Monday, August 31, 2009

"AAA" Legionnaires Producing WHL Talent

The Home Hardware "AAA" Legionnaires could have four players crack WHL line-ups this season.

Regan Bartel is reporting that Mackenzie Johnston will stick with the Kelowna Rockets this season. The Broncos are keeping last year's leading scorer Andy Blanke.

Two Legionnaires may crack the Chilliwack Bruins line-up in D Zach Habscheid and F Dylan Balaski. Word is they wanted to keep Balaski but he wanted to keep his options open for now.


Jon

Broncos Sign Two

Press Release

Swift Current Broncos General Manager and Head Coach Mark Lamb announced that the club has signed Dane Muench and Graeme Craig to WHL contracts.

Muench, 17 years old, is from Martensville Saskatchewan and played last season with the SJHL’s Battlefords Stars. Last season as a 16 year old rookie, he led the team in scoring with 20 goals and 34 points in 50 games. Muench was drafted by the Broncos in the 4th round 74th over-all in the 2007 Bantam draft.

Craig, from Red Deer, is 16 years old and played for the Red Deer Chiefs in Midget last season. He is a big defenseman at 6’4” and 215 pounds with some gifted offensive upside, tallying 26 points in 39 games last year. The Broncos selected Craig in the 2008 Bantam Draft, 64th over-all.

Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb is pleased to get these players signed.

“Both Dane and Graeme are very good players that will contribute in their own ways. Dane is a skilled, shifty, smart forward and Graeme is a big, solid, strong defenseman. We feel we have added some important components to our team up front and on the back end.”



Jon



Four Headed to NHL Camps This Week

Press Release:

Broncos’ players Cody Eakin, Morgan Clark, Geordie Wudrick and Justin Dowling are all off to NHL Camps this week.

Eakin will head to Arlington Virginia to attend Washington Capitals camp after being selected in the third round of this past spring’s NHL draft.

Geordie Wudrick is off to Los Angeles Kings camp for the second time after being drafted by the club in 2007.

Morgan Clark is headed to Canucks camp in Vancouver; he was also drafted in 2007.

Justin Dowling has earned a free agent tryout with Pittsburgh after impressing at the Penguins spring camp.

The Broncos will be without these players as they play Moose Jaw in exhibition action this weekend. The Broncos are at home to the Warriors on Friday night and travel to the Crushed Can on Saturday night.


Monday Randoms

- It's a brand new week and I must admit it will be tough to focus on Broncos Hockey. With temps in the low 30C's for most of the week this may be our last chance at summer.

- Kudos to the Edmonton Oil Kings PR/Media staff. They were able to send out detailed game stories and summaries for all the tournament games in St. Albert this weeke
nd. In fact there Broncos/Pats summary arrived right in the middle of my back swing on the 15th hole at Chinook yesterday evening. "BING" (Blackberry sonar sounding alert).

Turn your phone off Keegs.

Thanks guys, the recaps were much appreciated.


----------

- Another
reason hockey takes a bit of a back seat is because of the annual Labour Day Classic in Regina Sunday. The annual game against the Bombers will get a lot of air time and coverage leading up to the 2pm kick-off at Mosiac Stadium. My long-time Lanigan friend Kevin and his wife Michelle always host a big weekend-long party that begins Friday and wraps up Monday.

Last year special guests to the Sandercock backyard shenanigans included CTV's Lee Jones, Angel Blair and Voice of the Pats/Riders Rod Pedersen. Small world.

Lee if you're reading this, we need to redeem ourselves in the friz-knock tournament.

---------


- Speaking of Lee
Jones, he was in Swift Current last week. I thought he did a good piece on his Bronco season preview.

---------

- The Moose Jaw Warriors invade the Credit Union i-plex Friday night in the next pre-season action for the Broncos. Word is the Warriors were icing an older line-up than othe
rs at the Edmonton pre-season tournament.

Even though this is the pre-season, expect the Warriors to be playing for keeps Friday against the Broncos. The Warriors haven't had much success against the Broncos in the last couple seasons. A pre-season win may earn them some mental mileage. Word is the Warriors' Grantham and Mclaren could dress and see action late in the third period.... I kid, I kid!.

--------

- Who has the best "fan" blog out there? It has to be Alan Caldwell in Calgary. The link is over to the right (Small Thoughts at Large).

After a couple years of media colleagues, fans, Coaches and General Managers asking just who Alan Caldwell is, I decided to look into it. Yes he is based in Calgary; he's not a member of the media currently or in the past. He's just a fan who loves the WHL. He's made such a name
for himself that teams are including him on their media releases and roster updates. Keep crunching those numbers. Good work Alan.

----------


- Did you hear the IMAX Theatre in Regina will show the Riders/Bombers game live on Sunday? They are also hosting a pre-game tailgate party in the SCIENCE CENTER PARKING LOT. Can you imagine that? Maybe you could bring your vinegar/baking soda volcano science project and use it as a modified beer funn
el. Good times to be had in the Science Center Parking lot!

---------

- Is it customary to get a full tank of gas when you buy a car from a dealership? I thought it was.

