Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Broncos F Cody Eakin is expected to be in the AHL's Hershey Bears line-up tonight when they play in Syracuse against the Crunch.
Eakin will also see action this weekend with the Bears set to play three games in three nights.
Eakin was a 3rd round draft choice of the Washington Capitals. The native of Winnipeg scored a career high 47 goals and 91 points in his third season with the Broncos.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Yonkman's University of Alberta Golden Bears defeated Moir's Lakehead University 5-3 to advance to the final.
Bronco F Cody Eakin has arrived in Hershey, PA. He could see game action later this week with the Hershey Bears of the AHL - the Washington Capitals affiliate.
I'll have a recap if he gets into the line-up at some point.
I'm set to sit down with Broncos Head Coach / General Manager Mark Lamb later today for a year-end evaluation and chat. I'll try to transcribe some of that here. If you listen to local radio, the stories will air later in the week.
The final four in the East has been determined (1) Calgary will meet (5) Medicine Hat while number (2) Brandon plays (3) Saskatoon.
With Saskatoon healthy again, this will be a great series. The series opens in Saskatoon with the Royal Winter Fair going on in Brandon.
Props to Regan Bartel in Kelowna.
I listened to the third period on Rockets Radio AM 1150 last night in Everett. The Rockets held on for a 2-1 win as Mark Guggenberger made 41 saves for the win - the bulk load of those saves came in the final period.
The broadcast sounded great. Colorman Gord McGarva was on board as well
What an exciting third period....what a big win for the Rockets who seem to always have the playoff magic going.
Monday, March 29, 2010
I returned Thursday from Regina and have lived at the rink the past four days. The medal round games were outstanding.
Skip Eve Muirhead made the best shot I think I've ever seen yesterday. I think the terminology would be a double-runback-take-out for a single in the 10th to force extra ends.
The 19 year-old three time World Junior champ was the sweetheart of the event.
After their win over Canada in the semi-final, the Scots took to the Patch for some fun. They took over the dance floor for the Proclaimers "500 Miles Song"... a sort of choreographed victory dance. The folks sure loved it.
There's no doubt the Scots were the fan favorites in the gold medal game. Andrea Schopp and the Germans though got the job done in an extra end. They were solid.
Swift Current probably hasn't seen that kind of a nine-day party either. Probably? I'm pretty sure actually.
The Patch was going every night... I believe it went into the wee hours of the morning last night too.
Here's a shot from the Fabro suite for Saturday night's 1 vs 2 game as Canada's Jennifer Jones took on Scotland. Mr. Jennifer Jones stopped by the suite long enough to crack a Rider's 13th man joke. The native Winnipegger was no doubt in enemy territory.
Team Denmark loves their Canadian beer in the Patch. These girls were no stranger to the action off the ice.
I felt really bad last night watching former Broncos 'tender Travis Yonkman and the U of A Golden Bears lose in the National CIS Hockey final to St. Mary's in overtime.
Great to see Yonks in the National Championship game. Other former Broncos on the squad included D Derk Price and D Jason Fransoo.
Earlier in the tournament, it had the makings to be a Yonkman / Kyle Moir showdown. Instead, Lakehead started their other 'tender.
A shout out to the Lanigan Pirates. My hometown senior hockey team won the Provincial "B" senior hockey title Friday night with a 7-3 win over the Shaunavon Badgers.
Have a great summer guys....
Several of the Broncos were around this weekend and now will depart for their off-season. It was good to see the guys one last time.
Shaw TV picked up game six of the Medicine Hat/Kootenay series last night. I caught some of it.
For a few brief hours I was set to head to the 'Hat as "game host" for the TV broadcast. I got an email later saying that Cam Moon in Red Deer was going to handle it instead. I was a bit disappointed but Mooner is such a beauty. He does a great job.
Maybe Shaw can use me later in the playoffs....I'd love to still be involved in the 2010 post-season.
Make all the jokes you want... but yes, when the playoffs are over, it's time for golf season. Sask Landing resort - a half hour north of Swift Current is routinely the first course open in the province.
Ryan, the head pro tracked me down over the weekend to let me know they opening up all 18 holes later this week. He invited a group of us down for a run on the track located alongside the South Saskatchewan River.
With a high of 19C in Swift Current expected, it would be a great day to get in the first round of the season.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Dowling's season may not be done either. There's word he may finish the season in pro if a deal can be worked out.
This piece is from Montreal Canadiens website:
The Habs mean business. Look no further than Travis Moen’s face as proof of that.
Only a few days removed from receiving 50 stitches to repair a nasty gash suffered at the blade of the Senators’ Matt Cullen’s skate, Moen was back at his post only three days later. Wearing a visor for the first since his junior days, Moen was all smiles after the Canadiens crucial win over the Panthers.
“The visor wasn’t too bad, it just took a little getting used to,” admitted Moen, who also earned a passing grade from his one-year-old baby at home. “It was ok actually. The baby didn’t react at all. There was just a little surprise at first, but it was fine.”
