Friday, August 31, 2007
I'm thinking football - more specifically the Labour Day Classic. For those headed to the game or travelling anywhere across the province or across Western Canada, stay safe and enjoy the last kick at summer.
Have a great long weekend,
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Created: Aug 30, 2007
CALGARY, AB - Western Hockey League fans notice some rule changes for the upcoming 2007- 08 season. The WHL has adopted several rule changes consistent with the rule changes the NHL has put into place for their upcoming season. Below are the following rule changes that will be used, commencing with the 2007-08 WHL Pre-Season Schedule:
i. The home Club shall have the choice of shooting first or second in the shoot-out.
ii. The term “Gross Misconduct” has been eliminated from the Rule Book. Any act that would have been assessed a Gross Misconduct penalty previously will now receive a Game Misconduct penalty.
iii. A player may be awarded a penalty shot if he is fouled on a clear breakaway outside his defensive zone (i.e., anywhere in the neutral zone or in the attacking zone). Previously, a penalty shot was awarded only when a player was on a clear breakaway and was fouled on the attacking side of the center line.
iv. Referees have the discretion to assess a major penalty and game misconduct when an injury results from an act of interference. Previously, only a minor penalty could be assessed for interference.
v. All face-offs must be conducted at one of the nine face-off dots painted on the rink. Previously, there were instances, such as when a puck left the playing surface, which caused the face-off to occur on unmarked ice.
vi. The WHL will not have a measurement for stick curvature for player’s or goaltender’s sticks.
The Calgary Hitmen have picked up another good one.... here's the release:
Hitmen Acquire Galiardi From the Winterhawks
Created: Aug 30, 2007
Calgary, AB – Calgary Hitmen General Manager and Head Coach Kelly Kisio announced today the acquisition of 19-year-old forward T.J Galiardi (GALLEY-ar-dee) from the Portland Winter Hawks in exchange for a third round pick in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft.
“This is a very big move for our organization being able to add a front line player to our mix,” said Kisio. “T.J. has very good puck skills and will add some much needed offence to our team.”
Galiardi spent the 2006-07 season with Dartmouth College of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (Division I, Ivy League) and was second in scoring with the Big Green. He was also an all-star for the Calgary Royals of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in 2005-06.
T.J. GALIARDI – CENTER
BORN: Calgary, AB (April 22, 1988)
HEIGHT: 6’2” WEIGHT: 172 lbs.
NHL DRAFT STATUS: Drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2nd round (55th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry draft.
- There's a lot of different stories out there about Galiardi's departure from Dartmouth College. Apparently it wasn't a "mutual"decision. I'm not going to spread rumours so I'll leave it at that.
Regardless, the Hitmen have picked up a potential top two line forward and he will compliment an already dangerous team with the likes of Ryan White, Keegan Dansereau and Ian Duval just to name a few.
He and and his band stopped in at the Humptys on the North Service Road for some eats....
Eagle morning show co-host Chance Duperreault's girlfriend Tanya relayed the info to him and he in turned called me to share the news.
Apparently he was a great guy to everyone and posed for pictures and signed autographs. Someone in the restaurant jumped on their cell phone to relay the message. He took the phone and started talking to the person on the other line "yes this is Billy Bob, how are you?"
When it comes to Thornton's usually only a "Joe" would get me excited but his role as "Coach Gaines" in Friday Night Lights was outstanding. He most recently starred in the Astronaut Farmer.
Word is he has a rock band and is travelling across the country. He had no idea where he was apparently.
That's about it for entertainment news.... as far as WHL hockey, it was back on the air last night. Drew Wilson from 900 CKBI Prince Albert had the play-by-play for last night's Raiders vs Moose Jaw Warriors game; the first of the exhibition season. Prince Albert took it in a shootout 5-4.
Kudos to Drew for doing every pre-season game. We at the Eagle hope our first broadcast will be the September 14th game vs Regina in Kindersley however nothing has been finalized on that front.
Tonight I have about six of the Broncos coming by the station to help us out with some promos and our game broadcast opener. I have this idea in my head about this year's game intro. It heavily involves the guys and I hope it works out. If it does, it will sound great.... stay tuned.
Has Riley Merkley played his last game with the Calgary Hitmen? It appears so. It's been reported he's not at camp and awaiting a trade. The 19 year-old forward only tallied three goals last season. Merkley is a former 1st round bantam pick (9th overall) by the Hitmen in 2002.
We'll see where he lands before the opening face-off or in fact he returns to the ice for Calgary.
There is a group of 40 of us from all over the province headed to the Labour Day Classic Sunday. I just love being a fan.... It's a chance to go to the game with no responsibilities and just enjoy yourself. That's the best part about the Riders - going to a game at Mosiac Stadium/Taylor Field.
Some would say us team broadcasters act like "super fans" some nights... perhaps it's true. We have to be a cheerleader to some extent while keeping it professional at the same time. A tough line to walk some nights... especially if Chris Savage is the referee (Vancouver late 2005).
