Monday, January 04, 2010

What a Weekend

That was a lot of hockey.

Spent the day in Saskatoon for both semi-final games. A group of us hit the road for the semi-final double-header.

I swear half of Swift Current is at the tournament in Saskatoon. A ton of tickets were scooped up by local hockey fans. You couldn't walk 10 feet without bumping into someone from the city.

We arrived just after the Czech Republic defeated Latvia 10-2 in the relegation round. Broncos F Stepan Novotny had a goal and an assist in the win. It hasn't been very smooth for the Czechs though. They are big-time disappointed to be on the relegation side. I spoke with Novo following the game.

Novotny (pictured above) does an interview for a Czech media outlet post-game. "You don't want to be in this one," he laughed. "This one all in Czech."

Later, in English he talked about the tournament.

"It's been a lot of fun. It's always to see these guys," commented Novotny after a 10-2 win over Latvia Sunday afternoon.

"Everyone you grew up playing with and against, it's always good times. It's been nice."

Novotny and the Czechs have won game remaining today against rival Slovakia.

"Obviously against Slovakia is going to be a bragging rights game. It would be nice to win hopefully end it in a good way and have a good performance."

Truth be told, Novotny looked pretty disappointed with the whole thing. Considering they had to battle in relegation to make sure they stay in the "A" pool for next year's tournament.

Novotny will re-join the Broncos Wednesday.


Lots of familiar faces in the rink including former Broncos Head Coach Randy Smith. I chatted with Randy in between games. He's back in the coaching game.... with the Saskatoon Blazers "AAA" midget team.

I haven't seen the guy in years.

He left with some bitter feelings here after being dismissed after only one season as Head Coach. I gave him the quick Swift update. I'm not sure he wants to get back to the WHL or if he could pull it off now being removed for so long. The coaching game is not for the faint of heart.


Lots of good media folks hanging around the rink too. Guys I worked with in Saskatoon I haven't seen in ages and familiar folks from the WHL circuit.

I sat with Sportsnet's Pete Loubardius for the Canada/Swiss game. He said some real nice things which I appreciated.

The guy is a junior hockey encyclopedia. Here's a guy who has to keep tabs on the WHL, OHL
and Q for his CHL coverage on Sportsnet. He's plugged in, works hard and is well-respected in every junior hockey circle. All this while following the Flames as their play-by-play broadcaster for Sportsnet.

Pete and I had a good chat about one of his calls that will live on for the ages.... remember this?


One more thing from the World Juniors. The apparent death of the Pepsi "Eh O Canada Go" chant makes me feel good. I haven't heard one positive take on it.

They tried again in the Can/Swiss game. It didn't fly. It's done. Move on Pepsi.

Hats-off to our savvy hockey fans.


Now to the Broncos.....

"Thumbs-Up Guy"

This Medicine Hat fan comes over after every Broncos/Tigers game in the Arena.

Like clock-work, he makes his way over during the post-game show, looks up, and gives me the "thumbs-up" after a Tiger win on home ice.

For seven years...every game. Win or lose. I BBM'd this pic to my former colorman Ryan Switzer moments after Saturday's game.

"HAHAHAHA! Epic." was his repsonse.


The Broncos lost 4-1 in the 'Hat Saturday to end their season-high four game winning streak. It was a game where G Devan Dubyk stole the show making 33 saves to be named the 1st star.

It was a game the Broncos deserved to win based on scoring opporunities and play. It didn't work out that way - perhaps hockey justice for Friday's Bronco home-ice win over the Tigers in which they had the bulk of the shots and chances.

Assistant Coach Tim Kehler summed it up nicely in our post-game show:

"This game is so inherently fair. Both individually and as a team."

The Broncos play in Red Deer Friday in their next game.

Have a good week!



Anonymous said...

Very curious if Lamb will be making any moves, big or minor, by the January 10 trade deadline.

Craig Stein said...

that's hilarious. i had the chance to do a game in Med Hat 3 yrs ago when James was sick and YEP... i clearly remember that guy wandering over & giving the thumbs-up after the Tigers' won... wansn't sure if he was looking at me or Ridley... had no idea it was a regular thing!