Grinning despite looking like something out of a horror movie, Moen had to stop and think what it would’ve taken to keep him out of the lineup for another game after having begrudgingly not suited up in Buffalo on Wednesday night. Surprisingly, amputation wasn’t what he came up with.
“What would’ve kept me out? Not much. The doctors I guess. We have such a great medical staff, if they said I couldn’t go, then I wouldn’t have. That’s about it though,” shrugged Moen, despite his epic shiner and stitched face. “Playing at this time of year is what it’s all about. This is why you work so hard at camp and all season long. Ask any player in this room and they’ll tell you that we all want to be out there, injured or not. You don’t feel the bumps and bruises at this time of year.”
Don’t count linemate Dominic Moore among those shocked to see Moen back in action so soon after his accident.
“This time of year, it’s all about winning ugly,” said Moore, unintentionally yet aptly describing his trusty but mangled wingman. “He such a warrior. Can’t say I was surprised to see him out there. Travis doesn’t need that scar to show the type of player he is. We already know it.”
Having paid the price himself recently by battling back from a knee injury, Michael Cammalleri
“I think seeing him out there proves that we have tough guys in this dressing room. The type of guys that know the importance of what we’re trying to do here,” said Cammalleri. “There are a lot of players in here that want to win desperately in order to reach the playoffs. Travis is one of them.” fell just short of openly saluting his determined teammate, who helped lead the Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2007.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Swift Current Broncos forward Cody Eakin has been called up to the Washington Capitals' AHL affiliate Hershey Bears.
Eakin will join the AHL's top team on Monday. Eakin, 18 years old, was selected by the Capitals in the 3rd round, 85th over-all in the 2009 NHL draft.
He is coming off his most successful WHL season scoring 47 goals and 91points with the Broncos this season.
Cody signed an NHL entry level contract this past October.
I want to start with some thank-you's first of all...
- Thanks to Regina for hosting us the last three days and doing a heck of a job in the process. To the Pats staff, Danny, Cliff, Athletic Therapist Greg and Equipment Manager Leigh. You all made the process easy and worked hard behind the scenes.
- Thanks to the Broncos organization...including the guys I spend the most time with like Butter, Mark and Timmy. Brenda, Carol, Keegan, Jordan and Derek in the office...it was another fun year.
- Thanks to the radio station staff, including game producer Nevan "The Champ" Chamney, colorman Tim Tisdale, Ken Audette and Ryan Switzer who filled in at times this season.
- To the Brandon Wheat Kings for showing some class in victory at the end and to Head Coach/GM Kelly MacCrimmon for tracking me down in the broadcast booth for a post-game hand-shake. A good luck to them as they pursue the Memorial Cup.
- To the Broncos graduating players Matt Tassone, Derek Claffey and Michael Stickland - a good luck wish as well. More on them later....
So the season is over. An overtime goal...which they call sudden death for a reason.
This may like a bit of an eye-rolling statement but the end of a season can feel similar to a break-up with your girlfriend. You get into a routine, you get comfortable...you know what you're doing every weekend, and then just like that everything gets flipped upside down.
It can be a bit of a transition. Personally it takes me about a month to gear down and get into off-season mode.
There's only two parts of the year for those in the hockey biz... the season and the off-season. Both can be polar opposites.
The playoffs are only fun when you win come to think of it.
There's nothing more exciting in the hockey world than winning a series and moving on. Living to play another day, not knowing what the next challenge will be.
Packing up, saying good-bye and blogging about the end of the season just plain sucks to be honest.
We had fun in Regina though.
Checked out some great little lunch places downtown Crave and Beer Brothers Inc. We even rounded up the entire crew including some other media folks to the Press Box Sports Bar for a post game-three gathering. Too bad they locked it up before midnight. Maybe I should have found out where the training/equipment staff ended up instead....
Regina was good to us this week. I suppose it would be good if I jumped on a treadmill in the near future...
Ryan Switzer joined me in the booth for the two games at the Brandt Center. It was good having him around aside from all the Transformer sound effects coming from his phone every email, text or twitter tweet he received. Honestly Switz you have to change that up...
Ryan and I often joke we could get on the banquet tour entertainment bill when all is said and for all the stories and things we've encountered over the years. There was another incident for the ages.... but we will save that one for the after dinner crowd ten years down the road...
Funny moment in last night's game. During the radio time-out in the third period I heard the gun-shot from ice level as the promotional crew shot sponge pucks and t-shirts into the crowd.
Out of my peripheral vision as I sat, I saw this yellow blur racing towards me. I looked up and reacted like it was gonna smoke me in the face. It's tough to avoid looking awkward in that startling moment. The puck glanced off the front of the radio booth. The guys in the WHL video replay/ referee supervisor booth saw it all happened and had a good laugh at me.
To make matters worse I looked down at the Bronco bench and they saw it all happen too. Mark and Tim were laughing pretty good on the bench. F Micheal Hay saw me back at the hotel and told me to "watch out for pucks eh".
