Thursday, December 31, 2009
MacTavish spent 19 seasons in the NHL with the Rangers, Bruins, Blues, Flyers and most notably the Edmonton Oilers where he was a teammate of Bronco head coach and general manager Mark Lamb. After retiring from playing, “Mac-T” started his coaching career which included an 8 year stint as bench boss for the Oilers.
MacTavish will headline the breakfast fundraiser that will take place at the Living Sky Casino’s Sky Centre on January 28th. The breakfast will start at 7am and conclude before 9am. Tickets for the event are $25 each or $190 for a table of 8. It will be a chance to meet MacTavish, the Bronco players and Swift Current Special Olympian Katie Durant. All the proceeds will go to help Saskatchewan Special Olympians, specifically those in the Southwest and the Broncos education fund.
Please call the Broncos office at 773-1509 to get your tickets.
A good game for a couple of Broncos at the U-17 World Challenge in Timmins, ON. Broncos D Reece Scarlett had a goal and four assists while F Adam Lowry had a goal and two assists in a 10-4 Team Pacific win over Team Atlantic. Team Pacific is now 1-1 in the tournament. Their next game is tomorrow against the Czechs.
So what was the biggest Bronco story of 2009?
One thing I'll tell you it probably wasn't anything on-ice related.
The tumultuous five year run of Dean Chynoweth as the Broncos Head Coach / General Manager came to an end after he accepted a role as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders back on June 19th.
The topic of Chynoweth's contract extention with the team took over of the community for a few months as Board Members and the community were divided on the issue. The power struggle that commenced behind the scenes was something many people will never know the extent of.
The hiring of Mark Lamb as the next Head Coach and General Manager just seemed to be the right fit. His experience in the game along with his local ties to the community fit the bill.
What will 2010 bring? The early favorite for biggest story of the year may be the Broncos lack of home playoff games in the first round because of the 2010 Women's World Curling Championships coming in March.
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. The Broncos have to secure a playoff spot first, otherwise it'll be a moot point.
Happy New Year,
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The game was tied 2-2 after two periods but the two teams had no plans of taking the game into overtime. The paced picked up and scoring chances grew as the game was winding down.
Hoban's goal deflected home off Brandon D Darren Bestland as Hoban attempted to send a pass across the goal-mouth. For Hoban he snaps a 10 game goal-scoring slump.
Taylor Vause continued his strong play and was named the 1st star. Vause had an assist and was dangerous most of the night. He has points in three straight games after concluding the U.S. trip before the break with a goal and 1st star honours in Seattle.
Cody Eakin added the empty-netter to go along with two assists to give him 50 points on the season. He's sixth in league scoring.
The win was the Broncos third in a row which matches their season high winning streak. It also snapped Brandon's eight-game winning streak. Their last loss was also against the Broncos back on November 28th.
Both teams missed some great chances, both teams hit a couple of goal posts while both goaltenders Andrew Hayes and Mark Friesen were outstanding.
The game was the last one the Broncos will play in 2009. They host Medicine Hat New Year's Day in their next action.
There's a report out of Kelowna that local product Colton Heffley is being called-up by the Rockets after a string of injuries.
Heffley, who plays for the "AAA" midget Legionnaires may make his debut Wednesday when the Rockets take on the Kamloops Blazers.
The 15 year-old was the Rockets 2nd round bantam pick this past summer.
The Rockets injury woes continue. They lost four players in Sunday's game against Vancouver including former Bronco Geordie Wudrick who suffered a separated shoulder.
Monday, December 28, 2009
- Brandon will be without F Brayden Schenn (Canada/WJ), F Toni Rajala (Finland/WJ). The Broncos will be short F Stepan Novotny (Czech/WJ) and two 16 year-olds D Reece Scarlett and F Adam Lowry who are with Team Pacific at the World U-17 Challenge in Timmins, ON. Broncos Trainer Jaime Leblanc is also away with Team West at the same tournament.
- Broncos Captain Derek Claffey is ready to return from a lower-body injury that had him miss all but two periods of the U.S. road swing before the Christmas break. He will play tonight
- Brandon enters the game on an eight-game winning streak. Their last loss November 28th was in Swift Current when the Broncos held on for the 5-4 win.
- G Mark Friesen has made the last five starts in goal for the Broncos. Since joining the Broncos he's posted a .910 save percentage.