Sunny and 31C in Swifty today, enjoy it.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Broncos made 12 player personnel moves after last night’s game. Reassigned were:
Joel Rumpel (16) Goaltender Swift Current Midget AAA (SMHL)
Martin Cole (17) Defense Canmore Jr. (AJHL)
Jordan Peddle (16) Forward Swift Current Midget AAA (SMHL)
Michael Hay (15) Forward Winnipeg Thrashers Midget AAA (MMHL)
Davis Claffey (16) Forward Red Deer Midget AAA (AMHL)
Andrew Sullivan (15) Forward Calgary North Stars Midget AAA (AMHL)
Jarryd ten Vaanholt (16) Forward Northwest Giants Midget AAA (BCMMHL)
Travis Tilley (16) Forward Yellowhead Midget AAA (MMHL)
Taylor Vause (16) Forward Calgary Royals Midget AAA (AMHL)
Evan Warner (16) Forward Calgary Royals Midget AAA (AMHL)
Meanwhile, 17 year old defenseman Scott Macaulay elected to return to the Winnipeg Saints of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League after the Black/White game, and 16 year old defenseman David Greyeyes suffered an injury last night and will be unable to suit up this weekend in the Edmonton pre-season tourney. He will likely be reassigned to the Beardy’s Blackhawks of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League. The Broncos now have 28 players on the roster (3 goaltenders, 8 defensemen, and 17 forwards).
Macauley returning home has caught everyone by surprise. Apparently he doubts his ability to play in the Western Hockey League citing his size as a factor. I'm thinking the Broncos had plans for Scott this upcoming season as at least a 6th or 7th d-man with potential for more but maybe he didn't see it that way. I'm disappointed about this development and hope to see him at some point this season or maybe next. He was no doubt my favorite rookie at camp as past blog entries have indicated.
I think back to Derek Claffey as a 16 year-old electing to play a year of Junior "A" hockey in Canmore before coming to the Broncos last season as a rookie 17 year-old. Maybe this will be a similar situation - maybe not. Time will tell.
Overall, the team remains very deep at the blueline and have still have 8 on the roster including 16 year-old Joel Rogers.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The game was played 4-on-4 because of a lack of bodies so it was wide open to say the least. The third period (and I'm told all game) was filled with odd man rushes and breakaways. Highly entertaining for the fans who filled up the Fairview Arena.
Team Black trailed 5-2 headed into the 3rd and rallied back led by Paul Postma. The 18 year-old d-man picked up the hat-trick and also added an assist.
Ryan Molle's muffin from the blueline with 40 seconds to play found it's way by Chad Ketting (who still played well) and tied the game 6-6.
Zack Smith rang the post for Team Black on a shot from the slot in the dying seconds... no dice. It was off to the shootout.
Tied 1-1 after three shooters, Grant Toulmin scored a nice goal on a back-end deke for Black. Kyle Bortis missed on his opportunity for White and that was it. 7-6 Team Black your final.
A few minor dust-ups in the 3rd. Ryan Molle caught Dale Wiese with a high and hard hit inside his own zone. Safe to say Wiese wasn't a fan. There was more vets on vets violence, Matt Tassone (who's played with an edge and short fuse all camp) wasn't too happy with his treatment in front of the net and went after Eric Doyle. The linesman would intervene and that was that. Chalk it up to two teams competing a bit harder in the third period.
Here's something else to ponder. That was the last time the Broncos will be on home ice for the next six weeks due to Civic Center renovations. The next 14 games both exhibition and regular season will be on the road.
I had a chat with Myles Rumsey has he continues to rehab his knee. He will attend the University of Manitoba and will eventually play with the Bisons. He admits life after junior hockey is different. For the last six years he's been at Broncos camp at this time of year.
I'll post a the text of the interview later on Wednesday.
It's getting mixed reviews so far. The retro jersey was on display yesterday at a news conference.
(photos from the Green Zone blog @ www.ckom.com. It's an informative place for Riders Fans, check it out)
Not sure what to think here... I love the idea but I don't think they captured the old school look. Then again, how exactly do you do that?
Whatever they're wearing Sunday lets hope they get the job done against the Bombers.
Everyone seems to be talking Riders football right now.
Monday, August 27, 2007
"Don't count on having Myles Stoesz around for a 20-year old season with the Regina Pats.
The Steinbach, MB product will be with the Atlanta Thrashers organization this season, and leaves for ATL camp September 5.Get this: he got a $25,000 signing bonus with the Thrashers and bought a $28,000 Lincoln Zephyr.
Financial planning 101."
Competitive, physical and some good skill shown by some young up and comers.
Head Coach Dave Hunchak spoke with Darren Stein of CHAB radio this weekend about camp, "I think everybody for the most part met our expectations. There were some younger guys, I think Quinton Howden (07 first rounder) had a real good weekend. You sometimes tend to forget he's only 15 years old. There are certainly guys that did impress and certainly an abundance of young guys that will push for spots in years to come. "
He continued, "for the most part I was very happy with the work ethic, the competitiveness level. More importanly there was guys showing like they cared. We had some scraps this weekend, we had guys playing physical, pushing back. We had a nice mix of school on the ice too.