In my seven years I've been smoked by three t-shirts and numerous "yellow" pucks. Can you blame me for being a little jumpy?
To the three 20 year-olds. I made the comment last night on the air that these three guys are going to be succesful in life because they are simply outstanding individuals. As human beings they don't come much better in the Western Hockey League.
Assistant Coach Tim Kehler took some time to address the three in our post-game show and did a really good job with his thoughts.
For me the graduating players remind you of just how quick time flies. These guys are through the system in a flash. Gone.
Matt Tassone. As Kehler said post-game, some good fortune is sure to be headed Matt's way soon. He's had some serious injuries which cut his last two seasons short including both playoffs.
I remember a young and energetic Matt Tassone jumping on the bus as a 16 year-old at 3am in the morning at a Husky truck stop just outside of Edmonton. Mid-way through the season the team was ravaged with injuries, we picked up Taz on the way to Prince George to begin our U.S. swing. Can't believe that was in December of 2005.
Matt is set to head down to Dallas soon to meet with the Stars. His neck injury will take time to heal.
Derek Claffey. What a nice guy. As a 16 year-old at training camp the Broncos wanted to keep him. After weighing his options, Claff returned for another season of Junior "A" in Alberta before joining the Broncos for his 17 year-old season.
What a warrior.
Claff played against all the best players in the league in a shutdown capacity and may have an opportunity to play pro hockey next season.
As a rookie he had the respect of all his teammates. The respect only grew as he got older.
Michael Stickland. 20 going on 35. A mature kid who just gets it. Wise behind his years.
A speedy, gritty player who never let size stand in his way of his WHL career.
A top-six skilled forward, master shot-blocker and PK specialist. Stickland can play the game any way you want to play it. I hope he gets a shot at pro somewhere. I have a feeling he'll be just fine
Stick is just a good guy to be around.
He was one of the last guys off the ice last night. I'm sure it was an emotional moment for him as he waved to the crowd before stepping off and disappearing under the awning,
I'll continue to watch the playoffs and recap the season. The players will be around a couple days before going their separate ways.
F Cody Eakin will likely head to the AHL to join the Hershey Bears - the Washington Capitals affiliate. There could be other pro opportunities, I'll keep you posted.
The traditional handshakes
Broncos salute their fans that made the trip into Regina and the Regina hockey fans who came out to see games three and four.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Wheat Kings F Jordan Hale has been suspended indefintely by the WHL for his hit on Adam Lowry late in last night's game three.
The length of the suspension will be determined at a later date.
Lowry will not dress for tonight's game.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
The Ford World Curling Championship is pretty impressive I must admit.
The team arrived back to the Credit Union i-plex yesterday afternoon to unload some of their gear before departing to Regina later today.
It didn't take long for the guys to walk out the dressing room door for a rink-side seat to watch Canada's Jennifer Jones taking on Switzerland.
The place looks great. It was a packed house. Kudos to the organizing committee.
One of the Broncos stated on his way out the door "now I know why we aren't playing playoff games in Swift Current...."
I was watching a bit of the evening game on TSN while I did some things around the house to get ready to head to Regina today.
Sure enough, As Jennifer Jones lined-up her shot, in the background of the TSN camera was Broncos F Cody Eakin enjoying some of the curling action from behind the house.
Did anyone else see that?
The next draw is this morning at 8:30am, Canada plays Latvia in the 1:30pm afternoon draw.
I still have to try and find Vic Rauter of TSN at some point and take him down to the Patch for an Alexander Keith's product.
Alright, back to the the Broncos / Wheat Kings series as the teams get set for game three tomorrow night from Regina' Brandt Center.
Broncos F Cody Eakin talked about where the series is at:
"I think we've proved we can play with them. I think we have to battle for 60 minutes. We know we can battle back like we did in game two. We have to play smart, play hard and play a full 60 minutes."
As for what to expect in Regina....
"I think we will have some Bronco fans come on the busses and I think we will have some Regina fans who will want to see some playoff hockey supporting us there. I think they would rather cheer for us than Brandon (laughs). We are going go out and treat it like our home rink."
Broncos Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb gave his thoughts on what they will need to do to turn the tides in the series
"Our goaltending has to win us a game and get us on track. It's not that they're playing bad but they need to steal one. Our defensive coverage has to better and we have to create some emotion and get some chances."
A lot of fans have asked me about tickets. I told them walk-up tickets will be readily available for the contest. 7pm face-off from the Brandt Center.
Join myself and Ryan Switzer for the action on the Eagle 94.1 FM beginning with the pre-game show at 6:30pm play-by-play at 7pm.
Talk about a real unique situation to be in....Ryan and I as the "home team" announces in Regina.
Does it get much stranger than that?
Anybody looking for ticket or transportation info you can call the Broncos ticket office at 773 -
I'm sure hoping the Regina media will give the series some attention. After-all it's the first playoff hockey in the city since March of 2008.