A friend of mine purchased a BMW X3 on the weekend. Upon driving it off the lot in Saskatoon we realized th
e gas light was on and it was almost empty. I asked the salesman about the customary full tank of gas and he looked at me like I was from Mars. "We don't do that... I've never really heard of that" was his response. Are you kidding me?

He responded:

"I'll look into it... I'll ask (dealership owner) if we can do that." (classic salesmen line... pass the buck)

After waiting around for 10 minutes, he comes back with a $20 gas voucher. $20 bucks? Not even a third of a ta
nk for a $40k plus vehicle? Joke.

Maybe I'm wrong...maybe they DON'T do it anymore...or never did. Thoughts?

I won't be giving a glowing recommendation to this place....I know it's just a tank of gas but it's the little things that count right?


Enjoy the week... stay tuned for any Bronco related news later today.


Jon

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Broncos 8 Pats 7 - SO

The Broncos beat the Regina Pats 8-7 in a shoot out this afternoon, in their second exhibition game at the Edmonton Oil Kings tournament. The Broncos went 1-1 in the pre-season tournament in St. Albert.

The Broncos scored first on a breakaway. Mike Brown goes upstairs on Regina goaltender Derek Tendler. It doesn’t take Swift Current long to strike again. Andy Blanke drives the net, Jordan Peddle tips in his centering pass, and it is 2 – 0.


Regina comes back to score less than a minute after that. Michal Poletin beats Bronco goalie Chad Ketting to make it 2 – 1.

The Pats tie it up at 2 before the half way point of the frame. Jordan Weal goes in alone, dekes and sticks the back hand under the bar. The Broncos Brown gets another break away and is hooked going in. He gets a penalty shot, elects to shoot, but Tendler makes a pad save to keep the score 2 – 2.

Period two starts with five goals in just over seven minutes. The Broncos get goals from Jordan Evans, Peddle with his second of the game, and Eric Doyle. Regina replies with markers from Tomas Hricina and Andrew Rieder. Add it all up, and the Broncos are up 5 – 4.

Things settle down, until the Pats take back to back penalties. Justin Dowling has a shot go off a defenseman, and in, to make it 6 – 4. Regina gets it back to within one. Poletin feeds Graham Hood in the slot for the quick one timer. The period ends 6 – 5.

The Broncos get the two goal lead back in the third when Dane Muench finds Dillon Wagner alone in the slot. He whips one past Regina’s second goalie, Dawson Guhle. The Pats get back within one on a blast from the high slot from Matt Strueby, its 7 – 6. Regina pulls even when Poletin scores his second of the game with just over two minutes to play. The third period ends with the score tied seven all, and so does overtime. We have a shootout.

Swift Current goalie Alexandre Sirard is the hero stopping 2 of 3 Pat shooters. The Broncos win 8 – 7, after a 2 – 1 win in the shootout.

The Broncos next exhibition action is Friday, September 4th when they host Dave Hunchak and the Moose Jaw Warriors. Game time is 7:30pm at the Credit Union i-plex.

Summary

First Period

1.SC - Brown ES, 4:20

2.SC – Peddle (Blanke) ES, 6:17

3.REG – Poletin (Hood) ES, 6:53

4.REG – Weal ES, 9:38Shots on Goal: REG12 / SC 9Second Period

5.SC – Evans (Sullivan, Dowling) ES, 3:14

6.SC – Peddle (Hoban) ES, 3:41

7.REG – Hricina (Metz, Czibere) ES, 4:02

8.SC – Doyle (Evans, Wagner) PP, 6:32

9.REG – Rieder (Strueby, Stephenson) ES, 7:05

10.SC – Dowling (Hewett, Molle) PP, 14:43

11.REG – Hood (Poletin, Bell) ES, 17:57

Two Period Totals: REG21 / SC 21

Third Period

12.SC – Wagner (Muench, Luhning) ES, 5:43

13.REG – Strueby (Stephenson) ES 10:49

14.REG – Poletin (Weal) ES, 17:45

Thrid Period Totals: REG 30/ SC 25

Overtime

No Scoring

Final Shot Totals: REG 34/ SC 27

REG – Tendler 9/14Guhle 11/ 13

SC – Ketting 15/19 Sirard12/15

Shootout:SC – Hoban Goal, Dowling Goal, Doyle X

REG – Poletin Goal, Weal X, Hricina X






Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oil Kings 4 Broncos 1

The Oil Kings go on the power play less than a minute in. Brett Breitkreuz has the best chance to score, as he drives the net, but is denied by Bronco keeper Morgan Clark. Just as the penalty ends, Logan Proulx gets sprung on a break, and roofs the backhand to make it one zip. The teams match up pretty well from there, and the first period ends with Edmonton up 1 – 0.
The Oil Kings got it going early in the second. First, Brett Breitkreuz did a good job on the fore check and scored unassisted. Just over a minute later, 15 year old Mitchell Moroz scored to make it 3 – 0. Moroz just signed on with the Oil Kings after being selected in the second round of the 2009 draft.

"I was nervous starting out at Main Camp," says Moroz. "This is a great place to be. The guys have really helped me out. First WHL game, first goal. I wish I could stay with the team"
There was a scary moment mid way through the second. Oil King forward Robin Soudek is on the wrong end of a high stick. Then, while laboring to the bench, he is hit in the face with a puck. Soudek did return after missing a couple shifts. While he is away, Dylan Wruck sticks in a rebound off of a Breitkreuz shot, its 4 – 0 after two.


