The old captain is the new captain as the Swift Current Broncos prepare for their season opener against the Moose Jaw Warriors Friday night.
Broncos Head Coach/General Manager Mark Lamb has chosen veteran defenseman Derek Claffey as the team's captain - a role he took on full-time after last year's trade deadline in January.
"There's no doubt about it. I've watched all of training camp and he's well respected by the guys, he's well respected by the coaching staff and he's well respected by me. Everything I've seen about him all leads to captain." - Lamb
It's a tough time around the WHL as some of the cuts come down. For some of the veterans it means the end of the line.
On Monday, the Regina Pats dispersed of veteran 20 year-old goaltender Linden Rowat in favour of the younger duo of Damien Ketlo and Dawson Guhle.
Kootenay said goodbye to a couple veterans while Moose Jaw did the same.
As for the Broncos, there may be a group of two or three older players who might be feeling the pinch with younger players looking to get an opportunity.
The Broncos have already made a move like that with the release of F Liam Darragh earlier in training camp. Are they finished?
What's old is new again on the radio airwaves.
Colorman Tim Tisdale is going one of his six annual trips to some island destination later this week. It means he will miss our opening couple of broadcasts as he works on his fall tan.
Insert Ryan Switzer who is no stranger to color commentary after doing the job for five seasons prior. He will join me for the home opener Friday and then next Saturday's home game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
The Broncos are hoping for a complete line-up for Friday's home opener but it's still to be determined.
There's word F Cody Eakin could be back in the next couple days in time for Friday's game. D Jordan Evans who was hit from behind by Moose Jaw's Cody Smuk on September 12th is back skating again.
F Dane Muench (knee) and F Geordie Wudrick (appendectomy) are progressing well and are both back skating.
The Broncos are trying to get organized in time for the season opener against the Warriors. In talking to some of the guys, they are excited about the new systems being put in place by the coaching staff and they are hoping to make the adjustments quickly.
There's so many new faces around the team this year. Some of the new guys are scheduled to come into the radio station this afternoon for some broadcast imaging/intro work. That will provide me a chance to get a feel for these guys.
Here's my first impressions....in no particular order:
#23 Andy Blanke - has come a long way in short time after being listed last year. The local product seems thrilled to be playing with the "big club". A hard-worker with some great potential. He led the local "AAA" Legionnaires in scoring last season.
#14 Michael Hay - I've chatted with him during camp. Seems like a nice kid who we all know can put up points after a five-point Black/White game. He put up team a leading "AAA" numbers in Winnipeg. "AAA" midget to the WHL is a substantial jump though. We will see how long the adjustment period lasts.
#17 Adam Lowry - Has grown like a weed since his time last year. May have been 5'9 at best when he joined the team mid-season for a feeling out. Now he comes in at 6'2 and could become a strong power-forward ahead. Word is he loves being a Bronco and possesses a strong hockey sense. He's the son of former Hitmen Head Coach now Flames Assistant Coach Dave Lowry. It seems like the veterans like him already and that can go a long ways.
#26 Dane Muench - A ton of skill no doubt. He's been hampered by a knee injury lately which has slowed him down. Reminds me of a young Keegan Dansereau. A lofty comparison perhaps. Seems to be finding his way. Has huge scoring potential.
#25 Andrew Sullivan. I'll admit I don't know a lot about Andrew at this point. He seems like a hard worker that can mix it up. I'm looking forward to learning what he's all about on and off the ice.
#6 Graeme Craig - Wow, what a big 16 year-old d-man. Listed at 6'4", 215 lbs, it seems he's already adjusted to his big body. Some of the personnell inside the organization think the sky is the limit for the raw talent. Has a lot of work to do to play at this level and will need some good coaching. NHL scouts should be salivating with his size and skating ability.
#28 Taylor Ernst - A versatile player who has played games with the Broncos in the past. Brought in as a defenseman, last year he played up front for the Regina Pat "AAA" Canadians.
#36 Brody Luhning - Has the potential to be a solid puck moving defenseman. I'm thinking the Broncos will spot him in the line-up and get him into some situations he can handle. I'm looking forward to seeing more of his game though.
#7 Reece Scarlett - 16 year-old d-man ready for prime time. A smart, heady defenseman the Broncos have high hopes for. Should see a regular turn on the back-end to start the season. I really like his well-rounded game. Should be a treat to watch develop.
G - Chad Ketting - Impressed my last Friday night against the Tigers going the distance in the pre-season game. I think he's played about as well as he could in the pre-season. In a battle for the back-up spot with Alex Sirard.
G - Alex Sirard - Played in game 72 last season against the Regina Pats. I really like his foot-work and quickness in goal. For me he's been the best goaltender in camp. Really soft-spoken bilingual 18 year-old originally from Quebec before moving to Calgary.
That's all for now.....