The Warriors still have to solve the problem of having two 20 year-old goaltenders in Joey Perricone and Kurt Jory. They know only one will be around this year. Kurt Jory has come ready to compete for the job. " It's a very competitive relationship we have. Joey and I both know that. We both have been thinking about it all summer so it's good to get on the ice." Jory commented over the weekend.
As for Perricone the attitude is much the same.
" We have a great relationship, we are really good to eachother and I hope the best for him but at the same time I have to be selfish for myself and fight for that spot. He's a very good goalie and we complimented eachother nicely last year, you just have to keep pushing."
From my perspective the Warriors will have a strong group of forwards - they're top nine look very good. Their defense is suspect and will need to fill some holes along the way.
They believe they can win the division and that's always a good start.
The Canada / Russia Super Series begins tonight with game one in Russia. Although the idea is good, I just haven't heard much talk about this in WHL circles. I have to wonder why that is. Too early in the season? Too much international hockey?
No one has come up to me and said "I can't wait for the Super Series to begin". Even though the team is made up of 13 WHL'ers on the 25 player roster, no one seems to be giving it much attention. That may change when the series shifts to Western Canada for four games thru Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Red Deer and Vancouver.
Saskatoon is about half sold-out with around 5000 tickets sold. Top tickets go for about $50. According to Red Deer Rebels pbp broadcaster Cam Moon, Red Deer continues to be hockey crazy. The game at the Enmax Centrium is sold out with tickets on "stub hub" online going for about $100 a pop. Ticket sales are more than likely aided by the fact Brent Sutter is coaching the team and Brandon Sutter will be a featured player on the squad.
We'll wait and see I guess.....
The Broncos mini-tournament concluded Sunday with a 5-2 Team Red win over Team Grey. It was very clear all weekend long who the top players were....and if you were there you know what I'm talking about. For me, and to those I've talked to, the decisions look easy.
Although I haven't seen the camp roster, the players were to be cut down to around 40 players for the Black / White game tomorrow at the Fairview. They may keep more due to a rash of bumps and bruises among a small army of players.
The team will now go through the motions of the exhibition season leading up to the season opener in Moose Jaw September 21st.
Not sure when the intersqaud teams will be released, but if it's like past years, you will see the players remaining when you pick up the roster at the door Tuesday night.
Kamloops Daily News Sports Editor Gregg Drinnan is reporting about the rumours circulating Marc Habscheid. He says Habscheid could soon be joining the Phoenix Coyotes coaching staff as an assistant to Wayne Gretzky. He apparently would be filling the role of Rick Tocchet who was just recently given two years probation for his role in a sports gambling operation.
I saw Habby probably 10 times this weekend around the rink, I should have asked him...
The Elmwood Golf Club is looking for more golfers for the annual Labour Day Classic Match Play Championships. Call the pro shop 773 - 2722.
Sunday, September 9th is the first day of games in the Swift Current Minor Football League. I've recently been certified as a football official and will be handling some of the duties for the next few Sundays. Can't wait, the future looks bright for football in this city. League organizers should be proud. They've done a great job the last two years of putting the pieces together.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
In game one (Tean Trottier vs Team Ruskowski), veteran d-man Derek Claffey had the hat-trick as he showed some offensive flair - something we rarely see from the defense first 18 year-old. It was enough to get Team Trottier into a shootout in which they won thanks to pretty goals from Euro David Steiler and Justin Dowling. Final score: Trottier 7 Ruskowski 6
- I thought 07 first rounder Christian Magnus for Team Ruskowski looked as good as he's been all week. 17 year-old Mike Brown continues to excel on occasion. He played a pair of games last season on a call-up basis.
- An unlikely scrap broke out late in the game between Trottier's Bienvenu and Ruskowski's Brad Hoban. Hoban has been a much talked about 16 year-old as he tries to crack the line-up this season.
Game two was another good one as Team Tiger held on to beat Team Sakic 6-4 with an empty netter. Dale Wiese scored two more goals - including the empty netter in the dying seconds after what looked like the tying goal from Team Sakic's Kris Foucault. Foucault is drawing more attention after a pair of nice goals in the contest. He has five in two games.
One of the best players in rookie camp last season, Foucault has worked on his conditioning this past year and has come to camp in better shape. He says it's definitely helping him this year.
'06 first rounder Cody Eakin continues to look impressive.
Game action continues today at 4pm and 7pm from the Fairview. A lot of Bronco fans are taking in the sessions and that's great to see. You can tell everyone is excited about the upcoming season.
- I should correct myself from a post on Thursday night. It was Team Sakic over Team Trottier 8-4 and not the other way around. I apologize to B.C. scout Albert Van Hoek who is behind the bench of Team Sakic who pointed that out to me yesterday...
- A quick note from around the league. Brandon Wheat Kings 18 year-old Matt Hallick will not be returning to the Wheaties. He's at home awaiting a trade after both sides agreed a change of scenery is necessary. Hallick only scored once in 49 games last season which was below expectations for all involved.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Gregg Drinnan, Sports Editor of the Kamloops Daily News had this story on his blog http://www.gdrinnan.blogspot.com/ this morning:
The Kamloops Blazers Sports Society’s membership voted 151-43 Thursday night to sell its WHL franchise to River City Hockey Inc.