The Broncos get on the board early in the third on a power play. After a goal mouth scramble, Adam Lowry bangs in a loose puck in the crease. The Oil Kings cruise from there to a 4 – 1. Edmonton has outscored their opponents 7 – 1 in their 2 Tournament games.

"I thought we worked hard and forechecked well," says Head Coach Steve Pleau."That's the way we want to play. The guys were moving there feet and the defense was getting the puck up ice quick."

The Oil Kings Pre-season Invitational Tournament wraps up tomorrow with the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos playing at 3:00 pm. Edmonton hosts Medicine Hat at 7:00 pm.

Game 5 – Edmonton Oil Kings 4, Swift Current Broncos 1

First Period

1.EDM – Proulx (Hlookoff, Rachinski) ES, 2:46
Shots on Goal: EDM 10 / SC 11

Second Period
2.EDM - Breitkreuz, ES, 2:23
3.EDM - Moroz (McCallum, Hlookoff) ES, 3:39
4.EDM – Wruck (Breitkreuz, Burns) ES, 10:49
Two Period Shot Total: EDM 23 / SC 23

Third Period
5.SC – Lowry (Blanke, Scarlett) PP, 2:05

Final Shot Total: EDM 38/ SC 27
EDM – Brossoit 26 / 27
SC – Clark 15/ 19, Smith 19/ 19

Friday, August 28, 2009

"I'll Be Back"

Matt Tassone remains at home in St. Albert, AB recovering from off-season surgery on both shoulders.

The timeline for his return is uncertain but there's a feeling he could be ready by late November or December.

I spoke with Matt on Thursday to see how everything was going.

"There has been some ups and downs with my shoulders (in the past) but so far everything has gone great. I've started working out and I've been going hard this summer. In the next couple of months I'm going to get on the ice and start working on my puck skills again getting back prepared for the season."

The over-age forward says he's excited to get back to the team but admits one element of his game will have to be put on the shelf.

"The doctors say my shoulder is great, I feel great. I'm really excited for this season, we're going to have a great team. Obviously I want to do my part for the team, I'm going to still play that gritty-style but stay away from fighting and then sort of stuff."

Most of Tassone's shoulder problems were a result of fighting and the pressure and strain put on the sockets.

Tassone says being away from his teammates has been the hardest part.

"I've talked to some of the guys the past couple days to see how everything is going. It's hard, I love those guys and they're brothers to me. It's tough but I have to do what I have to do for my career and health. I'll be back.

I'll see the guys this weekend in St. Albert (at the pre-season tournament), I'm pretty excited for that."




Jon

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last Year's Intro

This is the time of the year when we begin working on our imaging and production for our Broncos broadcasts on the Eagle 94.1 FM. Each year we try to come up with something new and fresh. Below is the 1st period intro for last season. If you listened to some of the games last season than this will be familiar.

Thanks to players Travis Yonkman, Matt Tassone, Cody Eakin, Dale Weise, and Geordie Wudrick who came into our production studio to help us out.


video

Now, work begins on this year's edition. Later this week I'll post the 07/08 intro. It was one of my favorites with the help of Zack Smith, Paul Postma, Ryan Molle, and David Stieler.

Jon

Tassone Transcript Tomorrow...

Spoke with Broncos regular season  MVP Matt Tassone today.  Things are going well with his shoulder rehab.  I'll blog his thoughts tomorrow.

G'night,

Jon



Broncos SIgn Four

Swift Current, SK---Swift Current Broncos General Manager and Head Coach Mark Lamb announced that the club has signed Andrew Sullivan, Andy Blanke, Adam Lowry and Shea Howorko to WHL contracts.

Sullivan and Blanke are both 17 year olds who played midget AAA last year. Sullivan, from Calgary, played for the Calgary North Stars and was drafted by the Broncos in the 7th round, 149th over-all in 2007. Blanke is a local Swift Current product who led the Swift Current Legionnaires in scoring last season and was listed by the Broncos in 2008.

Adam Lowry, from Calgary, is 16 years old and played last season for the Midget Calgary Rangers. Lowry was selected by the Broncos in the 4th round 78th over-all in the 2008 Bantam Draft. He is the son of current Calgary Flames assistant coach Dave Lowry.

Shea Howorko, 15, was the Broncos second round selection in this past spring’s bantam draft. He resides in Regina but is originally from Swift Current. Last season he played bantam for the Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Saskatchewan.

“The players we have signed are a strong group of young forwards,” says head coach and general manager Mark Lamb, “they all had impressive training camps and we look forward to them becoming impact players for us in the future.”

Broncos Release Darragh

Swift Current, SK---The Swift Current Broncos have released 19 year old forward Liam Darragh.

Darragh, from Quesnel BC, was acquired by the Broncos last season from Chilliwack in exchange for Matt Ius.

Head coach and general manager Mark Lamb says: “We wish Liam the best of luck in the future and thank him for his contributions to the hockey club. “

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thursday Update

(courtesy scbroncos.com)

- The Broncos are off to the Edmonton pre-season tournament with a roster of 34 players. Players like Eric Doyle, Cody Eakin, Justin Dowling, Geordie Wudrick and Morgan Clark will soon be off to NHL camps.

