2-0-0)
6. Vancouver Giants (7-0-0-2)
7. Guelph Storm (7-2-0-1)
8. Drummondville Voltigeurs (8-1-0-2)
9. Spokane Chiefs (6-1-0-2)
10. Belleville Bulls (6-3-0-0)
The Broncos respect the Blades and know they had to work for their two early season wins against them in a home-and-home set just two weeks into the season.
Not much time for blogging today, it's a busy one around here. I'm anticipating the WHL's announcement of the Brandon Wheat Kings being awarded the Memorial Cup for 2010 although it hasn't been made official. Voice of the Wheat Kings Bruce Luebke is broadcasting live from the afternoon news conference and will carry the announcement on-air for CKLQ radio.
Expect some trades around the league to be announced with tomorrow's 20 year-old cut down date. Not sure if the Broncos will be active or not but with Dean Chynoweth you never know. Stay tuned is all I can say.
The Prince George Cougars acquired 19 year-old goaltender Joe Caliguri from the Brandon Wheat Kings. The move has meant the demotion of former Broncos goaltender Ian Curtis to the BCHL. The Cougars are going to go with veterans Kevin Armstrong and Caliguri.
It appears the move has nearly ended the major junior hockey career of Ian Curtis although he may get one shot to prove himself. I've always been a big fan of Ian's potential and I was disappointed when he was traded at the deadline. I projected big things for him when I first saw him as a 15 year-old as the first goalie taken in the 2005 bantam draft. His size and athleticism, amd maturity for his age was superb. Too bad it hasn't worked out for him. Meanwhile, the Broncos look to have won that trade depending on the return of Jesse Dudas and if he can stay healthy. Maybe consider this one still "up in the air".
Like many situations, there's always more than meets the eye. I'm chalking this one up to that.
We're on the air for tonight's contest at 7pm on the Eagle 94.1 FM. Face-off at 7:30pm. Guests include Voice of the Moose Jaw Warriors James Gallo. He will talk about the Warriors make-up this year and give us an update on the on-going saga of the proposed new Multiplex.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Swift Current Broncos are set to re-launch their website, www.scbroncos.com on Monday October 20th.
The new website will feature more exclusive information including: Mic’d Up , as your voice of the Broncos, Jon Keen, gets in depth with audio features on the players and team. George Bowditch will share his Rink Rat Stories, a column that will get you behind the scenes with the Broncos and other personnel around the WHL.
The website will give you a chance to purchase all your Broncos’ team apparel at “The Stable”, our souvenir store, online. There will be more great prizes available on the new website including “Fan of the Night”, if you spot your picture as fan of the night you will win a great prize. The website will be interactive with polls and has added information on joining Broncos’ groups like our Kids Club.
Be sure to check out www.scbroncos.com to keep up to date on your Swift Current Broncos!
Next up, three really tough divisional games in the next four nights. The Broncos host the red hot Saskatoon Blades tomorrow night. The Blades have rattled off six wins in a row and are only two points back of the Broncos for the east division lead. On the weekend, the Broncos play in Moose Jaw and then Brandon.
Traditionally, Moose Jaw has been a tough place to play for the visiting Broncos, but our boys have won the last five visits to the "Crushed Can". Quick, sign the petition!
Just kidding Moose Jaw, build the thing already.
The Broncos haven't had much luck in Brandon, they've lost their last six visits to the newly named Westman Communication Place dating back to December 9th, of 2006.
Guggy the Real Deall?
You can't argue with the numbers Mark Guggenberger has posted since joining the Broncos at last year's trade deadline.
Here's statistical breakdown in his career Bronco numbers:
Save %: .929
Guggenberger has started 18 games for the Broncos and has never been pulled from the crease. The most goals he's allowed in a game was five which happened only once.
With that said, Travis Yonkman is set to make his return to game action as early as this week.
Jesse Dudas Comments
Broncos over-age defenseman Jesse Dudas continues to re-hab his knee injury with the Edmonton Oilers and says he could be about three to four weeks away from being ready to return.