Thanks to blog reader Dave for pointing out Justin Dowling's beauty of a goal in Moose Jaw was #1 in the mid-season WHL Plays of the Week. The whole list is pretty good. You can check it out at www.whl.ca on the top right part of the main page. Go have a look....
More notes later if I have time between now and face-off.....
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I'll have a fresh update tomorrow as the Broncos get back on the ice to host the Brandon Wheat Kings. The team has a Boxing Day practice and a full skate today.
I'll be arriving back in Swift Current some time tonight.
I checked out the Canada/Latvia game in Saskatoon yesterday. I'll share some thoughts on that tomorrow....not so much about the game but about the set-up and atmosphere at Credit Union Center.
Did you see or hear this....?
Diet Pepsi must have dropped a boat load of $$$ to get all the signage and promotion at the rink. Can't say I'm impressed with their "Eh-Oh-Canada-Go" cheer attempt. Their efforts to get their promotion staff to get the crowd to cheer the "corporate" chant was weak. Fans are smarter than that. It resembled more of a hostile takeover attempt.
If you missed it, they had Pepsi staffer posing as a regular fan sitting in sections around the rink. The "fan" would then get up and try to get their section and the rink going. People saw through it I think. Well... I did.
It's not gonna fly if the reaction from fans in Saskatoon is any indication.
It'd just not in the spirit of sports at all.
An "A" for effort though.
Enjoy the rest of your holidays and we'll see you at the rink Monday night.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The Broncos post back-to-back wins to close off the five game swing at 3-2 overall. I'm sure they will be somewhat satisfied with that result.
Michael Stickland and a shorthanded goal from Taylor Vause provided the offense. Goaltender Mark Friesen made 27 saves for the win. He played all five games on the trip.
Taylor Vause played his best hockey of the season on this swing. It should be the starting point for a strong 2nd half after Christmas.
More from Swift when we get back......
The start was key as the Broncos took control early leading to Matt Tassone's goal 3:56 into the first period.
Tassone would score another to double his season goal total. Taylor Vause and former Winterhark Travis Bobbee scored on the powerplay while Dillon Wagner scored a shorthanded goal on a giveaway from Hawks G Ian Curtis. Wagner then scored the empty-netter in the final minute to close off the contest.
The Hawks trailed 4-2 entering the third and poured it on. The Broncos killed off a Hawks 5-on-3 powerplay for 1:43 midway thru the third period. The Hawks didn't get a scoring chance out of it and it turned out to be the turning point.
Justin Dowling led the way with three assists. He was the first star in the building and on our broadcast. He has five helpers in the last two games.
It's the Broncos first win in Portland since February of 2000.The Broncos spent the night in Portland and will leave for Kent early this afternoon to play their final contest against the Seattle Thunderbirds. The T-Birds won in Spokane last night 3-2 in OT.
It will be the first time the Broncos have played in the new Sho Ware Center. It's also the last game for both teams before the break.
We're on the air with the annual Broncos Christmas special at 8:30pm, play-by-play at 9pm on the Eagle 94.1 FM.
Ok.... now some pics from Friday.......
It was good to talk to former Bronco Eric Doyle before face-off. He's playing just as much as he did when he was a Bronco. I was told by some members of the Portland media that his offensive style sometimes gives the Winterhawks coaching staff some headaches. But, that's what he is and that's what he does.
He had a relatively quiet game against his former team.
Thanks to Portland broadcaster Andy Kemper who helped make sure I found my way around the arena and the broadcast booth. It was my first game inside the Rose Garden.
Friday, December 18, 2009
The Broncos take on the Portland Winterhawks tonight in what is the Broncos fourth game of their five game U.S. swing.
The two teams hooked up on a swap of defenseman last month. The Broncos sending over-age D Eric Doyle for 19 year-old Travis Bobbee.
Another former Bronco in the mix is G Ian Curtis. The now 19 year-old 'tender has come to Portland vis Prince George. He's playing well right now and recently was promoted with the trade of 20 year-old Kurtis Mucha to Kamloops.
Apparently Cody Eakin's equipment is set to arrive today.
The Broncos enter their final weekend of the first half of the season and I sure hope the guys are focusing on hockey - not on Christmas plans with friends and family. No doubt it's a tough struggle.
Here's some pics from earlier today as the Broncos unloaded at the Rose Garden.......