- F Matt Tassone is one of five 20's on the roster. Matt is at home recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. I hope to make contact with him this week and find out the latest.

- Need a WHL radio fix? Prince Albert Raiders Radio is on the air tonight for pre-season action. Drew Wilson has the call for the Raiders/Blades pre-season game on 900 CKBI. You can also catch the online broadcast at 900ckbi.com and through raiderhockey.com.

- We are shooting for an exhibition broadcast for the final weekend before the regular season. Right now it's 50/50 depending on a few things. I can guarantee we will have the season opener Friday, September 18th vs the Moose Jaw Warriors.


--------------

- Had a call from a local minor sports team yesterday. They were concerned with their perceived lack of coverage from our group of three stations.

We cover the Broncos like a blanket and broadcasting all 72 games, producing half-hour pre-game shows and intermission features, travelling with the team, and fulfilling our obligations to the Broncos and our clients sadly doesn't leave much time for much else. Our radio station's partnership with the Broncos is the amongst the best in the CHL and it takes a lot of attention and work to keep it going.

Teams in the city have received A LOT of air-time over the years in local sports coverage and you would be hard pressed to find any other market in Canada which provided play-by-play to 20 "AAA" midget games on a full power 100,000 watt FM signal.

I/We, need your help if you want your results and info on. My advice? Do what other teams have been doing for a number of years now and designate a parent, a volunteer or a coach to provide the station with your info via phone call or email. It's greatly appreciated.

- Played golf with colorman Tim Tisdale last night. Tim is back for another season in the booth as well. Looking back on the summer, the Broncos Hall of Fame weekend was simply outstanding. Of course, Tizzy scored that overtime goal against the Blades in the 1989 Memorial Cup Final. Word is the 1989 team is going to plan a Las Vegas reunion in the coming years.

- Tizzy then proceeded to beat me by seven strokes... which would be the tightest round all season... by a long shot.


- Referee Zac Wiebe worked the majority of Broncos Training Camp. The son of Broncos Governor Ben Wiebe is one quality official. Wiebe does USHL and AHL games down south. The WHL would be fortunate to have him.

- Kudos to the Broncos for posting roster updates on their website. Many teams are very careful as to what information they release at this time of year. Many teams don't want the names of players attending camp on a try-out basis posted for fears another team could list or invite the same player at a later date.


It's back to school for Swift Current kids today. That's all for now, more later.


Jon








Broncos Roster Update



FORWARDS
POS
HT
WT
HOMETOWN
D.O.B
Amundson, Preston
C
5'11"
175
Edmonton
Feb. 3/93
Blanke, Andy
C
6'2"
198
Swift Current
Apr. 24/92
Brown, Mike
LW
6'2"
200
Calgary
June 8/90
Darragh, Liam
LW
6'4"
198
Quesnel
Jan. 2/90
Derko, Josh
LW
6'0"
170
Sherwood Park
Aug. 5/93
Dowling, Justin
C
5'10"
182
Cochrane, AB
Oct. 1/90
Eakin, Cody
C
5'11"
179
Winnipeg, MB
May 24/91
Hay, Michael
RW
5'10"
161
Winnipeg, MB
May 11/92
Hoban, Brad
LW
6'0"
172
Victoria, BC
Jan. 17/91
Howorko, Shea
LW
6'0"
176
Regina, SK
Mar. 15/94
Lowry, Adam
LW
6'2"
163
Calgary, AB
Mar. 29/93
Muench, Dane
RW
5'6"
158
Martensville, SK
Jan. 19/92
Peddle, Jordan
C
5'10"
176
Elbow, SK
Mar. 5/91
Stickland, Michael
RW
5'10"
180
Red Deer, AB
June 5/89
Sullivan, Andrew
RW
6'2"
173
Calgary, AB
Apr. 7/92
Tassone, Matt
C
6'2"
202
St. Albert, AB
Sep. 28/89
Vause, Taylor
C
5'10"
177
Calgary, AB
Sep. 28/91
Wagner, Dillon
C
5'10"
194
Duffield, AB
Apr. 16/91
Wudrick, Geordie
LW
6'3"
208
Swift Current, SK
Apr. 9/90






DEFENCE
POS
HT
WT
HOMETOWN
D.O.B
Claffey, Derek
D
6'1"
197
Red Deer, AB
May. 28/89
Craig, Graeme
D
6'4"
215
Red Deer, AB
May 3/93
Doyle, Eric
D
6'3"
189
Calgary, AB
Apr. 5/89
Ernst, Taylor
D
5'10"
185
Regina, SK
Feb. 15/92
Evans, Jordan
D
6'1"
177
Drumheller, AB
May 31/92
Hewett, Andrew
D
6'2"
200
Winnipeg, MB
June 14/90
Luhning, Brody
D
6'1"
162
Lumsden, SK
Apr. 11/92
Molle, Ryan
D
6'3"
197
Calgary, AB
Jan. 29/89
Rogers, Joel
D
6'1"
181
Abbotsford
May31/91
Scarlett, Reece
D
6'1"
161
Sherwood Park, AB
Mar. 31/93