"It's coming along, it's still sore with some of the movements I do but physio is getting some strength into it. Hopefully at the latest it's another month"
On suffering another major injury in his WHL career:
"Yeah I've been talking to some people about that. It's getting pretty annoying but hopefully this is the last one and I can move on"
On the Broncos 20 year-old situation:
" That's all up to Dean (Chynoweth) and the staff. There's four of us now and they've been doing pretty good. To be part of the group would be nice but it's hard for me to say, it's all up to the coaching staff and management."
My understanding is that Dudas has been placed on a long term injury list. Once he's cleared to play and returned to the Broncos, the team has two weeks to make a decision to get down to three 20 year-olds.
FYI, the WHL's 20 year-old cut down date is slated for Thursday this week. Some teams still have some decisions to be made. Expect some movement around the league in the days leading up.
The Western Hockey League is set to announce the host of the 2010 Memorial Cup Wednesday in an afternoon news conference in Calgary. All signs and indications are pointing to the Brandon Wheat Kings to beat out both Everett and Kelowna.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Broncos forward Cody Eakin has plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Weekend... you can add to the list a lucky break courtesy Kootenay goaltender Thomas Heemskerk.
With the game tied 2-2, Heemskerk's clearing attempt hit Cody right on the jersey crest while skating by. Eakin got around Heemskerk who also lost an edge and went down, and then fought off the check of the Ice defender to deposit the puck into the empty net for the game winner.
The Broncos fell down a couple goals just 6:35 into the 1st period. The Ice then decided to go into protect/trap mode from that point on which led to some frustration from the Broncos as they attempted to generate offensive opportunities.
Keegan Dansereau cut the lead to 2-1 in the opening minute of the 2nd period on a nice set-up from Justin Dowling. For Dansereau he now has points in eight of the first nine games.
It was stay 2-1 until the midway point of the 3rd period until Broncos defenseman Eric Doyle pinched inside the Ice territory and was able to come off the wall and beat Heemskerk with a back-hand. Doyle's goal changed what was a boring, trapping, whistle after whistle opening first half of the period.
The Broncos would keep coming for the final 10 minutes but for the 2nd time in a week, the Broncos and Ice would need overtime to decide the contest.
Kootenay's Matt Fraser looked to have the winner on his stick put couldn't put home the pass as it hopped by his stick. Moments later Eakin would end it.
The Broncos improve to 7-2 and have a tough test tonight with the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler said in our post-game you won't exactly see a trapping style from the Tigers.
" We were in the 'Hat watching them play mid-week and I can assure our fans we won't be having to work our way through a trap with the Tigers. They are run and gun and have added even more under-sized, highly skilled with quick feet players and I think it's going to be a real entertaining game."
It's a 7pm face-off tonight from the Credit Union I-plex. We're on the air ( Eagle 94.1 FM) with the pre-game show at 6:30pm. Broncos injured defenseman Jesse Dudas will join us from Edmonton as he works on re-habbing his knee injury. He could be a month away or so from playing.
Here's a quick Tigers note that our fans would be interested in hearing. Former TIger and "AAA" Legionnaire Derek Dorsett has already been called up to the Columbus Blue Jackets after being one of the last cuts. Dorsett was a scratch both Friday night vs Dallas and last night against Phoenix.
In the pre-season, he got in a scrap with another fellow former Tiger in Ryan Hollweg. Safe to say Bronco fans would be hoping for a double KO in this one. Watch it here. I've always thought Dorsett was one of the best agitators to come through the WHL the last 10 seasons. He's good at what he does and he can play the game. Off the ice, Dorsett is pretty good kid too.
Friday, October 10, 2008
- Mitch Fadden back? Didn't see that coming.
- Is it just me or have their been a ton of WHL'ers signing pro contracts this season?
- The Broncos have back-to-back Friday night's off for the first time that I can remember. The Broncos host the Kootenay Ice tomorrow night in a re-match of last Saturday's 3-2 shootout win for the visiting Broncos.
- Broncos graduated 20 year-old Bretton "The Professor" Stamler will be our guest tomorrow night on our pre-game show. You will want to hear what he's been up to lately and get his take on last year's playoffs. Bretton goes down as one of the most well-spoken Broncos to come through these parts in my time here.
