Monday, May 31, 2010
The Bronco trainer was actually photographed in a tuxedo. It may be the first and only time that will ever happen.
I'm told the party lasted well into the night.....
Broncos F Cody Eakin is preparing to begin the AHL Calder Cup Final with the Hershey Bears. They open up the series against Texas Thursday night at home.
Eakin and fellow junior aged player Stefan Della Rovere from the Bears are the last two junior-aged players in all of Canadian junior hockey to be still playing. The rest of their counterparts are in off-season mode.
Thanks to Emily Bennett in D.C. for bringing this to my attention.
I'm a little concerned that Cody won't have much of an off-season to recover for what's going to be a huge year ahead for him next season.
Eakin will already play into mid June with Hershey. He will likely get a World Junior Summer Evaluation Camp invite for the beginning of August.
That's a pretty short off-season. How will it affect him?
Does Bronco F Matt Tassone sign today with Dallas?
Today is the last day for the Dallas Stars to sign Matt before he becomes a free agent. I haven't spoken to Matt to see where they are at with the NHL club.
I do know he is set to resume working out this week after that neck injury in the final week of the regular season in Prince Albert that ended his season.
Expect a quiet week on the blog and Bronco news front....
Friday, May 28, 2010
A couple of birthday wishes this morning...
First to my broadcast colorman Tim Tisdale. Earlier this month it was the 21st Anniversary of his Memorial Cup winning OT goal in Saskatoon.
And to Graduating Bronco defenseman Derek Claffey who turns 21.
The Broncos have been awarding prizes to those who renewed their season tickets by yesterday's deadline.
Check their website here.
The top prize is a trip for two to Las Vegas.
The Chad Lang to Swift Current proposal continues to be talked about amongst WHL circles. Understand there are a lot of factors here and "it's complicated" might be the phrase here.
The Leader Post's Greg Harder blogged about it again over at "Slap Shots" which can be found on the right.
A lot of Bronco fans have asked some valid questions. It will sort itself out in the coming days or weeks.
Have a good weekend,
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Jamie Kureluk, 34, the former Canadian Tour pro from Cottonwood, had a shaky front nine, but then blazed to an incredible 11-under 25 on the back nine at Carnmoney Golf Club to finish with a course-record 10-under 61 and a four-shot lead after the opening round of the RBC Insurance Alberta Open on Tuesday.
The complete story is here.
The player quoted in the story, Kris Wasylowich, is an old college buddy of mine from the Lethbridge days.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
He's back home in Maple Creek. A quick story I submitted to swiftcurrentonline.com about his summer plans can be found here.
Monday, May 24, 2010
How did you spend your long weekend? If you're reading this in Saskatchewan then I would venture a guess you spent most of it indoors.....
Bronco F Cody Eakin spent the weekend on the ice. Can you believe he's still playing hockey? All of his teammates have been shutdown for two months now.
Eakin and the Hershey Bears advanced to the AHL's Calder Cup final with a 3-2 overtime win over Manchester Saturday to win the Eastern Conference.
Eakin played in the game but saw limited action.
The Bears now play the winner of the Hamilton/Texas series in the Calder Cup final.
He turned 19 yesterday.
The bad weekend weather allowed me to watch the Memorial Cup Final between Brandon and Windsor.
At times, I really couldn't believe what I was watching. It seemed very surreal to see Brandon down by that much.
As Windsor went on to the convincing 9-1 win, at least you could say the best team in junior hockey this year won the Memorial Cup. No one will question this one.
Congratulations to Windsor... and to both Brandon and Calgary as well.
The Leader Post's Greg Harder (Slapshots blog on the right) reported this weekend about former Warrior General Manager Chad Lang in talks with both the Broncos and Regina Pats to join their management staff.
The Broncos have been talking with Chad for quite some time now, I don't think that's a secret. Regina arrived on the scene late with Brent Parker stepping down as General Manager recently.
Who knows where Chad will end up this season but it's safe to say it will be somewhere in the Western Hockey League.
Bronco F Taylor Vause was back in the city this weekend to be an Ambassador for the JDRF
Here's a story Shandra Ward did from our GWR newsroom.