GOALTENDERS
POS
HT
WT
HOMETOWN
D.O.B
Clark, Morgan
G
6'1"
162
Flower Mound, TX
Feb. 17/90
Hunt, Andrew
G
6'1"
160
Surrey, BC
Mar. 19/92
Ketting, Chad
G
5'11"
168
Sechelt, BC
Jan. 4/91
Sirard, Alexandre
G
5'11"
163
Calgary, AB
Apr. 13/91
Smith, Austin
G
5'10"
177
Calgary, AB
May 22/9

Guggenberger on the Limp

Regan Bartel is reporting former Broncos goaltender Mark Guggenberger is still dealing with an injury suffered in last year's playoffs. Read about it over at his blog. The link is just to the right.

Will the Rockets utilize with the 20 year-old netminder or go with the 17 year-old Adam Brown this season? Brown is the future of the team there's no doubt and the Rockets will have a completely new look moving forward. I know they have all the confidence in the younger Brown to be an elite goaltender in the future.

In my opinion Guggenberger becomes the premiere puck stopper in the WHL this season and any team looking to make a long playoff run will probably look into his services.

This will all be very interesting as it plays out.

----------------

The Broncos took yesterday off from on-ice activities after a grueling training camp. The club will send a contingent up to Edmonton this weekend for a pair of pre-season games. At this point it's not clear who will be making the trip.

We could also see some sort of a news release regarding player signings in the coming days. I'll keep you posted.

Also, it's a brand new season of "Mic'd Up" over at scbroncos.com. Who do you want learn more about or get know?

This could be the last kick at summer with temps in the 30 C range again. Golf this afternoon is set to go. I'm not ready to pack in the clubs just yet....

Enjoy the day,

Jon



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Coming Soon....

video



Just another way for fans to keep up-to-date this season. There's a lot of fans out of the city and out of the reach of the Eagle 94.1 FM signal who can't get our daily radio interviews and clips; this should help.

Thanks to Luber in Brandon for a quick lesson...

Jon

Scoring Recap / Lamb and Hay Quotes

Here's a look at the scoring summary for last night's Black/White game...

Team White 9

Goals: Michael Hay (3), Geordie Wudrick (2), Cody Eakin, Brandon Bruce, Justin Dowling, Liam Darragh.

Assists: Hay (2), Wudrick (2), Liam Darragh (2), Brandon Bruce, Cody Eakin, Adam Lowry, Preston Amundson, Andy Blanke, Justin Dowling, Bryce Perpelitz, Reece Scarlett, Graeme Craig, Nathan Zimbaluk.

Goalies: Andrew Hunt, Chad Ketting (shots/saves unavailable)

Team Black 3

Goals: Dylan Moore, Dane Muench, Mike Brown

Assists: Dillon Wagner,Taylor Vause, Jordan Peddle

Goalies: Alexandre Sirard, Austin Smith (shots/saves unavailable)

----------------

I spoke with Michael Hay post-game. The 17 year-old led the "AAA" midget Winnipeg Thrashers in points last season (35-26-61) and showed that scoring touch last night with a five-point game.

"I guess I just went out there and tried to do my thing. Put the puck in the net and make plays like I know how and that worked out well tonight. The guys I was playing with put the puck in the net too so that helped me out as well," commented Hay after being named the 1st star.

As for training camp, Hay thinks he's played well.

"I was just trying to do what I do best. Hopefully I can continue it through the rest of the exhibition games."

-------------

With training camp coming to a close, new Broncos Head Coach/GM Mark Lamb weighed-in.

"The young players really impressed me. The draft picks this year (1994 born) were excellent. I think that's the most surprising thing for me, I didn't realize the type of talent and speed these young players have."

The veterans have caught his attention too.

"They've been so professional. They've been helping out the young players and playing some good hockey as well. Training camp is tough for veterans in terms of being aggressive and going out and playing hockey for keeps. I was really impressed with the way they handled themselves also."

As for moving forward, Lamb says they have some tough decisions to make but stresses they will take their time.

"There's a lot of tough decisions which is good. We have a lot of players competing and a lot of players who have played fairly well. We're probably going to keep more players than I would like. I'm not sure of the exact numbers right now but we're going to keep some guys around this week and get up to Edmonton (pre-season tournament) and get into a couple games. I need to see these guys in some real competitive games and after that we can start narrowing it down."

------------------

Interest around the team lately has been high. A lot of family and friends of the players at camp are hungry for information. So too are the local fans. Nearly 800 hits yesterday tells me it's hockey season.

It was good to see some fans come out to last night's game. Around 400 showed up for the contest.

The Broncos staff had a long night ahead of them with player/parent meetings. A lot of the scouts will head home after putting in a solid week at the rink. The group did a great job scouting talent in this past summer's draft. The 15 year-olds stole the show in my opinion.

I joked with Mark Lamb post-game telling him... "The 15 year-olds will be the 19 year-olds in the final year of your contract. Good timing."

"I never thought about it, you're right," replied Lamb with a big smile.

