Saturday, August 28, 2010

Monday Blog Dump


Good Morning!

Today's post is going to be a long one... and likely the only one for the week.

First up, I was at Bronco training camp for the first time yesterday.

It was good to see the guys...they are all back in good shape and have worked hard in the off-season. Broncos Head Coach/GM Mark Lamb told me he's very impressed with the fitness level and attitude the players have come back with.

I had a good chat with new Broncos "C" Cody Eakin. This guy is ready for prime-time now. He will have a dominating season in the WHL. The one thing he'll have to fight is the feeling or mindset that he's above this level.

He's not thinking that way, and that's good. The guy has already played on a championship winning AHL team, he was one of the top players at the World Junior Summer Development Camp earlier this month and is in great shape. I've seen players come back from World Juniors and just be done with the WHL. The experience, the fanfare and the attention from the WJ's can put players in a different mindset upon their return to their junior clubs.

I'm confident Cody will keep level-headed will lead the Broncos to a strong season ahead from start to finish. I hope to see him personally in Canada/Russia Super Series in November.


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The Broncos have a good one in the works with Czech Import D Richard Nedomlel (KNEE-doe-mell) pictured below:



He's NHL draft eligible at 17 years-old and in my opinion will race up the Central Scouting Rankings in the coming months. The sky is the limit as to how much his draft stock will rise.

He possesses a lot of the tools required to play at the NHL level. I was VERY impressed with his skating, size, positional play, decision making.... he's a good one Bronco fans. He even has a little Euro-swagger which was evident after his pretty shoot-out goal to end the last scrimmage.

The Broncos have hit a home-run in Nedomlel.

I know, it's early but usually the import players just get better as they adjust to the lifestyle and the game in North America. His debut in my eyes was outstanding. He told me he likes the the North American style... and responded in broken English


"In Europe I have too much penalty...I am big and when I hit small guys... I go out (penalty box). In Europe I have two-thousand penalty minutes, It's too much. My agent tell me I try this.... best way to NHL draft."


He's one to watch very closely.
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Since resigning my position with the radio stations in Swift Current I've had some extra holiday time to either use or lose.... so me and a couple buddies hit the road last week for a super sports get-a-way to the U.S. I have a few pics from our journey.

It started in Chicago last Saturday night for the Chicago Bears / Oakland Raiders NFL pre-season game.


Soldier Field an hour before kick-off


The Raiders scored on their opening possession (above). Raiders win 32-17. The next day it was over to the South side for the Cubs and Braves at Wrigley. As it turns out, the game was Lou Pinella's last as the Cubs Skipper. It was an emotional day in the ball park for Cubbie fans.




The Braves lead-off the game with a solo HR courtesy Omar Infante. The Braves blasted the Cubs... I don't even remember the score. There were seven HR's on the day but only one was thrown back from the bleachers.


Next stop, Toronto. The Jays and Yankees played a three game set at the Rogers Center. After game one we went down to chat with Sportnet's Sam Cosentino. Sam calls about 1/4 of the Jays games this year. He had a memorable game just a few weeks back when Brandon Morrow took a no-hitter to the final out in the 9th. I've met Sam a few times on the WHL circuit with his work for Sportsnet alongside Rob Faulds or Peter Loubardias.







Cabral Richards "Cabbie on the Street" from the Score Network stopped by to watch an inning of baseball with us. This is our "getting in Cabbie's grill" photo. Anyone familiar with his work on The Score would know what this is about. He was a good sport. Good guy.

Bronco fans should remember former Bronco Athletic Therapist Paul Ayotte. He now works with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL entering his 2nd season. We stopped in at the Marlies/Leafs practice facility.





I didn't take any pictures out of respect to Paully and the Leafs but let's just say the Leafs area of the facility is nothing short of spectacular. Their workout, medical and lounge areas are all first-class. But, what else would you expect.

Paully is doing great in TO. He's in his element and destined for big things. Thanks for the tour!

