Wednesday, May 13, 2009

1989 Memorial Cup Team To Be Inducted

In conjunction with the anniversary of the Memorial Cup win, the Broncos have announced that the 1989 Memorial Cup Team will be inducted into the Broncos’ Hall of Fame this summer.

The 1989 team finished the regular season with a 55-16-1 record good for 111 points and top spot in the WHL, 27 points better than the Portland Winter Hawks. The team was led by Tisdale’s 139 points. Tisdale and Peter Kasowski were both in the top ten in WHL scoring that season. It was a record breaking year for the Broncos as they won 33 of 36 home games, which is still a WHL record as is the 180 power-play goals in a season. Trevor Kruger’s 47 wins in a season is 4th best all time for goaltenders and the team had five 100 point scorers, 3rd best all-time. In the post-season, the Broncos went 12-0 through the Western League playoffs, defeating Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Portland en route to the Memorial Cup. In the Memorial Cup, the team faced: the host Blades, the Peterborough Petes and the Laval Titan. Defenseman Dan Lambert was named tournament MVP. Lambert, Tisdale and Sheldon Kennedy were named tournament all-stars.

This year’s event will combine the Hall of Fame Banquet and the Wellington West Golf Tournament. The RBC Dominion Securities banquet will take place Friday July 17th in the Canadian Room Lounge at the Credit Union i-plex starting at 6:00PM. The Wellington West golf tournament will be held at the Elmwood Golf and Country Club on Saturday July 18th at 1:00PM

The Broncos past inductees into the Hall of Fame include: Bryan Trottier, Tiger Williams, Todd Holt and last year’s inductees: Tyler Wright and Andy Schneider.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Broncos Memorial Cup Championship won May 13th, 1989 in Saskatoon.

The Broncos Memorial Cup victory marks the last time a Saskatchewan team has won the Memorial Cup.

The more I research it and talk to players from the 1988-89 team, the more I'm impressed with the calibre of this dominating team. Not only the calibre but the attitude and confidence they played with.

A "we can't lose" attitude developed with this group. They knew they were better than any junior team in the country and they went out and did it.

Some of the stories from this team are legendary. To think they accomplished this goal just two and a half years removed from a devastating bus crash which shook the foundations of the franchise and junior hockey as we know it.

Former players like Bob Wilkie, Darren and Trevor Kruger, Tim Tisdale, Peter Kasowski, Pete Soberlak, Danny Lambert, Lorne Frey and others I've talked to have a done a great job in relaying some of the stories and feelings around the hockey club from 20 years ago.

"It wasn't just the team, it was a community thing. Everyone was involved, everyone around Swift Current remembers that game. They can tell you where they were and what they were doing. It was nice to have that support," commented Tim Tisdale who deflected home the overtime winner.

Defenseman Bob Wilkie remembers the championship like it was yesterday. Wilkie says the group of veterans who were involved in the bus crash just two and half years prior to winning the championship drew strength from the tragic event.

"We just knew what we had to do. As the group of older guys - Trevor and Darren (Kruger), myself and Peter (Soberlak), Sheldon (Kennedy),Danny (Lambert), and Tizzy, we knew what we had gone through to get to that point the prior two and half years. We weren't going to let that slide away, we were going to do whatever it took."

The Broncos organization has a special announcement set for later today. I'll post the details once they are official.


Speaking of Bob Wilkie. The former Bronco defenseman is involved with an online radio show with Dave Shultz back in Pennsylvania called the Bubba and Hammer Hockey Radio Show. See below:

Here's the link:


Medicine Hat Tigers Head Coach / GM Will Desjardins is about to be named the Head Coach for the 2010 World Junior Championships in Saskatoon. Great pick Hockey Canada.


What's going on in Lethbridge?

I'm not going to take sides in what sounds like a pretty intertwined problem but I will say both Michael Dyck and Roy Stasiuk have been great to me and very accommodating in my dealings with them.

They will both be back in the league.... probably as soon as next season.


Kelowna Rockets Broadcaster Regan Bartel departs for his 4th Memorial Cup in the last decade. A bit spoiled perhaps?

The Rockets leave bright an early this morning for Rimouski. They will take on the host team Friday night in their first game.

Before I'm done, I would like to go with a team just once.


I wish Ryan Switzer would update his blog more. Don't you? So should Speedycreekgal. I Haven't heard nor seen from the blogger in ages.


Donovan Fehr is running away with the station hockey pool. He was one of the two newsroom employees who no longer works for us. Should we still pay him his prize?

Just kidding Dono.


With all these coaching rumours and job openings around the WHL why isn't Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler being mentioned?

Maybe because the latest trend is to hire a decorated coach with NHL/pro experience. But if you want a coach who hasn't missed a rung on the ladder and has worked himself from the bottom floor up - it's him.