I know CTV will be going live from the Brandt Center for both games Tuesday/Wednesday...as per the words of Lee Jones when I spoke to him in Swift Current yesterday.
I have a feeling other outlets may shun the two teams somewhat as they invade the city for playoff hockey.
I hope it's not the case...but there's no doubt some hostilities towards the rival Broncos.
Line brawl in Saskatoon last night....
The final minute of the Blades/Rebels playoff game last night in Saskatoon saw the Blades send out the meat as they instigated four fights with the Rebels. This just after Blades goaltender Steven Stanford was ran by Josh Cowen of the Rebels. The play drew a charging major penalty.
Loading up the game on Web TV archives was one of the first things I did this morning when I got into the radio station.
If you have access, go take a look.
Blades colorman Dave Thomas at the end of the scrum summed it up "(WHL Vice-President of Hockey) Richard Doerksen will be looking at this game tape...."
Oh yes he will.
Warriors Head Coach Dave Hunchak will be one of our pre-game show guests before tomorrow night's game three.
"The Moose Jaw Miracle" is what I've thrown out there after they went into Calgary and knocked off the WHL regular season champions twice to begin that best-of-seven 1 vs 8 match-up.
Game three is tonight in Moose Jaw. Even a split on home ice has the Warriors large and in charge of this one.
It has the makings to be one of the biggest upsets in years.
Before game four on Wednesday, we will wind back the clock and recap the Broncos Top 10 Moments/Events of the 2009-10 season. The pre-game show feature was produced yesterday.
I didn't have a lot of time to put it together but here's the 10 most memorable moments of the season according to me.
The feature includes some wild endings to games, the first game back for F Matt Tassone after a 9-month absence, the "Dowling Dangle" in Moose Jaw, the big trades of both Geordie Wudrick and Eric Doyle, and the Broncos eliminating the Pats and Raiders from post-season contention.
It'll air Wednesday night just after 6:30pm
More from Regina.........
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The Broncos didn't play very well through two periods but only found themselves down 1-0. The score maybe flattered the visitors a little but regardless the Broncos were still in one.
Cody Eakin tied it on a shorthanded break for his first of the playoffs at 3:55 to give the Broncos a lift. On the same powerplay, the Wheat Kings Aaron Lewadniuk (who was their best player yet not awarded a star in the building) back-handed a loose puck from the slot to restore the one-goal lead.
The Wheat Kings added another on the PP at 7:22 on a funny one. The shot by Travis Hamonic flew over the Broncos goal and bounced back off the glass in front. It looked like it was gloved in by Toni Rajala. The officials went upstairs and it was deemed a good goal. Hamonic getting the credit.
The Broncos fought back thanks to goals from Justin Dowling at 8:41 and then just 1:39 later, Stepan Novotny tied it as he banged home the puck into an empty-net on the doorstep.
The 3-3 was short lived as Brandon has a way of elevating their game when they have to. When the pressure is put on them, they have an extra gear most teams don't have.
Jay Fehr scored the go-ahead goal at 14:54 and Aaron Lewadniuk added the insurance marker with 1:05 to play another rebound-drive-the-net type goal.
Brandon was given eight powerplay opportunities on a night where the officials didn't have many friends - on both sides. The Wheaties made good on three of their chances going 3/8. The Broncos can't afford that.
The Broncos fought hard but in the end, played well enough just to keep it close.
There's no doubt there's some Bronco players that have to check-in to this series. There's a group of five or six passengers.
All 20 have to be on board or forget it.
See you in Regina everybody.
The "Old School" theme stems from a Mark Lamb post-game speech earlier this season in which the team didn't play very well.
Mark said the next day at practice they were going to go "Old School". The guys had one of their toughest skates of the year the next day and seem to rally around it the rest of the year.
They came up with the design and I think it works well. Take a look.
The Broncos will have to be better tonight. It looks like they may switch things up in goal tonight and give Mark Friesen the start. Morgan Clark got the call in last night's game one.
The team had an optional skate this morning and is now back at the hotel.
No other significant changes are expected. We're on the air at 6pm with the pre-game show, 6:30pm play-by-play.
Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler had some adversity of his own to overcome. In what may one of the most dangerous spots in all the WHL, Kehler took a puck to the chin in warm-up just outside the Broncos dressing room prior to game one.
He shook it off, but there was a bit of a welt.
Anyone who has ever set up in the WHL's visitors space in Brandon knows it can be a hard hat area during practice or warm-up. The space is just behind the one net and is elevated to be near the same level as the top of the glass. Not ideal.
Tim is expected to be in the line-up tonight....
Sounds like a lot of people are having fun back home with the Women's Curling going on. The first draw gets underway this afternoon.
The Patch will be a busy place. Last night was the Opening Night Gala.
It should be a really fun week back home inside the Credit Union i-plex.
Off for a Forbidden Flavours coffee... more later....