Rounded up some tickets for tonight's NBA game.... Portland came back from 16 points down in the 2nd half to pull off the win. Steve Nash missed an off-balance three-ball for the tie at the buzzer.....
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Trailing 3-0 in the third, Cody Eakin scored on a nice shot from the top of the circle for his team leading 27th 8:07 in the period. Jordan Evans scored his first ever goal on the powerplay with 4:38 to play to pull the Broncos within a goal.
They had some great chances in the final two minutes but couldn't jam home the tying goal.
The Broncos were outshot 23-20 in the game. G Mark Friesen took the loss in goal.
The Broncos fall to 1-2 on their swing and play the Portland Winterhawks tomorrow night.
This is the first time I've ever seen Portland in the light of day. The previous times I've come here it's been in and out in the dark of December.
The team hung their gear at the dated Memorial Arena last night. The rink is in need of a major face lift. I think most of the money for renovations and up-keep probably goes across the street to the new facility.
The rink was set up for "ice racing" were motorbikes with studded tired rip around the ice surface. The race is set for tonight. Fortunately for the Broncos their game with the 'Hawks is tomorrow night in the beautiful Rose Gardens Arena
Travelling south on I-5 is a nice drive. The bus rolled right through Seattle and some nice sights like Qwest and Safeco Field. 30 minutes later we rolled on past the Tacoma Dome. I'm not sure any of the players really even noticed though.
Cody Eakin played last night but not with his own equipment and skates. The airline lost his hockey bag complete with his suits and other clothes.
He used Brad Hoban's extra pair of skates while the Broncos always carry some spare gear on the road.
There's no word on Cody's stuff today. Consider it lost or stolen.
Yesterday is a day Cody will just want to forget all-together.
There's an NBA game tonight just around the corner at the Rose Garden. The Portland Trail Blazers take on Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. Myself and trainer Jaime Leblanc are going to do our best to check it out.
The game is sold out apparently.
Too bad the Broncos gear isn't set up at the Rose Garden yet. That way we could just head down to the room underneath and gain access that way. Not sure what we'll do yet. I guess we could always check out the glamorous ice races at Memorial.....
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
View from behind the Broncos net they defend twice
F Cody Eakin was one of nine Hockey Canada cuts this morning as the final 22 man roster was named for Canada's World Junior Team.
Hearing the news this morning brought a gut-sinking feeling. Just imagine how Cody must feel.
He'll get another crack next year at 19. Hopefully this only makes him a better player in the long run.
The final rosters are available at either tsn.ca or hockeycanada.ca
After two days off the Broncos get back into action tonight in Everett against the Silvertips at Comcast Arena - a building the Broncos have never lost in (2-0). It's nice to get back at it. Yesterday felt like a game-day just without the game. It's rare to have back-to-back days off on the road. It won't happen again all season.
The team may have had the last two days off from game action but not from the ice. The Broncos had a couple of good practices in preparation for the rest of the trip.
The end of Broncos practice wasn't without a slight mishap. G Mark Friesen shot a soft puck off the side glass near the penalty box and shattered the glass thus bringing practice to an end.
The team had a good supper at the hotel last night before bussing to Lynwood to take in a movie in the evening.
The hockey staff took in the Seattle/Spokane game.
I spent the day bumming around. I caught lunch with Silvertips broadcaster Jonny Rosen at his favorite little Mexican restaurant. It's always fun to hang-out with guys from around the league. Jonny is in his 3rd season with the 'Tips and works pretty hard. The die-hard Michigan Wolverines fan is a good guy.
Everett has been cloudy and rainy but that's par for the course out here this time of year. I guess it still beats the -35 back home. Although I guess it's warmed up since.
By the time you read this Hockey Canada will have announced it's final 22 man roster for the World Junior team. I'm suspecting it's going to be a nervous night for Broncos F Cody Eakin. It's going to be nip-and-tuck for the 18 year-old to make the team.
Having Cody on the team will sure make WJ's that much more exciting.
Canada and the U.S. have several differences. Here's one from the gas station yesterday: 24 pack of water - $30 bucks. 18 pack of Bud Light - $14.
The two respective captains may not play tonight. Broncos "C" Derek Claffey will likely be a game-time decision with a lower body injury. He missed his first game of the season Sunday in Tri-City.