Although I haven't played video games in awhile, I think I may have to start again after seeing the recent news involving a partnership between the CHL and EA Sports.
The makers of the popular NHL series video game will incorporate all 60 CHL teams, player likenesses, logos and league structure.
Even the hard-core gamers out there think this is cool.
Great work by the CHL to get this done. Talk about a good recruiting tool. Every kid would love the opportunity to play themselves in a video game. Now they'll get this chance.
It'll be available in September.
I think people would be surprised at how much WHL'ers play video games. It's easily the biggest past time with the Broncos.
Spent the weekend at Fishing Lake (near Wadena, SK). It was our annual Fins and Skins challenge although nasty weather halted action Saturday afternoon for good.
Our group got 13 holes in and didn't even get a line in the water. Hurricane force wins took over with rain and cool weather.
Anyways, here's some pics...
The above shot is the 5th hole at Kelvington Golf Club. I was surprised by the course up there. I would recommend it to anyone traveling in the East-Central part of the province.
A sign that reads "Kelvington: Canada's Hockey Factory" greets you as you drive near the course. A picture featuring Wendel Clark, Barry Melrose, and the Kocur brothers greets you.
Not to take anything away from Kelvington but who have they produced into the NHL the last 20 years?
Perhaps I'm overlooking somebody.
Anyways, they have a nice golf course. If you know of any other Kelvington-born NHL'ers please leave a comment.
Back to the lake.... this is a shot off the front deck of my friend's cabin.
Doesn't look much like a Saskatchewan lake...
The waves actually swept the neighbor's new dock away. Anyone with plans this weekend probably has a similar story of weather-related issues.
It's a short work-week. I hope to track down Bronco Hall of Fame inductees Jason Krywulak and Todd McLellan at some point for comment.
Have a good week,
Friday, May 21, 2010
Here's a pic of Cody Eakin in the Hershey Bears chocolate and white as they say. Eakin was scratched last night in game five of the AHL Eastern Conference Final. Hershey defeated Manchester 3-2 in OT to take a 3-2 series lead.
Enjoy your long weekend,
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The surgery took place in Edmonton and was quite the procedure.
Dillon tells me they took a piece of his hamstring and hollowed out the bone above the knee. They then took a button and screwed the "new ligament" in place.
The tear was worse than first thought. He'll be on crutches for two weeks. He'll be able to start physio in six weeks time.
It could be three months before he's running or skating again.
You factor in the timeline and he probably won't be ready for the start of Broncos season.
He seems to have a positive attitude about everything which is a good sign.
Wagner was hurt in a game against the Vancouver Giants at the end of February.
He's been recalled again by the AHL's Hershey Bears as they continue in the AHL's Eastern Conference Final against Manchester.
Hershey won the first two games of the series but has lost the last two now. They apparently are looking to shake things up a little.
Eakin will celebrate his 19th birthday on Holiday Monday.
F Evan Richardson, who the Broncos selected 15th overall in the 2009 bantam draft has decided he'll play with the BCHL's Victoria Grizzlies.
Richardson won the B.C. major midget league's top scorer this season with the North Island Silvertips.
He has left the door open to join the Broncos in the future.
The complete story from the Victoria Times Colonist can be found here
Monday, May 17, 2010
I plan to get a hold of Jason Krywulak this week to talk to him about his Hall of Fame selection. The Bronco top scorer back in the early 90's will go into the Broncos Hall of Fame this July with former Head Coach / General Manager Todd McLellan.
I'll bug Todd after the playoffs... right now he's got bigger things to deal with, like winning the Stanley Cup.
People have been asking about Joe Sakic getting into the Bronco Hall of Fame in the future. It's not for lack of effort on the Broncos side. When the timing works one summer ahead, he'll be in and it will be a huge weekend. Guaranteed.
Broncos F Cody Eakin is back in Winnipeg. He's been down with Hershey of the AHL since the end of Bronco season. The Bears are in the Conference finals for the Calder Cup. Cody has been relegated to press box duties since the end of the regular season.
Late last week, Hershey sent him home. I trust he gained valuable experience being around the pro game for over a month.