- I'm working on a Jesse Dudas update as well. The plan is to get him for our Sunday night pre-game show before the Broncos and Medicine Hat Tigers game.
- Through the first four Bronco home games, attendance is up on average about 300 more fans per game. In a league of declining crowds in some markets, the Broncos are bucking the trend. The renovations to the I-plex and some renewed enthusiasm seem to be pushing the crowds higher.
- Prediction: Luke Schenn is coming back to Kelowna... but not until he plays in the maximum amount of games before his first year of his NHL contract kicks in (9 games).
- Prediction: Tri City and Spokane battle all the way to the final weekend to decide the U.S. divsion... again.
- Prediction: Kelowna lands a big name defenseman shortly from another team but will have to pay for it.
- Prediction: Only one of the three previous predictions will be accurate.
Have a good weekend,
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
1. Windsor Spitfires (6-1-0-0)
2. Cape Breton Screaming Eagle (8-1-0-0)
3. Moncton Wildcats (7-0-1-0)
4. Swift Current Broncos (6-1-0-0)
5. Vancouver Giants (6-0-0-1)
6. Belleville Bulls (5-1-0-0)
7. Drummondville Voltigeurs (7-1-0-1)
8. Quebec Remparts (7-1-0-0)
9. Guelph Storm (5-2-0-0)
10. Spokane Chiefs (4-1-0-2)
I was really impressed with how the Americans played off the hop. They were working hard and looked to be the hungrier team after taking a 5-1 loss in their previous game in Saskatoon.
With the 'Ams up 2-1, goaltender Chet Pickard made life simple in the crease as he controlled some big blasts and never gave the Broncos 2nd and 3rd opportunities. He showed why he will be one of the best 'tenders in the WHL this season. We gave him 1st star honours for his effort int the crease and his 31 save performance.
Matt Tassone was the only Bronco to score in what was a hard-hitting physical game at times. Tassone's goal helped the Broncos extend their streak of scoring at least a goal in the last 87 games. It's the WHL's longest current streak of not being shutout in a game amongst the 22 teams.
Speaking of streaks, Keegan Dansereau's seven game point streak came to an end. He still found a way to contribute and was the Broncos best forward. He played a physical style that drew some penalties and even tangled with the Americans' Mitch McColm in a 2nd period tilt.
Next up, the Broncos host the Kootenay Ice Saturday night in round two of the "Chynoweth Cup"
The Broncos added 18 year-old goaltender Joel Danyluk into the mix this week. The Yorkton, SK native has seen some WHL work with the Prince George Cougars but most recently has been skating with the Yortkon Terriers of the SJHL.
Travis Yonkman was our intermission guest last night and says his shoulder feels great. He says they will take it slow though to ensure a lesser chance of the shoulder being re-injured. He suffered a partial separation in Saskatoon September 27th. He's expecting to be back on the ice possibly next week.
During our pre-game show, Michael Wilson joined us on the phone from Worcester, MA where he is playing for the Sharks of the AHL.
Michael recently signed a contract with the San Jose's affiliate but it admits it wasn't something he was even thinking about this summer.
"I was all set up at UBC and was going to go to school and play hockey there. They (San Jose) called me and asked if I would attend their camp. From there I went to play in a rookie tournament in Las Vegas. They told me I was playing well and I went to main camp. I stayed around and watched some exhibition games. Pretty soon there was an offer out there so it was good." - Wilson
That's all I got in me today but.... there's something brewing in Moose Jaw it seems.
With the Warriors sending a pair of 20 year-olds to Chilliwack the question is what is their next move? Are they making room for the anticipated return of Jordan Knackstedt and then looking to add another impact 20... perhaps a goaltender? Are they going for a youth movement and want to clear up some ice-time for their younger players? Or simply do they just want an upgrade at their 20 year old position? Anyone of the three is a distinct possibility. I'm not even going to venture a guess either.
I do know this, the Warriors took a gamble last season acquiring Ty Wishart from Prince George and it didn't work. Too many good teams in the Eastern Conference and an 8th place showing meant a 1st round exit. The pundits would say the Warriors need to build around some exciting young talent in their line-up headlined by Quinton Howden and a solid group of 16 year-olds.