--------------------

Monday, August 24, 2009

White Pummels Black 9-3

17 year-old F Michael Hay scored three times and added two assists in a 9-3 romp for Team White.  Hay showed good finish and living up to his billing as a top scorer in "AAA" midget.  He played last season with the Manitoba champion Winnipeg Thrashers.

The thing I like most about Hay?  He acts like he's scored before.  I've always held that in high regard when evaluating players.  

The coaching staff and personnel have some tough decisions to make and that's always a good thing.  It's going to be a long night at the Broncos office.

I also can't stop raving about the 94's.  This group is fast, skilled and hard-working. I was asked if I noticed Brody Pollard.  Tonight I took notice and he impressed me as well.  You can add him into that 94 group loaded with potential I mentioned a few posts down.

Tomorrow morning I'll post a scoring summary from the Intersquad game.

G'night,

Jon

Black / White Rosters

Veteran defenseman Eric Doyle, Derek Claffey, and Ryan Molle will sit out the Black/White Intersquad game tonight. Goaltender Morgan Clark will also get the night off. Up front injured forwards Michael Stickland and Matt Tassone won't be in the line-up.

Here's the rosters:

TEAM BLACK

1 Alexandre Sirard (18)
30 Austin Smith (16)

3 Joel Rogers (18)
4 Troy Gedny (16)
6 Dylan Moore (16)
7 Colton Cassidy (15)
10 Brendan Hopkins (15)
14 Josh Derko (16)
15 Jordan Peddle (18)
16 Dane Muench (17)
17 Patrick Coady (17)
18 Brady Ramsay (16)
19 Taylor Vause (18)
20 Brad Hoban (18)
21 Andrew Sullivan (16)
23 Mike Brown (19)
24 Brody Luhning (17)
26 Sutton Olson (15)
29 Dillon Wagner (18)
33 Taylor Ernst (17)

Team White

30 Andrew Hunt (17)
31 Chad Ketting (18)

2 Nathan Zimbaluk (16)
3 Graeme Craig (16)
4 Reece Scarlett (16)
6 Bryce Perpelitz (15)
7 Jonathan Lashyn (17)
10 Justin Dowling (19)
12 Andy Blanke (17)
15 Preston Amundson (16)
16 Adam Lowry (16)
17 Liam Darragh (19)
18 Geordie Wudrick (19)
19. Michael Hay (17)
20. Clayton Chingee (16)
21. Cody Eakin (18)
23. Brandon Bruce (16)
26. Brody Pollard (15)
29. Shae Howorko (15)
33 Jordan Evans (17)

Black/White Game Tonight

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."


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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."

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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.

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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.

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Black and White game tonight... hope to see you there.

Jon

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day One in the Books

A very impressive opening day of Swift Current Broncos Training Camp is complete.

All five teams got on the ice for a practice and then there was a pair of scrimmages at 4pm and 7pm. I have to say I'm real happy with the speed and skill on display.

It's been the Broncos make-up over the past few seasons and it looks like it will continue for at least the next few seasons ahead. The group of '94's (15 year-olds) looks strong.

Here's a few thoughts of the top of my head.

- Geordie Wudrick dominated the early game. The 19 year-old forward probably picked up five points including a trio of goals in a game that would be settled in a shoot-out (he scored the shoot-out winner too). There was a bit of feisty play when Dillon Wagner came over to give Wudrick a shot for throwing his weight around in the contest. Wudrick needs to play with that edge this season. I know the club has been impressed so far with his play. The trick will be to keep it going all season.

- Great crowd on hand for the early scrimmage. Most were parents but there was some fans in the building as well.

- 17 year-old forward Dane Muench (2007 bantam draft) was the player to watch in the late scrimmage. The small, skilled forward made something happen most every time he was on the ice. He played with a bit of a chip on his shoulder too. I think he has more to give too. He's a player to watch as camp continues. His play carried Team Blue to a 7-1 win.

- 15 year-old Shea Horowko scored a nice goal for Team Grey in the late scrimmage. It looks like the 2nd round bantam pick has a lot of the tools to be a good player.

- Former Calgary Hitmen Head Coach and new Calgary Flames Assistant Dave Lowry is at camp. He's watching his son Adam compete for a spot. The 16 year-old was up with the club to get a taste last season.

- There are several bloodlines at camp. I hope to round them all up and post them at some point.

- All try and post some quotes from Broncos Director of Player Personnel Jamie Porter as well as some candid remarks from Geordie Wudrick following the early scrimmage.

Day two scrimmages begin at 1pm Friday.


Jon

Notes

Went down to training camp briefly...and noticed a few things.

- Both Broncos import players are no-shows. Finnish G Joni Ortio has said he's not coming this season and as expected F Jan Dalecky is not at camp and looks to be staying in his native Czech Republic.

- Over-age F Michael Stickland is also not at camp because of a recent injury. I'm not sure on his timetable for joining the hockey club.

- Couple players caught my attention in the Team Sakic practice this morning. 15 year-old Evan Richardson was flying around on the drills and using his speed to easily go around defenseman in his '94 age group. He's a good mix of speed and hands. Blinding speed for 15. Dangerous scoring potential from this guy.

- 16 year-old Nicco DiGiovannantonio looks to be strong. The 6th round pick from 2008 caught my attention. I hope he plays in the league at some point much to the chagrin of every WHL announcer.