Friday, March 19, 2010
Matt Calvert scored twice and added two assists as the trio of Calvert, Schenn and Glennie combined for nine points as Schenn put the game away with an empty-netter with three seconds to play
Taylor Vause opened the scoring on the powerplay when he whacked home a loose puck at 9:21 of the 1st. The Broncos bench erupted. The lead lasted just over six minutes until Calvert scored his 1st of the game on a left circle snap-shot to even the game.
The game just didn't feel like a playoff game. I can't lie. It was more like game 39 of the regular season.
The building didn't have an abundance of energy and both teams didn't have the intensity you expect.
Jacob De Serres made some big saves as the Broncos outshot the Wheat Kings 30-28 He out-played G Morgan Clark in this one in the Broncos crease.
A weak five-hole goal in the 2nd period from Matt Calvert to me was the turning point. His goal made it 3-1 midway through.
Clark did make some big saves, including a diving stop on Brayden Schenn late in the 2nd period to keep it 3-1.
The Broncos have more to give....and perhaps so do the Wheat Kings who really only had one line going in this one.
We will see what tomorrow night brings... but the Broncos have to start playing playoff hockey even if the Wheat Kings don't want to.
The team met early this morning for breakfast and then went over to the rink for practice. The guys all seem in a good frame of mind. They know it won't be easy, and they know it's going to be a struggle against one of the top teams in the nation.
Morgan Clark will get the start in goal tonight. Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings will name their starter sometime later today after their skate. Kelly Mac wasn't tipping his hat when we spoke earlier this morning.
I was reminded of the playoff battles of yester-year between these clubs. There's been some doozies. There's been some wars and some blood shed there's no doubt.
I remember back in 2001-02 when the Broncos Craig Priestlay messed up Wheat Kings D Brett Dickie pretty good with his stick which led to a melee and suspensions.
The two series in back-to-back years had some edge to them. The Broncos winning the first one is six while Brandon responded the next year with a five-game series win in round two.
Will history repeat itself this year? What will these teams get into over the next four to seven games? Will it be a war?
You never predict these things.
Here a few quick pics from this morning at Westman Communication Place
Voice of the Wheat Kings Bruce Luebke does a pre-game interview with Mark Lamb
The infirmary. Dillon Wagner (seated) will miss tonight's game as will Matt Tassone. The two are on the swing to Brandon to support their teammates.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Broncos Head Coach/GM Mark Lamb shared his thoughts with me this week.
"It's all about preparation and getting ready for the task. We're ready for it. We know the type of team they have and it's very good. They have a solid four lines, good defense and good goaltending," stated Lamb.
"They are one of the best teams in the league and are hosting the Memorial Cup. It's going to be a tough task for us but I think we're ready for it."
As for how they feel heading into the opening round, he says they have some adversity but that's nothing knew.
"We're still a little beat-up but we've been beat up for the last month and we've played our best hockey in the last month. We have some confidence right now. We finished the season on a positive note and we expect to keep the ball rolling."
Who gets the call between the pipes?
The Broncos have still not named a starting goaltender for game one between Mark Friesen and Morgan Clark. That decision is expected some time today. Both teams have a similar situation with two veteran goaltenders that have pretty much split time in the 2nd half of the season.
As the series shifts to Regina, former colorman Ryan Switzer will join me in the broadcast booth. Regular colorman Tim Tisdale is down south on a golf vacation next week.
Ryan had this to say as he jumps back on the air with me for games three and four.
"These 'home games' in Regina will be a unique part of history for the Broncos and Swift Current. I'm looking forward to broadcasting this unique experience to the passionate fans back home. I'm just happy to be a part of it all."
If you can't make it to Regina for the games I guarantee the broadcast will be a lot of fun to listen to.
I'm not gonna lie, it's going to fun to roll around the Brandt Center. I'm looking forward to it for sure. We are attempting to have all our regular features too like the Eagle 94.1 countdown to face-off and the Eagle 94.1 warm-up.
Had a talk with Matt Tassone yesterday. Wearing a neck-brace Taz is still part of everything with the team although his season is likely over. He will make the trip to Brandon today to support his teammates.
I hope to have him on the broadcast at some point over the weekend.
To all the play-by-play broadcasters around the league, the WHL Radio Show works as good overtime intermission filler!
It's always a scramble sometimes to fill time during overtime intermissions, especially in a double or triple OT situations.
Anyways, it's there and ready to go guys.
And a congratulations to Vancouver Giants radio broadcaster/Director of Media Relations Morley Scott.
Morley has been named the next play-by-play announced for the Edmonton Eskimos and will be leaving his job with the Giants after one year.
This is a great move for Morley back home to Edmonton. He's been away from his family for the last year as they have remained in Edmonton while he moved to Vancouver for the Giants job.
Morley will be missed.
Next update from the Wheat City....
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tickets for the games in Regina will be:
* Adults: $14.00
* Seniors: $11.00
* Student & Children (18 & under): $7.00
Season Ticket Holder Prices:
* $11.00 (with special promo code) available until 5pm day before the game.
* Codes will be emailed to the Bronco season ticket holders or the Bronco office can be called to receive your code
* Regina Pats’ season ticket holders will also be receiving information regarding a discount on tickets to the games.