(RCH), a group that is led by Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi and includes ex-Blazers players Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor.The purchase price will be around $7 million, the highest price — by $3 million — ever paid for a WHL franchise and the second-highest price ever paid for a major junior team. The OHL’s Mississauga IceDogs sold for a reported $9.2 million last summer.
There were 194 of 256 eligible members at the extraordinary general meeting in the Sports Action Lounge at the Interior Savings Centre. The meeting, which began at 7 o’clock, ended about 9:30.
The society’s nine-man board of directors was forced into calling the meeting when RCH and its supporters, using a clause in the B.C. Society Act, were able to get a requisition asking for a vote on its offer.The vote, which was done by a show of hands, was resounding, something that meant a lot to the RCH group.
“It hasn’t sunk in,” said Sydor, before jetting back to Dallas where he is a member of Stars’ centre Mike Modano’s wedding party. “But it’s been a long time coming. The membership has spoken.“It was resounding and that makes us feel better. It makes us proud.”
Gaglardi added: “Wow! That’s quite something.”
Emotions and passion ran high throughout a lot of the meeting that featured 19 different speakers, including all five members of RCH as well as society board members Dennis Coates and Don Moores.“The time has come to choose a private model,” said Coates, who is the society’s treasurer. “My personal opinion is . . . that the time has come to privatize the enterprise. Quite frankly . . . I disagree with price being the driving force. I think it’s a combination of price and hockey commitment.”
Moores, who spoke emotionally on July 11, 2006, when members voted that the assets weren’t for sale, favoured selling, too, but not without going to the market place.“I’m not naive enough to not take a look at all this and see that we have a membership that is fractured. There’s no question that’s what has happened. So in my mind it’s inevitable that this hockey club is going to sell.“The four guys that are wanting to buy the hockey club . . . this has nothing to do with them. . . . My issue with what is going on is the process. As a society, there is a process that is laid out. And we should be putting this hockey club on the open market only because it’s the right thing to do.”
The members, however, felt otherwise, despite claims of a hostile takeover by one of them.“We love you guys,” Helen Long said, “but what you are attempting here is a hostile takeover. If we decide to sell, it should be on our terms and open to all offers.”
Other speakers, like former Blazers marketing director Don Larsen and Ross Cundari, felt otherwise.“I have no problem turning the team over to these guys,” Larsen said.“This is a dream team for any hockey fan,”
Cundari said of the RCH group. “This is an opportunity that we shouldn’t delay any further.”
Andy Clovechok, a former board member who served the society for a long time, also sided with RCH.“Now is the time to sell,” he told the crowd, “not two years down the line. What are we waiting for? Let’s go.”
Society president Murray Owen had said Tuesday that the board wouldn’t sign off on the offer that was in front of it at that time. RCH presented an amended offer Wednesday, one that takes liability for the education fund among other things.
Owen told the members during the meeting that the board would sign off on the amended offer should the vote go that way.The society board was to meet late last night and Owen said the WHL has a process that will be followed involving a transfer of ownership.Should the WHL approve the sale, a process that WHL commissioner Ron Robison has said could take at least 90 days, Gaglardi will be the franchise’s governor, a role presently filled by Owen.
RCH first attempted to purchase the Blazers for $6 million on June 27, 2006. That offer never was presented to the society’s membership. In fact, at a meeting on July 11, 2006, the members voted that the society’s assets weren’t for sale. RCH returned July 18 with an offer of $6.1 million. RCH amended that offer Wednesday and it now is valued at around $7 million.
A group of shareholders purchased 33 per cent of the franchise from the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers in the summer of 1981. The remaining 67 per cent was purchased from the Oilers over the summer of 1984 when the team name of Junior Oilers was changed to Blazers.Later, a non-profit society was formed and its board of directors has, under the terms of the Society Act, continued to operate the franchise.That all ended officially last night.
“I’m very happy,” Larsen said. “As soon as the motion was passed, I became a Blazer again. I know it sounds corny but I had shivers.”
The situation in Kamloops has had an impact elsewhere, too.Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, signed head coach Don Hay, a former Blazers coach and a Kamloops native, to a five-year contract yesterday. Toigo later admitted that the uncertain situation here and not knowing what new ownership might mean in terms of the coaching staff contributed to his decision."Everybody would want him," Toigo told The Province. "But I think he likes living here. I think he likes the atmosphere with the team. I think he likes the support from the community."
The community owned Blazers modelled the same ownership scenario as the Broncos Tier 1 Franchise Inc. With that being said, could this happen to the Broncos down the road?
If a group of Broncos alumni ponied up in the neighbourhood of $7 million dollars, would the Broncos be for sale? Would that situation work in the smallest market in the WHL?
Something to ponder.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
The first real day of camp with free agents and listed players going at it had some high points.
The opening mini tournament game saw Team Trottier thump Team Sakic 8-4 in a game that lacked intensity. A couple of players drew some attention - mostly some of the young guys. 2006 first rounder Cody Eakin looked good throughout and is doing a good job in grabbing one of the limited openings up front.