Looking ahead to next season, from a selfish perspective I'm scared the Capitals could potentially keep Cody as a bargain 4th liner with all their high salaries. He could fit in well with their cap space.
If that's the case, I'd wish Cody well knowing he's ready for the next step in his career.
Another year in junior would mean big things for him though. A run at a scoring title, a chance to wear the "C" and a shot at World Junior gold with Canada.
It's a win-win for the kid.
I haven't caught much Memorial Cup action lately. I was happy to see Brandon rebound with a 4-0 win over Moncton. Brandon is 1 and 1 and pretty much secures a playoff spot with that win. Windsor beating Moncton would lock that up.
Calgary and Brandon still have to play. We will see if that game turns out to mean anything or not.
I still contend Brandon is going to win the thing but they are going to need some saves. That's the only way my prediction is going to hold out.
It does sound like Brandon. MB is the place to be this week though.
Don Cherry was good the other night on Coaches Corner. One of my favorite "Cherryisms" is the "act like you've done it before" rant.
When you score a goal...act like you've scored in the past and will score again. He was referencing the Habs Mike Cammalleri and his subtle goal celebrations.
All this glass rolling/jumping" and "fly-bys" in the WHL is a bit much.
Some exceptions can be made... anything goes for an overtime winner... well almost anything.
The Pats Rod Pedersen is stepping back from play-by-play duties to focus more on a sports talk show.
Before all the Junior "A" guys fire off their tape and resume to CKRM and the Pats.... they have their plan in place already. You don't make that type of move and not have everything figured out in advance.
I'll let them announce it though.
I go way back with the "new guy"... back to the Lethbridge radio college days and some Shaw TV work.
Awesome weekend for golf in southwest Saskatchewan. My friend and morning co-host Chance Duperreault had his bachelor party this weekend. Our travels led us to Sage Brush Golf Club in Riverhurst, SK.
Talk about some small town fun.
Fellow radio guy Chris Martens snapped this pic as we stood on the elevated tee-box on the 8th.
I like the angry prairie sky in the background as we get into the evening hours.
Looks like I'm contemplating hitting the driver or perhaps gearing down with the three wood. Not sure.
The question I'm getting around town lately is if I know new Bronco Assistant Coach Darren Evjen.
I've met him a couple times in the past. The one season five or six years ago I spoke to him quite a bit when Bronco prospects Travis Yonkman and Kyle Bortis were playing with the Saskatoon Contacts of the Sask "AAA" midget league.
I've seen him around town in the summer months over the years as well.
So there you go.....
That's all I have for this Monday.... the long weekend is dead ahead,
Have a good week,
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The new design incorporates the colours and logos from the past 25 years. The logo features the colours of the past and present.
Darlene Regier of Swift Current and Isaac John Anderson of Frontier were the design co-winners of the logo contest. Darlene’s idea was to include the current Bronco head and mesh it with the horseshoe logo from 1986 while using the colours of 1999’s logo. Isaac’s idea was the banner and shield at the bottom of the logo with the “25” inside.
The winners will receive a replica third jersey, the Broncos private suite for a night and they will get to drop the puck when the Broncos unveil their third jersey’s next season.
The Broncos would like to thank all those who made submissions in the logo contest, as over 100 entries were sent in either via the Southwest Booster or at The Stable.
The Anniversary Logo will be used at at centre ice, as a jersey patch on the Broncos’ jerseys and on all promotional material.
Claffey and Stickland both hail from Red Deer, Alberta. They finished their WHL careers together and will both play university hockey in Nova Scotia as Claffey has committed St. FX University in Antigonish and Stickland has committed to St. Mary’s University in Halifax.
Claffey spent 4 years with the Broncos, the last 2 as captain of the club; he will join former Bronco Spencer McAvoy on defense for the X-Men who finished the season with an 11-12-5 record in the Atlantic Conference.
Stickland came to the Broncos at the trade deadline in 2009, will head to the defending CIS champion St. Mary’s Huskies who defeated Travis Yonkman and the University of Alberta in March to win their first CIS championship.
Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb is pleased for both players. “It’s great for Michael and Derek to be able to further not only their hockey career but to use the WHL Education program to attend great academic schools. Playing in the Maritimes is a great experience; we wish them the best of luck and congratulate them on their commitments.”
With this said, I still think there are some pro protential for both of these players. An NHL training camp may be in the works as well. For now, this is the plan moving forward.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Swift Current Broncos are pleased to announce that the 2010 inductees to the Broncos’ Hall of Fame are: Todd McLellan into the builder’s category and Jason Krywulak into the player’s category.
Todd McLellan was with the Broncos from 1994-2000. From 1994-1996 he was head coach and assistant general manager and in 1996 he was awarded the general manager position. He guided the team to a 250-176-49 record and 2 division pennants and led the team to the playoffs in each of his 6 seasons at the helm of the Broncos. He was named the WHL executive of the year in 1997 and WHL coach of the year in 2000.
McLellan was born in Melville Saskatchewan and played his junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades. In the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, he was drafted by the New York Islanders in the fifth round. He played five games at the NHL level, spending most of two seasons with the Islanders' American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Indians. However, recurring shoulder injuries dating back to his junior hockey days ended McLellan's North American playing career after the 1988–89 season. He returned home to study at the University of Saskatchewan for a year, before resuming his playing career for SIJ Utrecht of the Eredivisie in the Netherlands. He started his junior coaching career with the Battleford North Stars of the SJHL in 1993.
Since his time with the Broncos, McLellan has embarked on a stellar professional coaching career. In 2000, McLellan was hired by the expansion Minnesota Wild to coach their minor league affiliate, the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League. After the IHL folded in 2001, McLellan and his staff were transferred to the Wild's new minor league affiliate, the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. As coach of the Aeros, McLellan led Houston to the Calder Cup in 2003. In 2005, Mike Babcock selected McLellan to serve as his assistant with the Detroit Red Wings. McLellan would also achieve his first Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2007–08.
On June 11, 2008, the San Jose Sharks hired McLellan to become their new head coach, replacing Ron Wilson. He would end up the head coach for the Western Conference All-Star team, and lead the Sharks to their first Presidents' Trophy with an NHL-leading 117 points to finish the regular season, and finished third in voting for that season's Jack Adams Award.
Jason Krywulak played for the Broncos from 1991-1993 amassing 264 points in his two seasons in Swift Current.
Krywulak holds the team record for most points in a season with 162 and goals in a season with 81. Both of those records were accomplished in the 1992-93 season where the Broncos were WHL Champions. Krywulak still holds the WHL record for power-play goals in a season with 47 in 1992-93; he also scored 13 game winning goals that season, 3rd best all time. In 1993, Krywulak earned several league awards including the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy for WHL MVP, the Bob Clarke Trophy for leading the WHL in scoring and he was named a CHL second team all star after leading the CHL in scoring as well.
After a four-year WHL career, Krywulak began a three-year stint with the University of Calgary. During this time, he also joined short-lived Roller Hockey International league, where he played for four seasons with the Calgary Radz, San Diego Barracudas, Oakland Skates and Sacramento River Rats.
Krywulak turned pro during the 1997–98 season, playing in 3 games with the San Diego Gulls of the minor professional West Coast Hockey League (WCHL). The following season, he went overseas to play in the now-defunct German 1st league with Timmendorf Strand EC. He led the team in scoring with 116 points in 49 games. He then split the 1999–00 season between Straubing EHC of the German Oberliga and Neuwied EHC of the 2nd Bundesliga before retiring.
This year’s Hall of Fame Banquet will once again be combined with the Wellington West Golf Tournament. The Hall of Fame’s premier sponsors RBC Dominion Securities and Diamond Energy present the banquet on Thursday July 22nd in the Credit Union i-plex Auditorium starting at 6:00PM. The Wellington West golf tournament will be held at the Elmwood Golf and Country Club on Friday July 23rd at 1:00PM.
The cost of the banquet is $60 per person, $50 for season ticket holders and $400 for a table of 8. There will be a silent auction and the dinner is catered by the K-Motel. To book your banquet ticket call The Stable Souvenir Store at 773-1509 Ext. 1, tickets will go on sale June 1st.