To purchase tickets to the games in Regina, visit www.ticketmaster.ca, call 1-800-970-7328 (SEAT) or purchase at the Brandt Centre Box Office. The ticket prices do not include Ticketmaster and Evraz Place service charges. For additional ticketing information, call the Broncos Office at 773-1509.
Pizza Hut fan buses have been set-up and will be available for the games in Regina. To book your spot on one of the fan buses call the Broncos office at 773-1509. The cost of the fan bus is $40 per person which includes your ticket to the game, transportation to and from Regina and a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. All buses will be departing from the Swift Current Ag and Ex Parking lot at 4:00PM on both Tuesday March 23rd and Wednesday March 24th and will return immediately following the games.
The Broncos have also teamed up with the Living Sky Casino to show at least the first 5 games of the series on the big screen at the Sky Centre. Admission to the Sky Centre is free.
This is the preview of the Broncos / Wheat Kings series from the Western Hockey League
corps even more.
In goal, Andrew Hayes and Jacob DeSerres split the workload during the regular season. Hayes has the experience of a trip to the Conference championship series last year, while DeSerres has played consistently down the stretch.
#2 – Swift Current @ Brandon; Saturday, March 20 (7:30pm)
#3 – Brandon @ Swift Current; Tuesday, March 23 (7:00 pm) In Regina
#4 – Brandon @ Swift Current; Wednesday, March 24 (7:00pm) In Regina
#5 – Swift Current @ Brandon; Friday, March 26 (7:30pm)**
#6 – Brandon @ Swift Current; Monday, March 29 (7:00pm) In Regina**
#7 – Swift Current @ Brandon; Wednesday, March 31 (7:00pm) In Regina**
The WHL Eastern Conference All-Star Teams are as follows:
WHL EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR TEAMS
FIRST ALL-STAR TEAM
Goaltender – Martin Jones (North Vancouver, BC), Calgary Hitmen
Defenceman – Michael Stone (Winnipeg, MB), Calgary Hitmen
Defenceman – Brayden McNabb (Davidson, SK), Kootenay Ice
Forward – Jordan Eberle (Regina, SK), Regina Pats *
Forward – Brayden Schenn (Saskatoon, SK), Brandon Wheat Kings
Forward – Brandon Kozun (Calgary, AB), Calgary Hitmen
SECOND ALL-STAR TEAM
Goaltender – Darcy Kuemper (Saskatoon, SK), Red Deer Rebels
Defenceman – Travis Hamonic (St. Malo, MB), Brandon Wheat Kings
Defenceman – Colby Robak (Gilbert Plains, MB), Brandon Wheat Kings
Forward – Dustin Sylvester (Kelowna, BC), Kootenay Ice
Forward – Matt Calvert (Brandon, MB), Brandon Wheat Kings
Forward – Cody Eakin (Winnipeg, MB), Swift Current Broncos
* indicates unanimous selection
The WHL announced the Eastern Conference Finalists in the following categories.
WHL Rookie of the Year, Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Burnaby, BC), Red Deer Rebels
WHL Goaltender of the Year, Del Wilson Trophy Eastern Conference –
Martin Jones (North Vancouver, BC), Calgary Hitmen
WHL Defenceman of the Year, Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy Eastern Conference
Michael Stone (Winnipeg, MB), Calgary Hitmen
WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year, Brad Hornung Trophy Eastern Conference
Jason Bast (Moose Jaw, SK) Moose Jaw Warriors
WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman TrophyEastern Conference
Adam Lowry (Calgary, AB) Swift Current Broncos
WHL Coach of the Year, Dunc McCallum Memorial TrophyEastern Conference
Mark Holick, Kootenay Ice
WHL Executive of the Year, Lloyd Saunders Memorial TrophyEastern Conference
Kelly McCrimmon, Brandon Wheat Kings
WHL Humanitarian of the Year, Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy
Matt Fraser (Red Deer, AB) Kootenay Ice
WHL Marketing / Public Relations AwardEastern Conference
Brandon Wheat Kings, Rick Dillabough
WHL Regular Season Champions, Scotty Munro Memorial TrophyCalgary Hitmen:
GP – 72 W – 52 L – 17 OTL – 1 SL – 2 Pts – 107
WHL Top Scorer – Bob Clarke Trophy
Brandon Kozun – (Calgary, AB) Calgary Hitmen
GP – 65 G – 32 A – 75 Pts – 107
The winners of these awards along with the WHL Player of the Year will be announced at the
2010 WHL Awards Luncheon in Edmonton, Alberta on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010.
The WHL will announce the Western Conference All-Stars and Awards Finalists tomorrow Thursday, March 18th.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
A special good morning out to the folks in Brandon, MB today as they check in to see what's going on with the Broncos today.
I know the Wheat Kings coaching staff surf into this part of the Internet for time-to-time.
They always have good things to say about the blog....the question is will it stay that way all series long?
It's awful tough to please the opposition when you're the "home team" guy.