17 year-old Kris Foucault supplied a hat-trick for Team Trottier and showed great finish around the net.
Other than that it was a very ho-hum session with little action.
The 2nd game of the night was a welcomed change. Team Tiger led by Dale Wiese's three goals and three helpers skated to an 8-3 win. Dale Wiese was for lack of a better term dominant. Distributed the puck well, scored on his opportunities and outright blew up some of the younger players using his size for some big hits. He was clearly the best player on the ice.
-A couple of veteran players added to the intensity. Phil Gervais ran over Levi Nelson in the opening period. Then Nelson and Matt Tassone were in each other's faces a few times. Tassone took a boarding penalty on an awkward hit on Nelson behind the net. Nelson wasn't too happy about it and got up looking for Tassone. Things cooled down from there but both players knew where the other was for most of the night.
-Speaking of Tassone, I must admit he looks like a different player this season. He looks to have taken the next step in his junior career.
- Nelson also scored a pretty goal in the loss for Team Ruskowski although I felt he struggled at times playing with some of the rookies.
- Coaches Corner? This morning at the rink three current or former WHL coaches shared the same space. Dean Chynoweth of the Broncos, Marc Habscheid (Kelowna, Kamloops) and Tim Tisdale (Regina) were all taking in a session. Marc's son Zach continues at Broncos camp while Tim Tisdale remains our minor hockey president. His son is also a stick-boy for camp.
- Ok, I'm going to play favorites for a sec. My favorite prospect at camp has become Winnipeg defenseman Scott Macauley. The small, speedy blueliner reminds me a lot of a younger Ian White - minus the over sized head of course. The comparison isn't really fair considering White collected 32 goals and 47 assists as a 17 year-old with the Broncos. Macauley will be a 17 year-old d-man this season. I talked with him after his session tonight.
(pic from espn.com)
No this isn't the score from the NFL pre-season game between the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens....
Last night the Texas Rangers scored nine runs in the 6th, ten in the 8th and six more in the 9th for the 30-3 pasting.
It marks the first time since 1897 a team has scored 30 runs in a game. To add insult to injury, it was game one of a doubleheader. Texas took the 2nd game 9-7.
Even the NFL Baltimore Ravens were laughing, the team that plays across the street hasn't given up 30 points since Week 12 of 2005.
The latest Bronco news is below.....
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Not much today for the Broncos in regards to on-ice. There was some open ice in the afternoon after a morning filled with work-outs led by Athletic Therapist Paul Ayotte and Assistant Coach Tim Keller.
The open ice session resembled an organized pick-up hockey game. For the first time in camp Geordie Wudrick and Levi Nelson were skating. Wudrick's equipment finally arrived from London and Nelson was good to go after a foot infection.
About 30 or so free agents showed up this afternoon. The team met as a group this evening for introductions, expectations and rules. The players were also broken into four teams for a mini tournament that begins tomorrow afternoon.
4pm - Team Sakic vs Team Trottier
7pm - Team Ruskowski vs Team Tiger
The teams will all have a chance for a practice session beginning at 7:30am.
Director of Player Personnel Jaime Porter and Assistant Ken Fox along with the scouting staff
will have some evaluations to do. Judging by the young talent in camp there will be some very tough decisions to make.
The first cuts aren't expected to be made until Sunday once the tournament concludes. From there, four teams become two in preparation for the annual Black / White Intersqaud game Tuesday night.
A couple of former Broncos will be spectators tomorrow as they check-up on former teammates. Kyle Moir is expected to be around the rink tomorrow and Dane Crowley informed me he'll be taking in the 7pm game. Crowley is on his way out to Everett for camp. He heads to Tampa Bay Lightning camp in the coming days in search of a contract. I hope he gets it. He's a hard worker on and off the ice and is one of the nicest guys you'll meet. He's a durable guy who will be a leader with the Tips if he's back this season.
More news tomorrow following the pair of games,
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Here's some of the highlights,- this is just my opinion and will probably be vastly different than what "scouts row"saw, or for that matter Dean Chynoweth.
- Dale Wiese at times took over the 4-on-4 session. Rightfully so, he's a four year guy playing amongst fellow teammates and rookies. He scored a handful of goals and is impressing so far. He's bigger and playing with confidence.
- Brady Leavold impressed me in the 1st session. He's always had nice hands and they were on display on a couple of rushes up the ice. Listen for some Leavold clips on the radio tomorrow morning.
- 17 year-old goaltender Ian Curtis is looking good. He's reminding me of when I first saw him at 15 and said "wow". He's a big, mobile goaltender with great lateral movement. You will not beat him low when he stretches out post to post with his pads. He was impressive today. He made some outstanding saves. He wants to be here this year. He would love the opportunity to back-up Yonkman this season. Time will tell.
- A pair of rookie d-men have impressed me throughout. 17 year-old Joel Rogers is a smooth-skating positionally sound player who has even some of the veterans talking. Could he be a player to watch in the coming days? Bank on it. The other rookie d-man who is tearing it up is Scott Macauley. The 17 year-old Manitoban is an offensively gifted rear-guard. He's a player. As in Rogers' case, a few of the veterans are taking notice of Macauley. Size is lacking though. It could be a factor if the Broncos are looking to make him their 7th d-man.