- Team Sakic's practice was a rough one for the goaltenders.

- There is a trio of special guests participating in camp. F Keegan Dansereau, who played out his WHL eligibility last season, is skating with the team in preparation for Ottawa Senators camp.

Recent Broncos Zack Smith and Dale Weise are also taking in the camp for conditioning purposes before attending Senators and Rangers camp.

There's two scrimmages later today at 4pm and then again at 7pm.

More later.....


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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eve of Training Camp / Lamb Comments on Camp

A few things today...

The Broncos held an orientation for their recent crop of bantam draft picks (94's) and some recently listed players yesterday.

The orientation concluded with an hour long on-ice practice session. I was quite impressed with the group's speed and skating. It's been the Broncos identity the past number of seasons and this group fits the bill to a tee.

1st round pick F Evan Richardson was on the ice and looked as advertised. Although he has some growing to do the next couple seasons, my first impression is that he looked a lot like Cody Eakin at 15. That could be a lofty comparison but comparing both at 15 they have several similarities.

2nd round pick F Shea Howorko also looks to be a player with a strong future. I think he has potential to develop into a premiere power forward in the WHL.

It was an impressive group.

No on-ice today. Registration is this evening and on-ice sessions begin tomorrow at the Credit Union i-plex.

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As blogged earlier this week, I had a chance to speak with Broncos Head Coach / General Manager Mark Lamb as he prepares for his first training camp.

On evaluating his players for the first time.......


"I'm going to go in with an open attitude. Some of the players (over time) get a little baggage... baggage from scouts and personnel. For me I'm coming in and that's going to all get cleaned up. It's going to be a great opportunity for everybody."


On the returning veterans and their role in camp....

"We want the young guys to push them but the veterans have a spot, it's theirs to lose. I'm really going to watch (the veterans) to see how they're interacting with the young guys and bringing them along and not pushing them aside. If you get a veteran who's pushing the young players aside because they're worried about their job I don't think they're the type of guys I want on my team."


On what type of effort he's looking for....

"I want it to be an open training camp where everyone has a shot. They have to show the organization that. If they come and work hard and are very professional and they really want to make the team, that's all a coach or an organization can ask for. I'm hopeful they do that."


On making any potential roster moves....

"The advice that I'm going by, and it's advice I've given myself, is to be very patient; get into training camp, and see what you've got. (I want to) get the scouts together and staff, and work as a group.

One other General Manager told me the other day, he says, if you're going to make a trade right now, keep in mind that General Manager knows his players very well, and he probably knows yours better than you do."




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Courtesy our affiliate 800 CHAB in Moose Jaw, the Warriors camp opens today. They spoke with Warriors Head Coach Dave Hunchak on his mindset entering camp after a dismal season last year in which they finished last overall.

"It's a year in which we need to rebound back. Our intensity level is going to be at the highest it's been in quite some time," commented Hunchak.

I see a lot of battles shaping up on all fronts. With the season we had last year obviously we look to improve on it. It's been an awfully long off-season and I expect this to be one of the more competitive camps in Warriors history. Every job is at stake."


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Monday, August 17, 2009

Exciting Week Ahead

Broncos training camp opens Thursday with on-ice sessions at the Credit Union i-plex. It's an exciting time as we look forward to camp and the season just around the corner.

I spent some time with Head Coach/GM Mark Lamb last week. I'll try to blog some of his thoughts as he approaches his first camp with the Broncos.

Don't expect him to rush into any roster decisions or moves at this point. There is a lot for him to take in over the next few weeks/months and the local product will be taking his time to learn more about his roster/list players and what the needs for the hockey club will be moving forward.

As for the radio station side of things, our sales team has hit the city with Bronco advertising packages and we're hoping the response continues to be strong.

Once the sponsorship is in then we can move forward with some of the broadcast features both new and old. We will have some of the guys in to voice some production work and we will get it all together just in time for the season opener against Moose Jaw September 18th.

Personally, I don't get too carried away until the pre-season schedule is wrapped up. There will be a lot of player comings and goings over the next month.

My initial thoughts are the Broncos have some holes to fill and depth issues both up-front and on the back-end. Of course goaltending question marks continue to be the focus amongst Bronco fans.

I will say I think this team is in the "good" category amongst the Eastern Conference. They are further ahead than many teams but have a ways to go to be considered a contender.

I'll try to break down this team positionally over the week as well....watch for that.

As for the blog, it's received a green light from team management to continue coverage of the team from an in-depth perspective. Expect much of the same or more this season.

Have a great week,

Jon

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paul Gets the Call

A key member behind the scenes is moving forward in his career. Congratulations Paul, you'll do great in T.O.

Here's today's news release:

Swift Current, SK---Swift Current Broncos General Manager and Head Coach Mark Lamb announced that Athletic Therapist Paul Ayotte has accepted the head athletic therapist position with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.

“Paul is a hard working individual that was a great asset to our organization, comments Lamb, we congratulate him on moving up into the professional hockey ranks. We thank him for his dedication to the Broncos and wish him and his wife Tenille the best of luck in Toronto.”