I'll say this...Brandon's got a great team, but no one is crowning them just yet over here.
Game one Friday night from Westman Communications Place.
Bronco Assistant Coach Tim Kehler spoke about the match-up after Sunday's shootout win over Moose Jaw which made the match-up official.
"I think it's a team that we can't open it up with because we can't match them offensively. We will have to get pucks on their net because I think the question mark for them continues to be goaltending," said Kehler.
"We're going to need to be opportunistic, we are going to need to be a little lucky, we are going to need to get outstanding goaltending and I think we are really going to need some momentum on special teams."
Got word from the Pats P.R. Department that we will set up in the home broadcast booth when they series shifts to Regina for games three and four. Bruce Luebke of the Wheat Kings will take over the visitor broadcast location.
Looking forward to working with Dan at the Brandt Center. We spent some time in Lethbridge together when he was Dan "Vernon" of the River 107 FM afternoon show.
He was also the colorman for my very first WHL broadcast back in 1999 when we did a local Shaw TV broadcast between Lethbridge and Regina.
I still have that tape somewhere....
I have to give a shout out to my former senior hockey team this morning. The Lanigan Pirates will take on the Shaunavon Badgers for the SHA Senior "B" Provincial Championship. The best-of-three will start this coming weekend.
I was looking forward to catching one of the games just down the road in Shaunavon but that won't happen because of Broncos playoff hockey.
The match-up in the face-off circle between former Broncos Luke Hunter (Shaunavon) and Brent Twordik (Lanigan) won't happen. Twordik suffered a separated shoulder a couple weeks back and at last word won't be able to play in the Provincial final.
I "played" one full season with my hometown team back in 1997. I was a year out of high school and for me it was the big-time.
I was pretty much the full-time back-up 'tender and didn't see very much action. Pre-game warm-ups for me was as good as it got. Truth be told, I was just happy to be part of it all.
I remember my first start. It was late in the 24 game season and we had clinched 2nd spot heading into playoffs.
Head Coach Mike Horbul came into the room all nervous after practice rubbing his whiskers... "Keen... come out, here I wanna talk to you..."
I stumbled out of the room with my Louisville TPX pads... which were often kicked by Mike during an intermission rant. I just always happened to be sitting near the door when he came into the room. It was either kick the pads or the garbage can. I didn't mind the kick...something had to break those pads in because they weren't exactly seeing a lot of pucks.
Mike was also my neighbor in town so we knew each other a little. He got right into it... "God d**m it Jon I'm gonna start you Friday in Nokomis.... Jesus H c****t don't let me down. I'm scared as hell here you know that?"
I tried to keep a straight face but it was pretty tough to hide a smile knowing I as going to get a chance.
The rest of the team was pretty excited that game night. They were giving it to me pretty good. I knew they would play a strong game in front of me and had nothing to worry about...just make the first save.
Coach Mike's fears proved to be pre-mature. We went into Nokomis and blasted the 5th place team 12-3.
I was a spectator the rest of the way through playoffs and provincials. The next fall I was off to radio college in Lethbridge and that was it for my senior hockey stint with "the big club".
Thanks to Dr. Dean Vause for the nice gift in the mail yesterday. The Vause clan was recently in Barbados. My colorman Tim Tisdale also happened to be on the island at the same time.
A couple emails, a phone call and Tizzy and his wife spent the night at the Vause villa for supper in the palatial setting.
Here's what the Credit Union i-plex looked like as of yesterday in preparation for the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championships which begin Saturday. These pictures are courtesy swiftcurrentonline.com
Monday, March 15, 2010
The win gives the Broncos a first round match-up with the Brandon Wheat Kings which will begin Friday in Brandon.
The shootout in Moose Jaw as it turns out, was the longest one the Broncos have ever been involved in since their inception in the 05/06 season. That's a span of 42 shootouts.
Both benches were having fun with it. Lots of smiles and laughs and a few glances between the benches gave it an almost exhibition game type-feel.
make no mistake, the Broncos went after the "W". They tied the game on Micheal Stickland's hat-trick goal with just under two minutes to play.
They then outshot the Warriors 9-1 in overtime.
The Broncos fired out their top players in the shootout starting with Hoban, Eakin, Dowling and Novotny.
It was clear to me the Broncos wanted the win, they wanted 7th place and finish as high as they can.
I joked post-game with Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler that the Broncos have secured home-ice advantage should the Broncos and Warriors meet in the Eastern Conference final.
The win also gave the Broncos a third place finish in the east division - the spot I predicted they would finish heading into the season behind powerhouses Brandon and Saskatoon.
The year's record will go into the books at 37-30-1-4. It marks the first time the Broncos have been seven games over .500 all season.
They also finish the month of March with a 4-1-1-1 record.
Cody Eakin finished off the season with a four point night - a goal and three assists. He finishes the season with a team high 91 points and 9th in the WHL's scoring race.