- This may be the most mobile blueline the Broncos have had in years. The back-end can all wheel and carry the puck led by Doyle, Postma, Wilson, and McAvoy. That group complimented with the more defensively sound likes of Larochelle, Claffey and Molle.
- It got a little heated in the 2nd session when Kyle Bortis finished a check on Matt Tassone. Tassone felt the hit was late and away from the play and had some choice words for Bortis when he got to his feet.... Zack Smith cruised in for a little chat with Tassone. It was the most intense part of the day. I expect things to be turned up in that regard in the coming days. If not, Dean will be weighing in you can bet.
- Speaking of Tassone, he's looking good after missing most of last year's 2nd half with a knee injury. He's skating well and looks hungry for a good season.
- 16 year-old Cody Eakin is getting rave reviews from scouts and teammates. Some of the veteran defenseman admit he's a tough guy to contain. They say his first two strides are as quick as any.
- Did you know? The Broncos have six former 1st round bantam picks at camp. 2007 1st rounder F Christian Magnus, 2006 1st rounder F Cody Eakin, 2005 1st rounder F Geordie Wudrick, 2004 1st rounder D Paul Postma and Everett's 1st round pick D Eric Doyle, 2003 first rounder F Kyle Bortis.
As for Wednesday, the players gather for off-ice workouts in the morning. There is some open ice in the afternoon. About 30 free agents show up tomorrow for registration and a Main Camp opening meeting has also been scheduled for all 80 skaters.
Let the games begin!
Regan Bartel is reporting that 1st round bantam pick (2nd overall) Luke Moffatt will not be attending Kelowna Rockets training camp. Moffat, a native of Phoenix, Arizona will play midget hockey in Detroit this season. It's not to say he won't be a Rocket in the future but for now he's a no show. Moffatt is good friends with Broncos Arizona product G Eric Ferber. Ferber is in camp and looking excellent.
Monday, August 20, 2007
In talking to Geordie he was disappointed with Canada's 4th place showing. He says he was used sparingly and was a bit disappointed with that. You will never hear this guy complain though.
He wanted to get on the ice today and was disappointed about his gear bring 1000's of miles away but so goes the world of international travel.
I noticed a few guys are looking good off the ice. Cody Eakin and Justin Dowling have both grown a little.
Ryan Molle is looking big after a strong off-season work-out plan. All the guys appeared to have put some time in the weight room over the summer.
Some other young players caught my eye today. 17 year-old Scott Mcauley on the blueline, and forward Taylor Vause had me checking my program a few times. D-man Joel Rodgers also made me look twice.
Matt Tassone looked good after missing most of the 2nd half with a broken knee cap. I thought he looked strong.
R.J Larochelle looks like he'll be a strong anchor on the blueline. He's impressed so far. Eric Doyle was also skating strong and with confidence.
Newly acquired European forward Jan Dalecky is also on the ice. I didn't get a very good look although he appears as advertised, a 17 year-old smaller skilled forward.
As for tomorrow, there are two practice sessions in the morning beginning at 9:30am at the Fairview. In the afternoon there is some 4 on 4 and 3 on 3 action beginning at 4pm.
Not much to report on day one but it's a start anyways.
Am I getting old? After last night's flag football game and a weekend of water skiing I woke up this morning almost unable to get out of bed. My back is in knots which has me headed to Broncos Chiropractor extraordinaire Dr. Kristmanson in the morning. 28 and almost a cripple am I. I've heard yoga is great. Maybe a little maintenance and stretching is in order. This is the worst pain I've experienced a long time.
One last thing. I heard from a friend on the set of "Corner Gas" that Travis Moen was taping his appearance on the hit TV sitcom today. He was apparently filming a scene inside the "Ruby"and depending on the weather they were going to attempt to shoot his run-in with the local police outside. I can't wait for the episode.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
CBC has bigger problems.
When the power went out at Mosiac Stadium last night, it was the last images of the football game for everyone across the nation except for Saskatchewan.
The CBC cut away from Regina and did not show the last 13:04 of the 4th qaurter to the rest of Rider Nation outside of the provincial boundary. Quite frankly that's embarrassing.
Rightfully so the CBC is taking heat from the Rider fans across the country and from the CFL itself. What has happened to the powerhouse that once was CBC Sports? For years an icon, now resembling a local cable company production.
Don't get me wrong, Hockey Night in Canada is a staple. They pioneered television sports in our country but have since been lapped by the folks at TSN and Sportsnet.
Even during the NHL playoffs I found myself watching NBC's coverage over CBC's just simply because it was better and more informative. That's the reality.
This latest debacle is just another example of how the once mighty CBC Sports is crumbling. I know Joel Darling recently took over as Head Producer, if anyone can turn it around, the former producer of HNIC can. Good luck Joel.
Kudos to CRKM Rider Radio. They're coverage during the outage was outstanding. We were all in Regina in the middle of the storm and they're work via cellphone deserves credit. Knowing how difficult an operation that can be, I felt informed and up to speed while tuning in "the old fashion way".