Note to WHL General Managers:

Put him on your radar. The well-spoken eloquent Assistant Coach from North Vancouver will impress you if given the opportunity.

Tim is too smart to be in this profession. He could be the CEO for some major financial institution yet like many of us, he's decided to chase the dream.


How is it that Rockets goaltender Mark Guggenberger doesn't have an agent? True story. Maybe somebody should offer up their services.

Disagree with me if you want, but he's pro ready as early as next season.

Watch him put on a show in Rimouski.


Ryan Huska has done a great job in Kelowna. I've gained a ton of respect for what he's done and how he's handled himself in some high pressure situations.


Note to the Buffalo Sabres. What's taking you so long to sign Medicine Hat Tigers F Tyler Ennis?


Got a call yesterday from NHL Radio producer Howie Sylvester in Boston. The NHL wants play-by-play clips featuring some of the top prospects heading into the NHL draft in Montreal. The plan is to introduce the top prospects with a little montage. I sent him the "best of Cody Eakin". I'm excited to hear the finished product.


Local businesses that deserve a plug for good customer service:

Deb and crew at the downtown Subway. They all make the "Breakfast Boys" breakfast run enjoyable.

Elmwood Grocery. The small corner grocery store should be recognized for some sort of Swift Current Business Excellence Award.


Media shop-talk warning!

Who calls Saturday morning news conferences? Cypress Hills - Grasslands Conservative Member of Parliament David Anderson does.

Sorry we couldn't make it.


I've taken on some newsroom duties lately with the departure of two staff members in the last month. It's been fine so far. I covered local news a few years back. Not much has changed.

Brad Wall is still kicking political ass in Swift Current and Mayor Sandy Larson still hasn't figured out the difference between "horrendous" and "tremendous" on certain days.

But, we still love her.

Who is running for mayor in the next election? Sandy? Jerrod Schafer? Stacey Ellertson? Tim Bugera?

That's enough for a day.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Congratulations Rockets

Full credit to the Rockets for a well deserved Ed Chynoweth Cup and a trip to the Memorial Cup.  Congratulations to the Swift Current connections to the championship which include Director of Player Personnel Lorne Frey, Assistant Coach Ryan Cuthbert, Rockets broadcaster Regan Bartel and former Bronco puckstopper Mark Guggenberger.

Happy Mother's Day!

- After a beautiful morning it looks like I'm off to get rained on at the golf course.  Don't you just hate it when one guy holds up the foursome for a late afternoon tee time and he ends up pulling the pin on the round anyways...

Oh well....


Friday, May 08, 2009

"I'm the Only One Who Knows" - Habscheid

Local hockey product Marc Habscheid was the guest speaker of yesterday's Mayor's Luncheon in Swift Current... perhaps an opportunity to find out the latest in the never-ending speculation as to where he's going, or wants to go.

Here's the transcript of our post-lunch interview...

JK: It seems your name is always linked to every available coaching opportunity, is that flattering or a bit frustrating?

MH: It's flattering but at the same time it gets frustrating. Everyone thinks they know what I'm doing, but in reality I'm the only one who knows what I'm doing. There's a lot of things out there that are inaccurate but that's part of the public life I guess.

JK: So what do you want to do? What's next on the agenda?

MH: I want to get back in at the right time and situation. There's things out there that I want to own a team but that's not the case. I'm looking for the right situation. Whatever that is I'll go. Everything has to be right. I'm patient and want to make sure I'm going to the right spot. If that's strictly to be the Head Coach that's fine, as long as it's the right situation.

JK: There's a few open positions in the WHL... are you going to push to get back this year? I know you feel you've been out long enough.

MH: The day I was fired in Boston I wanted to get back in the same day. Family comes first but now they haven't moved for a couple of years and I think my kids are at an age where are I think they can move again. If the right situation comes along we'll go.

JK: It seems whenever a team is struggling the first reaction from some fans is "bring in Marc Habscheid to turn this around", what's your reaction to that?

MH: It's a compliment, I appreciate that. Family is my priority and hockey has to fit. My son was 15 and he moved 10 was too much. Now they've been in the same spot for a couple years and are fine with moving again. So now it's just a matter of finding the right fit.

JK: What about a General Manager spot. Is that important?

MH: If I'm going into a situation where let's say the General Manager is rock solid, I don't want to be the General Manager, I'm happy being the head coach. All I want to do is be in a good place with my family and win. I want to enjoy what I'm doing. In Melfort (SJHL) I was a General Manager and I'm more of a hockey guy. In terms of managing hockey I like that.

JK: You've been out a few years and no doubt the game has changed. How confident are you that you could jump back in and be successful?