Eakin's 91 points is also the highest number a Bronco has put up since Tyler Redenbach and Jeremy Williams went 1-2 in league scoring with a 105 and 101 points in the 2003/04 season.
As the Broncos will go into the 1st round of playoffs no doubt over-matched by a highly-skilled Wheat Kings hockey club who scored the league's most goals with 321. No team even really challenged 300 goals behind them.
They can score.
The one thing that discourages me a little is the Broncos could potentially open up the first round series Friday night without three of their top nine forwards.
Matt Tassone's season is done. Dillon Wagner continues to rehab a knee injury suffered two weeks ago. Adam Lowry is questionable for the series opener.
I would love to have the Broncos full line-up available to them, sadly it won't be the case.
Underdogs? That's the under-statement of the year.
But, it's the playoffs and as the saying goes...anything is possible.
I have a lot of respect for the Wheat Kings and their coaching staff headed up by Kelly McCrimmon.
Although they paid a high price, the Wheat Kings have a team that is as good as any club in the WHL and will rival the powerhouses in the OHL in Windsor and Barrie.
Kelly Mac pulled off some gutsy moves. The Wheat Kings don't have a weakness. They are built for this season and the playoffs.
The pundits will be picking the Wheat Kings in four...heck, maybe even three.
It's a nothing to lose mentality for the Broncos and an "us against the world" feeling. This being highlighted by no real "home" playoff games in the opening round.
If there is a potential silver lining, it appears the series will actually favor the Broncos with an expected 2-2-1-2 format.
Game six of the series will be played in Regina as per the Bronco "home" game. Game seven (if necessary) will also likely be played at the Brandt Center in Regina.
Here's how the series lays out:
Friday March 19 @ Brandon
Saturday March 20 @ Brandon
Tuesday March 23 @ Regina
Wednesday March 24 @ Regina
Friday March 26 @ Brandon
Monday March 29 @ Regina
Wednesday March 31 @ Regina (tentative)
I was in Regina Friday night and was at Rock Creek Bar and Grill. It was busy after-work Friday atmosphere in the lounge.
We ended up sitting beside three gentleman who had been in the place since the early afternoon. They quickly struck up a conversation.
It wasn't long until we were talking WHL hockey. All three were Pats fans and all three were using me as a bit of a sounding board.
One of the guys has heard our broadcast over the years and was pretty complimentary...or it might have been the eight or nine Rickard's White he had tied into by then!
But, all three said they would buy tickets to the Broncos playoff games at the Brandt Center and said they would support the cause.
I thanked them.
Let's hope these three aren't alone. A few extra bums in the seats would be appreciated by everyone.
I'll be placing a call this week to the folks in Regina about the broadcast set-up in the Brandt Center. I'm assuming we (the Eagle will set up in the 620 CKRM booth but that's not been sorted out yet. It has all the webcast hook-ups. It's a big, palatial space much nicer than the visitors set-up.
Voice of the Pats Rod Pedersen blogged a season synopsis today on the Pats. It's a good read and the link is over on the right.
It takes a lot to muster up something like that. You have to tread lightly. Kudos to him for his openness and candor in the piece.
From experience, those are the toughest things to write.
Sometimes it can get you in trouble, but sometimes things just have to be said.
Apparently he also blogged about our fans rubbing in the fact the Broncos are using the Pats building for the playoffs.
I'll admit, it's definitely a topic of conversation in the city that the Broncos are moving into the Brandt Center.
There's a few smirks going on without question.
I mean what do you expect... it would be the same deal if the roles were reversed. By my take the Broncos biggest rival is Regina over the last few years without question.
My experiences in the Brandt Center have been good. Aside from a few fans trying to start something with me after a game and the odd rat thrown on the ice with my name on it it's been fine. Of course all the animosity is/was fueled by blogs and not from an on-air standpoint.
I like to think I get along with the Regina media folks pretty well. We have gotten to know each other pretty good the last few years that's for sure. Guys like Jonesy and Hodgie at CTV Regina. Rob Vanstone of the Leader Post... Mitchell Blair, Kelly Remple and the likes...
And Gerry Wood is a beauty in the media room down there....
As for the Pats staff... I'm still apologizing profusely for accidentally destroying the phone line in the visitors broadcast booth last trip in there. I called the third period, overtime and the shootout on my cell phone. It was quite the night.
First time for everything I suppose.
I'm getting the sense lately the team could do without the blog for playoffs. They want to handle the info through scbroncos.com and promote it rather than this blog and the radio broadcasts.
It would be a shame though. Most of our fans won't be able to see games or get timely information about fan busses and ticket information.
We will see how the week plays out.......
To make matters worse for the team, they will practice out of the Fairview arena this week leading up to their Thursday departure for Brandon.
Again, not ideal but they will have to make it work.
Here's another one. There's no rooms available at the Canad Inns in Brandon which is attached to the rink. It makes for a great set-up for the visiting team. That's off the table too.
It's going to feel like the playoffs this week with mid-week highs of 13C and 11C in the city. I can't wait.
Have a great Monday....