Oh, and what a game! They are making a believer out of me. They're secondary is still a bit shaky but I've never seen this much creativity offensively from this football club. Head Coach Kent Austin has rejuvenated the Riders, this province and fans from coast to coast.
What a display of Rider Pride last night and the drive back to Swifty. Labour Day should be fantastic. There is a group of about 25 of us headed for the game and we're all excited.
Enjoy the bye-week, you've earned it.
On the Broncos front, players on the 50 man list report tomorrow morning for orientation. More tomorrow,
Friday, August 17, 2007
I suspect that message will be delivered very early in training camp meetings by the coaching staff.
Veterans consider this your early warning... perform and be leaders or expect the young players to take your spot and your role. Every year at camp Dean calls out some of the veteran players for their lack of effort or enthusiasm and I'm betting he will not hesitate to do it again.
With youngsters like Joel Rodgers, James Martin, David Greyeyes, Justin Dowling, Cody Eakin, Scott Macauley, Mike Brown, Kris Foucault and Brad Hoban all vying for a spot on this year's team, the veterans are either in... or in the way. Sure it seems harsh but that's the reality of junior hockey and always has been.
I haven't seen a list of training camp attendees and could be missing some names, but a little simple math shows a log jam at defense and forward. Lets take a look.
DEFENSE - R.J. Larochelle, Mike Wilson, Spencer McAvoy, Paul Postma, Eric Doyle, Ryan Molle, Derek Claffey, Joel Rodgers, James Martin, and David Greyeyes - that's 10. Plus, you have to think at least one of the free agents the Broncos bring in will also make a solid impression which will keep him around for an extended look.
FORWARD - Brady Leavold, Kyle Bortis, Dale Wiese, Levi Nelson, David Stieler, Zack Smith, Matt Tassone, Phil Gervais, Geordie Wudrick, Jan Dalecky, Grant Toulmin, Cody Eakin, Justin Dowling, Mike Brown, Scott Macauley, Kris Foucault, and Brad Hoban - that's 17. Now, throw in a couple free agents and you can see there will be some tough decisions ahead.
See you at the rink,
The Portland Winter Hawks swapped centers with the Medicine Hat Tigers, today, sending 17-year old Thomas Frazee in exchange for 19-year old Tyler Swystun and a fourth round pick in the 2008 Bantam Draft.
A rookie last season, Swystun tallied 12 goals 24 assists for 36 points for the Western Hockey League Champion Tigers. Swystun spent the 2005-06 season playing NCAA hockey for the University of Michigan Wolverines.
A move to Portland will most likely give Swystun the opportunity to see more meaningful ice time and added scoring opportunities as his 36 points would have made him the fourth leading scorer for Portland in 2006-07.
"We are looking forward to Tyler adding his speed, skill and maturity to our line-up this season," Said Hawks General Manager, Ken Hodge.
Hodge said the fourth round pick also fills a need for the team.
"We traded away our 4th round pick in 2008 in a previous trade," Hodge said. "This fills that hole. This pick could also be used to help bring in an additional 20-year old in a future deal."
The Winter Hawks currently have two 20-year old overage players. They are allowed three per season.
Frazee heads to Medicine Hat after scoring 6 goals and 6 assists as a 16-year old rookie last season.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Today, us radio folk got some ink on the WHL website. Before I get to that, We have our own news. A little arm twisting on my part and some other factors will mean Ryan Switzer will join me in the booth for 5th season of Broncos hockey. He's excited as am I and I think we will have another fun season. He again will be a part of the 36 home games and some divisional road games schedule permitting.
Ryan and I have a great time at and away from the rink. It makes things a lot easier when you're good friends with your broadcast partner.
Also, the Eagle 94.1 FM will broadcast an unprecedented 15 "AAA" midget hockey games this season. We will continue our on-going commitment to the Legionnaires by providing ten broadcasts. We are also proud to present Diamond Energy "AAA" Wildcats female hockey this winter. The Wildcats will be one of the premiere female midget hockey teams in Western Canada and we will provide five broadcasts over the winter months. With Head Coach Terry Pavely, assistant Steve Veason and General Manager Tim Tisdale, I have no doubt they will put forth an exceptional team and it will be run top notch. Pavely, Tisdale and myself were behind the first "AAA" Legionnaire broadcasts six years ago. Also a HUGE thanks to title sponsors Fabro National Oil Well and Diamond Energy.
The Eagle 94.1 FM continues to raise the bar with sports broadcasting. Year round the station provides over 120 games or about every third night.
Here's the WHL news today:
The Portland Winter Hawks announced today that Andy Kemper has agreed to become the primary radio voice on Sunny 1550 AM for the 2007-08 season.Kemper had been the color analyst for the team for the past three seasons, working next to Dean “Scooter” Vrooman, who left the team to pursue other opportunities earlier this month.
"Andy has been a valuable part of this organization for a long time, both as a fan and, more recently, as Dean Vrooman's broadcast partner," said Winter Hawks President, Jack Donovan.