Ayotte, originally from Winnipeg, spent 4 seasons as the head athletic therapist/equipment manager for the Broncos after coming to Swift Current from Merritt of the BC Hockey League. He joins the AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, as both the Leafs and Marlies have a shared practice facility.

The Broncos will begin the search for a new athletic therapist/equipment manager immediately.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Broncos Arriving / Indians Season Comes to End

Nearly half the Broncos roster players have made their way into the city following the summer.

Players like Derek Claffey, Eric Doyle, Justin Dowling, Cody Eakin, Joel Rogers, Jordan Evans, Brad Hoban, and Jordan Peddle have been around the rink and skating in some conditioning sessions in the evening.

Former Broncos Dale Weise, Zack Smith and James Hiebert are also skating nightly. So is the newest member of the Montreal Canadiens Travis Moen.

Training camp opens in just over a week with on-ice sessions.


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Tough way for the Swift Current Indians to end their season last night.

They had perhaps their worst inning of the season in the deciding game five of the Eastern Conference final vs Melville.

Melville scored eight runs of just two hits in the top-of-the-3rd in an error and mistake filled inning. The wheels fell off big time. Melville went on to the 9-1 win and advance to play Okotoks in the WMBL final.

It's one of the better teams that Melville has fielded in a long time. The Indians are going to feel pretty bad about letting a 2-0 series lead slip away though.

I think Melville will give Okotoks a real good shot in the final. Provided that wasn't Melville's "world series" last night.

The Tribe will still take a lot of good things out from the season. WMBL Coach of the Year Joe Carnahan assembled another strong ball team that lived up to the annual expectations of being a perennial contender.

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Here's some pics from a friend who along with a group of local guys took in the recent Jays/Mariners three game series in Seattle.

They ran into the team on a night out.



Here's Rogers Sportsnet's Jaime Campbell with Mark V. "You can kiss this one goodbye"




Jays fireballer Brandon League. Kind of reminds me of Ricky Vaughn from the movie Major League.



More Bronco news later this week....


Jon

Monday, August 10, 2009

WHL Announces 2009-10 Schedule

Its out there. Click here to read the WHL news release:





Jon

Back to Work

After holidays, days off work and summer activities in general, I'm back in the mix and will try to get caught up with everything. I hope you've enjoyed your summer. It's hard to believe Broncos camp opens next week!

The ice is in, Bronco Hockey School starts this week and several of the players are back to help out with that. It will be good to see some of the guys again. This is always an exciting time of year. My favorite part is seeing the players get bigger and stronger and maturing over the summer. Some of them leave as small teen-age kids and return a different person both physically and mentally.

The guys are excited to talk about their summer training and what they're weighing in at these days or how good of shape they're in. It's a time of the year when excitement is near it's highest point.

There's lots of things to look at as camp approaches which I'll try to do over the next week. For now, It's Monday Morning Randoms........


- Camp opens with on ice sessions next Thursday. The players have been broken into five different teams including Team Sakic, Team Lambert, Team Tiger, Team Trottier and Team Ruskowski.

Camp will include some pratice sessions, scrimmages and some 3-on-3 games. It's all going on at Credit Union i-plex.

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Broncos forward Cody Eakin scored a nifty goal for Team Red in a 5-3 win over Team White to put a wrap on the World Junior Development Camp in Saskatoon last night. Eakin's goal had him skate past 1st round NHL pick Tyler Myers and shovel and back-hand home. Eakin is now in Swift Current and helping out with the Broncos Hockey School.

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- Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler took a run at the Chinoook Golf Club's Club Championship over the weekend. Ryan Wiebe won it going 71-70 over the two days. Kehler was right in the mix.

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- The Swift Current Indians continue WMBL playoffs. It looks like they could be on a collision course with Okotoks for the third straight year in the WMBL Championship Series. Okotoks advanced past Medicine Hat three games to one to win the West. The Indians lead Melville two games to one and narrowly missed out on the series sweep last night in Melvlle. The 'Mils won 3-2 to extend the series to game four tonight.

The Tribe is one of the most offensive driven ball clubs they've fielded over the years. Led by Nic Gumeson's league leading 5 HR's and 15 RBI's in the playoffs, and Kyle Albright's .391 batting average, the Indians have been a fun team to watch. I just wish I could have got to more games this summer.

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The Riders looked bad Friday night in B.C. Special teams hurt them the most. Can the Riders please stop using Gerran Walker for punt returns? His fumble at the end of the 1st half which resulted in a BC touchdown turned the momentum around. The Riders should have had a nice lead at the half but his miscue turned the game around. Walker had a rough one. The Riders are losing a lot of field position through special teams this year.

Next up, Hamilton this Saturday night in Regina.

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The "AAA" midget female Wildcats Fall Camp takes place this weekend Aug. 15, 16 and 17 at the Credit Union iplex. The camp is open to all bantam and midget female players. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday morning by calling head coach Terry Pavely at 778-6435.

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Lastly, here's some "Bronco Pride" pictures courtesy the Vause clan. Taylor is getting set for his sophomore season with the Broncos after being named last year's rookie of the year. His family loves being a part of the organization. Here's some pics from a summer fishing trip.



Dr. Vause and #19


Broncos Governor Ben Wiebe, #19, Dr. Vause


Thanks for the pics guys.


Have a good week,

Jon