MH: You always feel confident in your ability but at the same time hockey is like golf - you can shoot a 79 one day and 85 the next so I'm humble enough to understand that you need to be in the right situation and have good people around you to be successful. I feel good with my ability and once I get back in whatever like or level it is I feel good about it.

JK: With the Regina Pats coaching opportunity it's already been said from Pats' General Manager that you aren't in consideration. Can you give me some details of that..

MH: I've known Brent for a long time and I talked to him last year for a bit (with last year's vacant spot) and we both talked and both agreed it wasn't the fit at that time and it's probably not the right fit now either. Brent runs a good organization in Regina and he's always been good to me.

JK: The Kelowna Rockets are a win away from winning the league title this year. Guys like Head Coach Ryan Huska was your assistant and Ryan Cuthbert was your captain of the 2003 championship team you coached. Does that make you proud there are some guys that learnt under you that are having success?

MH: Well sure. It's a great city, great ownership group. Bruce Hamilton is a tremendous General Manager, Lorne Frey is a great a head scout and Husky and Cutter are great people and they've done a really good job there. I've followed them closely and hope they can do it again because they've put together a really good string there.


On another note...

Broncos Head Coach / GM Dean Chynoweth is not in the running for the Regina Pats head coaching job despite some Regina-based media reports.

Have a good weekend,


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Blogger Update

Blog posts have been few and far between lately....

Regardless, local product Marc Habscheid is the guest speaker at the annual Mayor's Luncheon today over the noon hour in Swift Current.

My plan is to ask him a few questions and see where he's at heading into the off-season. It seems his name is included with every available coaching opportunity in the Western Hockey League lately.

Look for that piece a little later this evening.


Calgary's powerplay finally got going last night. With three PP goals including one early in the contest, the Hitmen cruised to a 6-2 victory last night in Kelowna to extend the series.

I find it interesting both teams boarded a chartered flight back to Calgary for tonight's game five at the Saddledome.

If Calgary wins tonight then we have a series after all...


It seems a lot of the Regina media has linked Broncos Head Coach / GM Dean Chynoweth to the vacant head coaching job with the Pats.

I took some phonecalls into the newsroom yesterday from some of our listeners who saw the story on CBC Regina.

I have no information on that nor do I expect any from this side.

There may be a long-time connection with Pats GM Brent Parker and Chynoweth but to leave one of the best gigs in ALL of hockey (a head coach and general manager role in the WHL) doesn't make much sense to me.

The Pats would also need permission from the organization to speak with Chynoweth and compensation in form of draft picks would have to be provided if something was to happen.

Some media sources in Regina has Parker already narrowing the field down to two candidates - one is Curtis Hunt.

I appreciated Dale Derkatch in our eight pre-game interviews. He was a pleasure to deal with.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Calgary Bloggin'

The weekend is almost up and it's time to head back home to Swift Current after some visiting and the opening two games of the WHL League Championship.

Here's a few randoms from the weekend....

- Kelowna is doing what it takes to win games while Calgary Hitmen just don't look like the "Hitmen" we've seen this season.  A lot of credit has to go to Kelowna for that.  They are doing a good job defensively and playing hard.  They've scouted the Hitmen PP and are doing a god job of taking away those booming point shots.

- Mark Guggenberger, as I've expected has been great in goal....especially last night in the 2nd period when Calgary pushed the pace.  I had a good chat with "Gugs" after game one.  I've always been a big fan of his style and game but the lack of respect he's getting from some of the media in this series amazes me.

"Guggenberger will be their weak link" is what I've heard countless times this weekend at the 'Dome.  Are you kidding me?  Sure he's flown under the radar to the point of "Guggawho?"  but he's an elite goaltender in this league and has been for awhile now.  I think he's slowly getting some respect.

Last night on the Shaw broadcast I was asked who I liked in this series and I said I was bucking the trend a little with "Rockets in seven" based on the play of Guggenberger.

Folks in Swift know what he's capable of.  He's solid. He showed it when he was here posting a .918 save percentage in the calendar year as a Bronco over two seasons.

The general mood from the Calgary media was the Rockets will lose because of Guggenberger.  To the contrary, I think they win because of him.  The Rockets have a mighty edge in goal. 

The Hitmen will make a series out of this yet.  Their PP will find success and the series will continue to game six...maybe even a seven.  

- Dan Russell also threw a tough question my way when he asked about the "Saskatchewan slump."  The Broncos were the last Saskatchewan team to win a WHL Championship.  It was 1993.    I tried to answer it as best I could but it really is a tough nut to crack.  

- Ran into Broncos D Ryan Molle on the concourse.  He was taking in the opening games.  Molle and Rockets F Cody Almond are good friends.

- Swift Current native Ryan Cuthbert maintained control of his emotions after taking both games in Calgary.  The Kelowna Rockets Assistant Coach knows this series is far from over.    We will hear from him on the Swift Current radio airwaves next week.