The cost of the golf tournament is $125 per player or $625 for a 5-some. Each player will receive a Bronco/Wellington West souvenir. There will be great prizes and a silent auction. To book your entry at the golf tournament contact Wellington West at 778-4770.
Head Coach / General Manager Mark Lamb spoke to reporters in the lobby of the Credit Union i-plex.
"I've known Darren for a long time...we grew up together. He's coached in Saskatoon, he's a school teacher. When he came available I thought he'd be a very good fit," said Lamb.
He feels it's important to have another local product be part of things.
" It's been a great experience for me coming back and joining the community. Darren and his wife are from here. She has a lot of family here. The more you can bring people back into the community the better."
At this point Lamb isn't sure what roles Evjen will handle with the team but he plans to make it significant.
"I'm at the point now where I would really like my assistant coach to take a huge part of the team. Whether it be penalty kill, powerplay, game-day prep, pre-scouting... I know with my relationship with Darren that he'd be very good at any of those things."
I spoke with Darren after the conference via telephone:
"It's great, I'm really excited about the opportunity to be a part of a great tradition," commented Evjen.
He talked about the relationship between himself and Broncos Head Coach/GM Mark Lamb.
"We've known each other awhile. In the summer we would sit and talk some X and O's when I was coaching both with the Saskatoon ("AAA" Midget) Contacts and in Notre Dame (SJHL), we would go back and forth talking and it just kind of led to this opportunity."
He feels he has some assets he can bring to the team.
"I think I've always been known as a good communicator with my players. I believe that's real important. You're trying to help them on where they want to go in hockey and life and you have to make them good people and good hockey players."
Making the jump to the Western Hockey League isn't intimidating.
"I think hockey is hockey. I've been fortunate to be given some opportunities in midget, in the SJHL and in Moose Jaw in the WHL. I also helped out to gain experience with an Allan Cup team. What I've found is players are players and systems are systems but it's how you work with each individual player and how you motivate them and motivate them as a team."
Evjen will be on the job effective July 1st.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Evjen spent last season as the head coach and general manager of the Notre Dame Hounds Junior ‘A’ team in the SJHL finishing the season as runner up for coach of the year. He had been with the Hounds since 2007 serving as team governor, director of player personnel and assistant coach. Darren served as an assistant with the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2006-2007. Previous to his WHL coaching experience, Darren coached the SMAAAHL Saskatoon Contacts from 1998 – 2006 winning a national midget championship in 2005.
Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb is looking forward to having Darren on his staff. “I have known Darren almost all my life and we have kept in contact over the years. I have followed his coaching career since he started with the Contacts. His teaching background has also impressed me, the skills and patience in teaching directly translates into hockey. Darren has experience as a head coach and general manager in Junior ‘A’ and he was runner up for coach of the year. It’s a nice asset to have WHL experience as well, he knows the league and he is a passionate individual. We’d like to welcome him, his wife Andrea and kids Rhett and Reese to the Bronco organization.”
Evjen, originally from Swift Current, is currently teaching high school in Saskatoon. Evjen has a bachelor’s degree in education and has been a teacher in Saskatoon for the past 11 years including 9 years at an alternative high school. He is excited to be able to join the Broncos’ staff. “It’s a great opportunity to be a part of the Bronco tradition and for our family to return home to Swift Current. To be able to work alongside a great friend and hockey mind in Mark Lamb is also a big part of the decision to accept the position.”
Evjen will start with the Broncos on July 1st.
They've also called a media gathering in which Head Coach/General Manager Mark Lamb will provide a comment.
Last week it was announced that Tim Kehler would not be returning next season.
If you're coming here looking for Bronco news don't expect much. I will say the team has some announcements to make in the very near future though. So stay tuned for that.
Graduated players Derek Claffey and Michael Stickland have apparently committed to University's next season. Both are headed out East. The Broncos will be releasing the info hopefully in this week ahead. They're waiting for the two schools to confirm the news.
More and more it appears the maritimes are becoming a popular place for WHL graduates.