Meanwhile a freak play on the ice could keep Silvertips "C" Zack Dailey out. On the weekend he was knocked unconscious by referee Graham Skilliter when the two collided in Everett territory. Skilliter was skating backwards into the zone while Dailey was just winding it up in his own zone. I'm not sure I've ever heard of something like that happening.
We're on the air tonight at 8:30pm with the pre-game show, play-by-play at 9pm. I'll have the latest on Cody on the broadcast.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Canada will play the CIS All-Stars tonight in an exhibition game.
Final cuts are expected Wednesday.
Here's a Cody Eakin shootout goal from the first Team Red vs Team White game. Thanks to blog reader Tyler for forwarding this on to me.
For what it's worth. TSN's Bob McKenzie has Eakin making the team as the 13th forward. You can read about it here.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I've taken this shot a few times in Everett. The guys unload their gear and then pile onto the bench to check out the impressive Comcast Arena. Not much is really said as they gaze at their surroundings. Beautiful building. The Broncos are 2-0 career in Everett.
G Mark Friesen prepares for a Monday morning practice
Team meal at Buca de Pepo in Lynnwood, WA. Great place, great meal. Here Taylor Vause and Brody Luhning tackle some cheesecake. I would recommend any WHL club doing the trip to get this restaurant into their plans.
Eakin scored in the end of game shootout as well.
It was a good opening day for Eakin who by the numbers appears to be in tough to make the team. He will have to have a great camp and so far he's doing that.
Cody was the 10th forward for Team White and rotated in playing both wings and center.
Here's why Cody may face an uphill battle:
1) He's not a returning player
2) He's only 18
3) He's not a first round draft pick like many of the players in camp are
4) He's not an undrafted top prospect: ex: Taylor Hall
So after Hockey Canada takes these players fitting the above criteria there may be only one or two spots left.
Cody will have to play his way on to the team. If anyone can do it though, he can.
His Bronco teammates, coaching staff, fans and this broadcaster are all cheering for him.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The Ams scored four second-period goals in a span of 9:54 to take a scoreless game and put it out of reach as the Broncos move to 1-1 on their U.S. road swing.
Without D Derek Claffey on the back-end, the Broncos showed some inexperience and costly turnovers ended up being their un-doing. The Ams scored four unassisted goals including the empty-netter by Johnny Lazo.
The Broncos cut the lead to 4-2 with a couple of PP goals from Michael Stickland and Adam Lowry.
The Ams scored a breakaway goal from Patrick Holland and then the Lazo empty-netter to finish it to 6-2.
The Ams outshot the Broncos 41-29.
It's two days off before playing the Silvertips in Everett Wednesday.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Mark Friesen made 42 saves as the Broncos held on for a 2-1 win to begin their U.S. road swing. Tayloe Vause's shorthanded goal ar 2:34 of the third period turned out to be the winner as the Broncos temporarily took a 2-0 lead before the Chiefs Brenden Kichton scored on the ensuing PP to cut it to 2-1.
The win also snaps a Chiefs' six game winning streak going back to the 2002/03 season. The Broncos earned a 4-4 draw in Spokane in the 04/05 season.
The Broncos kept the Teddy Bears at bay for 43:27 until the PP goal. The Broncos have a knack for making the fans sweat it out in these situations. Last year they shutout Kamloops and the year before Kootenay during their teddy bear toss promotions.
The loss also snaps a Chiefs six game winning streak and a stretch of points in eight straight games.
Special thanks to Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz for joining me live during the 3rd period teddy bear toss delay.
I'll post pictures and more thoughts tomorrow. Spokane has been a tough place to play for the Broncos over the years on the ice. Off the ice, the Chiefs and the Spokane Arena go above and beyond to take care of the visiting team. It didn't go unnoticed.
It's a crisp, cool day as the Broncos get set to begin their U.S. division road swing against the Spokane Chiefs.
The Broncos arrived in the early evening and got settled in for the night. It was about 12 hours on the bus with a stop in Lethbridge for lunch.
Three or four movies, some comical NHL Trivia with host Matt Tassone and before you knew it we were here.
The Broncos take on the Chiefs tonight (8:30pm pre-game show, 9pm play-by-play on the Eagle 94.1 FM). As talked about, there's an NCAA basketball game this afternoon at 1pm at the Spokane Arena. Air Force takes on Washington State. The team unloaded their gear at the rink last night. Here's a few pics from the beginning of the trip:
F Matt Tassone helps load up