- Best line of the two post-game media conferences belongs to Rockets Head Coach Ryan Huska when asked how he's getting his team to dedicate to strong defensive play and blocking shot after shot in the opening two games.

"Because they want to win" 

Short, to the point but left a last impression with me.

- There was a lot of shocked/disappointed faces in the media circles following the two games.  It's really the first time Calgary media has had to use the word adversity and the Hitmen in the same sentence this season.

As the Calgary Herald's John Down put it " The Rockets are trampling all over the Hitmen's Never-Never land."   A lot of things that haven't happened to the Hitmen all season long have appeared in the opening two games in this series.

- Shaw TV's Brendan Parker has the best seat in the house in the playoffs.  He's parked between the two players benches and hears it all.  I think the guy could write a book with some of the stories he told me about the jawing going on between the two teams. Good stuff.

- It was good to catch-up with the Kelowna crew following the opening game.  I headed out afterwards with Voice of the Rockets and good friend Regan Bartel, his colorman Gord McGarva and Kelowna sportswriter Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier.   This would be a fun crew to work with all season long I'm thinking.

Regan's calm demeanor in this situation is a good lesson for me.  I'm not sure how I would be in a pressure-packed league final like this if the Broncos were involved.  He's a pro.  Then again, this is old hat for him as a veteran of three Memorial Cups.

- At last word the Kelowna trio was on the dance floor in Sicamous, BC, or so I was led to believe on an overnight message on my phone.  Funny.

- I didn't get much of a chance to chat with Hitmen broadcaster Brad Curle.  He was a busy guy in the opening two games.  WHL radio is in the best possible hands in this Championship Series with two of the best (if not the best) broadcasters in the league.  They are as smooth and as energetic as they come.  

Time to get on the road....


Friday, May 01, 2009

Final Draft Recap / Calgary Bound

Ok, here's a rundown of all eight Bronco bantam draft selections yesterday. Thanks to Director of Scouting Jamie Porter for providing some background on each player. The quotes underneath each selection are his.

1st round, 15th overall - C Evan Richardson Nanaimo, BC. 5'6, 135

"Evan is quick, very skilled. We thought he was the fastest player in the draft by a long shot. We are excited that he has a second and a third gear, and he can make plays with the puck at high speeds."

2nd round, 37th overall - LW Shea Howorko, Regina, SK 5'11 165

"Shea is another good skating very skilled player. We think he's a goal scorer and think he can be a playmaker. He played on the top line at Notre Dame and has a Swift Current connection. We were very happy that he was still around in the 2nd round."

4th round, 81st overall - C Sutton Olsen, Deloraine, MB, 5'10 155

"Sutton put up some points and was the captain of his team. He's very good at both ends of the ice. He can put up numbers but at the same time he's an extremely responsible player."

6th round, 125th overall - D Matthew Allan, Coquitlam BC 5'9 135

"Matthew plays with our first round pick Evan Richardson at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna. He's a fairly mobile d-man. Very good with the puck, very sound. Defensively he's extremely good."

6th round, 127th overall - LW Arthur Gordon, Edmonton 5'11 160

"Arthur is a good sized guy. He can skate very well, it's a strong powerful stride. We think he's a solid depth guy that at some point could play on our 2nd line."

7th round, 147th overall - D Ashton McLeod, Claresholm, AB 5'9 140.

"Ashton is a skilled defenseman. He's a real character player, leadership guy. We liked the fact he was extremely passionate and emotional about coming to Swift. We thought we needed to take a couple d-men who are very mobile."

8th round, 169th overall - G Michael Fredrick, Lethbridge, 5'7 145

"When we took a goaltender in the 2nd round last year (Austin Smith), a goalie was probably not a tremendous priority for us but this was a guy who are Alberta scouts really liked. He is a smaller bodied guy but the scouts were really excited he was still there (in the 8th round)."

8th round, 175th overall - D Colton Cassidy. Leduc, AB 6'1 175

"Colton was a player who played on an underachieving Leduc bantam team. He's a big guy that we had interest in throughout the season. He had a very good Alberta Cup. We were very happy with him. We think his skating has improved. We wanted to have some size in that age group and we think he fits that."


I'm off to Calgary later this morning for the weekend.

I was planning on just being a spectator for the WHL Championship series... maybe doing a few interviews for WHL This Week here and there but in talking with the producers at Shaw TV may have something for me to do. Not sure what exactly, maybe if they need some triple-overtime intermission filler I'll be their guy. I guess I'll pack a suit and see what happens on that front.

It'll be good to see Regan from the Rockets. I only run into my former co-worker once or twice a year at most. Brad Curle is always a good host in Calgary too. Plus Calgary's media room is always full of NHL Execs...and the buffet is good too.