The Swift Current Broncos will put on a wrap on Training Camp tonight with the annual Black / White Intersquad game (7pm @ Credit Union i-plex). Admission is $5.
Camp has been entertaining. I caught a few scrimmages Friday and Saturday but didn't set foot in the rink yesterday.
I had a chance to talk to a couple players to get their thoughts. F Evan Richardson who was the Broncos 1st round pick in this summer's bantam draft has been impressive.
I spoke with him about camp and his thoughts moving forward.
"It's been fun, I met a lot of new guys. It's a huge honour (to be at camp) and this is a great hockey town. Everyone we've talked to said it's just a great place to play. I'm really excited about that."
The small, speedy forward played hockey at Kelowna's Pursuit of Excellence last season and says it was good for his development. He says it should ease his transition into the WHL.
"I kind of got used to living away from home and fending for yourself and hopefully it shouldn't be too hard."
A nice surprise at camp is 17 year-old forward Dane Muench. He was the rookie of the year runner-up in the SJHL last season and has showed some great hands and instincts at camp.
The Broncos took Muench in the 4th round of the 2007 bantam draft. He dropped into the 4th because of his notions to play Junior "A" and go the college route.
Hampered by a wisdom teeth extraction which led to some complications, Muench was off the ice for a month leading up to training camp.
He thinks Swift Current is the place he needs to be at this point.
"It just seems like the best opportunity for me right now. It's a really good league and I have a pretty good chance to do some damage here in Swift. We'll see what happens."
He thinks the veteran forwards look solid.
"The top six forwards look really strong. Tassone may not be ready 'til November but guys like Dowling, Eakin and the others should put up some big offensive numbers."
As for Swift Current, he's enjoying the experience.
"I like it. The community seems really behind the team, it's a nice barn here, a nice new dressing room... I'm just trying to get used to everything."
The Broncos more than likely will have a news release today regarding some player releases and re-assignments from training camp. We will wait until then.
As for players that have impressed me I have to say the entire 1994 group (15 year-olds) look very good. Drafted players like Evan Richardson, SheaHoworko, Sutton Olsen and Mathew Allan.
In the 16 year-old age group, Kelowna's Brandon Bruce impressed me with his skating and work ethic. D Reece Scarlett was steady all weekend. F Preston Admundson skates well and looks good at camp for a 2nd straight year. Another player I enjoyed watching was Nicholas Kobelka out of Manitoba. He was the 1st overall pick in the MJHL bantam draft. D Grahame Craig also is playing like he wants to be here. His scrap Saturday with F Patrick Coady was a spirited one.
At the 17 year-old age group, as mentioned F Dane Muench has looked incredibly skilled at times. Local F Andy Blanke is also doing his best to stick around. The "AAA" Legionnaire last season could be in a situation similiar to Jordan Peddle last year.
D Taylor Ernst will more than likely see pre-season action as well in an attempt to stick full-time.
I'm also hoping to get a better look at 2007 bantam picks F Michael Hay and Andrew Sullivan as the pre-season schedule begins.
It was a bit of a farewell weekend as well as two members of the staff from last season spent their final weekend in the city. Former Broncos Head Coach / GM Dean Chynoweth was around camp to have a look at some of the players he's helped get into the system. He left for Long Island on Sunday.
Also, outgoing Broncos Athletic Therapist Paul Ayotte is off to the Toronto Marlies for good later this week.
Good news for those two and another feather in the cap for the organization for moving two members on in their career.
Black and White game tonight... hope to see you there.