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There was a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame as well. There was a pretty familiar face in the "hometown" mural in the Hall (below)



That's Broncos Head Coach / GM Mark Lamb in the middle of the wall mural at the HHOF. If you look closely you can see the signs that greet you as you enter Cadillac, SK.




I was gravitated towards the Broadcaster section of the HHOF. Above is a pic of all the recipients of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award over the years. Past winners include Rod Phillips of the Edmonton Oilers and Peter Maher of the Calgary Flames.


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Anyways enough vacation pics. I'm aware they are completely self-serving.

I want to throw a shout out to Regan Bartel in Kelowna. All of us in the broadcast fraternity should be inspired by this guy. He took a major legitimate shot at the Edmonton Oilers radio job this past month. He doesn't know anyone in the organization, he doesn't have an NHL bloodline or inside track, he just has a god-given talent on the airwaves.

That took him all the way into the final two or three in the selection process. Although he didn't get it in the end, he made the Oilers brass think long and hard about it. I'm proud of him. Those in the business should all be.

With Regan staying in Kelowna, I look forward to our nine head-to-head meetings in the season ahead.


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Meanwhile the Eagle 94.1 FM is likely close to hiring the next Voice of the Broncos. There have been some outstanding candidates. I'd expect a decision in the next day or two. Whoever comes into the job will enjoy it immensely. They coming into a real solid situation moving forward. The team will be very welcoming. Swift Current is a great place to live and to flourish professionally.


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Another shout-out.... this one to Broncos chiropractor and friend Kevyn Kristmanson. He helped me out in a pinch Saturday. I was installing a hitch on my Xterra. One of the steps is to lower the spare tire in the installation process. Most vehicles have a special tool or rod to lower the tire, however mine has gone missing.

Knowing that we drive the same vehicle, a quick call to Dr. Kevvy bailed me out. I borrowed his and got the job done. Thanks!


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We are getting set for another year of WHL This Week - Radio Edition on behalf of the WHL.

The 32 episode season will begin prior to the opening weekend of the regular season. I'll be going over show content with the WHL's Director of Communications Cory Flett in the next week or so.

Thanks to the other 21 WHL broadcasters who help with content and ideas. Much appreciated fellas.


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Finally I have to say thanks to the Kamloops Blazers and Radio NL. They have been more than welcoming since it was announced two weeks ago that I was off to the 'Loops.

Blazers General Manager Craig Bonner called me to send his best as did majority owner Tom Gaglardi and Athletic Therapist Colin "Toledo" Robinson. I wasn't expecting it. It was nice to hear from them. I look forwarding to getting started out there and beginning a working relationship with the Blazers on behalf of
NL.

Some of the staff of NL have called as well to introduce themselves. Both Operations Manager Jim Reynolds and Sports Director Rick "The Bear" Wile have been excellent to deal with the past few weeks. These guys have been first class all the way.

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Thanks to everyone at the rink who wished me well yesterday. It's much appreciated. I'll be in the city for another week as I close off my stint with Golden West Radio and get packed up for the move west.


Jon

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Keen,

I am sorry I am late to offer my congratulations on your new gig.

I think you will do very well in Kamloops. The Blazers will be very happy to have you there.

I am only sorry we probably won't get to work together much any more but I am glad we got a chance to.

Who knows, maybe the Blades and Blazers will meet in the 2011 WHL Final ? ;)

All the best my friend.


Rusty from Saskatoon

Ryan said...

Congrats Jon!

Good luck in Kamloops, however you won't need, you're going to kick ass there.

Jon Keen said...

Thanks guys. Here's to a good season ahead for all of us.

Mr.Morin said...

As you go, so to do my allegiances...go Blazers!

Anonymous said...

Pedersen says you've just added a trip to Yukon to your agenda this year Jon. Enjoy some seal blubber while you're there for me.

Jon Keen said...

Mr. Morin, I'll call you when I get settled over there.

To the last Anonymous, I think it's pretty cool to be headed up there for hockey. I just hope it's a flying trip not a bussing one.

devon said...

congrats on your move Jon. I am a Pats fan, but I always enjoyed the rivalry and your part in it.