But, with the clock ticking on the new facility and the need to generate more pride and interest in a winning hockey team to spur ahead the plans, maybe Warriors GM Chad Lang gets after it again this season. Full steam ahead?
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
If you need a quick reminder does the name Carey Price ring a bell?
That night Price made 40 saves in a spectacular performance to lift the Americans past the Broncos 4-1 on a cold February evening at the old Civic Center back in the 06/07 season.
Tonight, they meet again in their only match-up of the season. The 'Ams are in the middle of their east division road swing and are 1-1 so far on the trip.
Tri-City has also won the last two meetings between the teams. The Broncos last beat them in the 05/06 season 1-0 on a 34 save shutout from Kyle Moir.
Face-off at 7:30pm
Ian White as a forward?
The former Broncos defenseman was recently moved up to forward by the Maple Leafs in an exhibition game. White said after the game he figures he hadn't played forward since he was eight years old. I guess he has a short memory.
I remember White played forward for a couple games with the Broncos in his 19 year-old season. It was early in the year and the Broncos coaching staff was "experimenting".
Anyways is case you missed it, White delivered a pretty funny line to reporters after the game:
"They needed a guy to play forward and he (Leafs head coach Ron Wilson) volunteered me," White said.
"I do as I'm told. Apparently tomorrow, I'm strapping on the pads."
It was great to catch-up with a broadcaster buddy on the road this weekend. It's rare when you meet another team's broadcaster on the road when you're not actually playing that team.
That was the case Sat/Sund when the Broncos and the Kelowna Rockets were both in the city of Cranbrook overnight. The Broncos stayed following their game against the Kootenay Ice while the Rockets high-tailed it to Cranny after their game in Lethbridge.
It was good to sit down and have a coffee with Rockets broadcaster Regan Bartel while he struggled to find an internet " hot spot " to send of the game notes to the Ice.
The Broncos visit Kelowna in December.
We're on the air (Eagle 94.1 FM) beginning with the pre-game show at 7pm, play-by-play at 7:30pm. Expect a strong following of American supporters as this is the closest to being "home" for several of the American players. The Ams have an amazing 14 players from Winnipeg on their roster and three more from Saskatchewan.
Have a great day,
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Mike Brown completed the Gordie Howe hat-trick with the shootout winner after setting up the first goal of the night and winning a bout with Ice rookie Drew Czerwonka.
Brown, a seemingly unlikely choice in the shootout, came in and snapped a high shot over the glove of Ice goaltender Thomas Heemskerk to give the Broncos the win in round four.
The Broncos showed some heart in a 2-2 third period tie as they killed off a 5-on-3 powerplay for 1:22 and then the rest of a five minute major penalty assessed to Matt Tassone for a hard hit near the team's benches on Dominik Pacovsky.
Keegan Dansereau extended his point streak to six games scoring in the 2nd period. Grant Toulmin scored his first of the year to open the scoring in the first period.
Mike Brown, everybody's favorite teammate, was rewarded with our broadcast's first star (although he never was recognized in the building's three-stars).
A few quick notes:
- Mark Guggenberger was really good....again. His saves late in the third period allowed his team to get to overtime. He stopped three of four Ice shooters in the shoot-out. He's 4-0 on the season and is sporting a .934 save %.
- Dillon Wagner threw the check of the night. He drilled Ice rookie defenseman Haydon Rintoul behind the net. It was a major league collision. Wagner had to answer the bell after being challenged by Ice tough guy Ian Barteaux. Wags stood in there and took a few but landed a solid right that sent Barteaux in for repairs. He later returned wearing a full face shield.
- The Broncos win matches their best start in 11 seasons. They started the 97/98 season with seven wins in a row. A win tomorrow night in Lethbridge would match their best start in 19 years when they opened the 89/90 season with seven straight "W'''s
- The Broncos have now won five straight one goal games and have yet to trail a game heading into the third period.
- Kootenay is already 0 and 3 in shootouts.
- The Broncos take on Lethbridge tomorrow night. We're on the airwaves (Eagle 94.1 FM) at 5:30pm with the pre-game, 6pm play-by-play.
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...