Local goaltender Blake Voth is an RBC Cup Champion. The Herbert, SK native won the National title with the Vernon Vipers yesterday in Dauphin, MB.
Voth played in one of the round robin games recording a victory over the Brockville Braves.
Spent much of the weekend in Regina. Ran into CTV sports guru Chris Hodges at the Starbucks on Albert. He was there with his family.
We were both wondering what the Regina Pats next move is. They are now in the process of looking for a General Manager after Brent Parker stepped down Friday afternoon.
The Memorial Cup begins Friday in Brandon. We will have to see how the long break for Brandon affects them. It could go either way. We won't know until the tournament gets underway.
Calgary is rolling...so is Windsor. Whoever captures the Quebec title will be on top of their game too. It's going to be a great tournament.
My prediction? Brandon wins it.
Short and sweet today.... have a great week ahead.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
The above is a photo of a Phillies fan who thought it was a good idea to run onto the field the other night. As you can see. His jaunt was about to come to an end. Tasered in front of 30,000 baseball fans.....ouch.
Lots of folks are filling up the comments section in the post below wishing outgoing Assistant Coach Tim Kehler the best in the future.
There's no dirty laundry or anything of the sorts with this move. It's just a matter of Mark Lamb bringing in his own assistant coach moving forward for next season.
It's common practice. It's how the hockey world operates.
Personally, I've had a lot of good times with TK over the last three seasons. Listeners would know Tim best from our post-game coaches show interviews that often got sidetracked or de-railed at the drop of a hat.
The well-spoken native of North Vancouver isn't your typical hockey guy. One conversation with him and you'll know what I mean.
As a team you spend a lot of time together on the road. There's lots of stories and fun to look back on.
We've also played a ton of golf together over the last few summers. In fact he will be teeing it up in the BC Mid-Amateur in about a month.
Tim is a positive guy and a WHL team would be fortunate to have him aboard in the future.
Here's our last post-game coaches show after being eliminated by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the opening round of playoffs:
Click here to listen
(it will just take a few seconds to download)
I touched base with former Bronco captain Zack Smith yesterday. He's in Revelstoke, BC on a fishing trip after wrapping up the season with the Ottawa Senators.
Zack has agreed to come in to co-host an Eagle 94.1 FM morning show when he gets back. We will get Zack into the studio with the Breakfast Boys for some fun. It should be good...
Some players in the NHL playoffs have really caught my attention. Namely Duncan Keith. How good is this former Kelowna Rocket defenseman?
I don't think I ever saw him live as I believe he joined the Rockets late in the 2002-03 season after leaving Michigan.
He's my pick for the Norris trophy winner. Mobile and strong defensively. He's what every team needs to be successful.
Has there been a better team than Kelowna at turning out NHL defenseman in the last six or seven seasons?
Here's an example: Duncan Keith, Josh Gorges, Shea Weber, Alexander Edler, Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers and now Tyson Barrie who just won the WHL's Top Defenseman award.
That's an impressive list.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Swift Current, SK---Swift Current Broncos General Manager and Head Coach Mark Lamb has announced the organization has not renewed the contract of assistant coach Tim Kehler.
Kehler has spent the last 3 seasons as an assistant coach with the Broncos. “We would like to thank Tim for all his contributions to the organization,” comments Lamb. “He did a great job here and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
The bantam "AA" Kabos Raiders captain answered a few questions.
"I was just waiting it out... I knew the Broncos had some picks coming in the 4th round and I knew they were interested. I saw my name come up (on the computer) and I was just really excited," stated the 15 year-old.
"I've always wanted to be a Bronco and this is just really good for me and my family."
I asked Zac about the family's reaction to him being drafted by the local team.
"My mom was really excited that I wouldn't have to move away and I could stay home. My dad was just happy for me, that I went in the draft and that I may get a chance to play some day."
As far as what kind of a player he is, Zac likes the grittier part of the game.
"I like to think I'm gritty and can play both ends of the ice. I just like the rough stuff."
The Bronco season ticket holder likes the style Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla plays.
The well-spoken bantam player hopes to make the team at some point and be a leader - an aspect of the game he feels is very important.