"We are excited that he is now able to take a more involved role with the team. With our return to radio this season, it was very important that we have his extensive knowledge of the game, the Western Hockey League and the Winter Hawks as a part of our broadcasts."
“I am looking forward to being a larger part of the Winter Hawks broadcasting team, “ Kemper said, “But, I realize that I have some very large shoes to fill being the guy to follow Scooter who was so highly thought of during his 25 years behind the mic for the Hawks.”“I will do my best to keep the same standards that Scooter and I brought to the broadcasts the past three years”
Kemper will work all home games and the vast majority of the road games, as his work schedule permits. “I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to travel through much of the WHL cities during the hockey season and I will do everything that I can to be in the press box describing the action for the Hawks faithful back in Portland and around the world via the internet,” Kemper stated.
The color analyst position will be announced prior to the start of the season.
SILVERTIPS NAME JON ROSEN DIRECTOR OF BROADCASTING
– Everett Silvertips Vice President/General Manager Doug Soetaert announced today that Jon Rosen has been hired as the new Director of Broadcasting, Media and Public Relations.
A native of Los Angeles, CA, the 26 year old Rosen has spent the previous three seasons as the Director of Broadcasting with the High Desert Mavericks, the Seattle Mariners’ Class-A affiliate in the California League. Prior to his work in baseball, Rosen gained valuable experience with the University of Michigan’s Varsity Hockey program, serving as a television color commentator and play by play broadcaster on WOLV-TV in Ann Arbor, MI for four years prior to his graduation in 2003.
“I would like to express my profound gratification to the Everett Silvertips for allowing me this privilege to provide informative broadcasts to a knowledgeable hockey fan base. In an environment where on and off-ice success has been thoroughly evident, I look forward to continuing to raise the scope and awareness of Silvertips Hockey through excellent relations with the local community. I am also excited to be broadcasting all 72 Silvertips games this season on our flagship station North Sound 1380 KRKO.”
Doug Soetaert, Vice President and General Manager of the Silvertips, views this hire as one beneficial to both the legions of supportive fans and members of the Everett business community.
“We are really excited for Jon to be joining the organization, as he brings a vast background of hockey knowledge and professionalism to this position. He has an outstanding track record and will maintain a high standard of quality broadcasts for our listeners. We all look forward to working with him.”
Congratulations to both and welcome aboard! I've worked with Andy before and he's no stranger to the Civic Center. Check out his WHL blog at www.afterthewhistle.blogspot.com
I have never met Jon Rosen but I wish him luck with the Tips. He'll be dancing for his dinner in no time in lovely Everett Events Center. Those that have been there no what I'm talking about.
The St. Albert native is moving.... to the blueline. Spencer has shed the familiar #21 and will take over #5 from Myles Rumsey who graduated at the end of last season.
A quick conversation with Rumsey to get the OK did take place this summer as McAvoy adopts a more d-man type #.
So how does he feel about the transition. I asked him yesterday....
JK: Are you looking forward to you're new role this season? Tell me how it came about?
Spencer: Really looking forward to it, I love it back there. You really get to see the whole ice. I talked with Deano at the end of last season and we thought it would be a good move to back there and play the point a little. I think it will be better, more ice time and you get to feel the puck. I like to be involved during the game and I think playing "d" will be a good transition.
JK: You were a fill-in guy on the back end last season if the situation arose. How comfortable do you think you'll be on a full-time basis?
Spencer: I actually feel more comfortable there than at forward. You see the whole ice and where everyone is at. There are some things I have to work at. Deano says he'll give me help along the way and I'm looking forward to it.
Training camp begins Monday for the 50 man protected list. Registration is that morning. Then the will be some tours and presentations. There will be some practices in the afternoon and then a BBQ to conclude the day back at the Bronco offices.
Tuesday, more practices at the Fairview in the morning and then some 4 on 4 in the afternoon.
Wednesday, the free-agents show up (could be about 30). There is limited on-ice sessions Wednesday. At this point nothing formal has been scheduled.
Thursday the players will be divided into four teams (Team Sakic, Team Tiger, Team Ruskowski, and Team Trottier). Individual team practice begins at 7:30am and runs to 1pm. Then the four teams begin a tournament with the first game set for 4pm - Sakic vs Trottier followed by Ruskowski vs Tiger.
Friday the tournament continues after morning practices. The tournament games begin at 4pm.
Saturday is the same as Friday. Morning practices followed by afternoon games beginning at 4pm.
Sunday morning will see the tournament consolation final @ 10am. The Championship final is at 2:30.
Monday the 27th, the remaining players will be divided into Team Black and Team White for the annual Intersqaud game. Fitness testing in the morning with practice in the afternoon and evening.
Tuesday the 28th, morning practice followed by the 7pm Black/White game.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Over the next couple days I'll post some training camp previews and what to watch for. I will also post the schedule in the next little while.
One tidbit for today, the Broncos will only return three 20 year-olds. Defenseman R.J. Larochelle, Mike Wilson, and forward Brady Leavold will all return. Daniel Rakos, as both a Euro and an over-ager will not be coming overseas this season. Here's wishing Danny all the best in his future hockey prowess.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Before he left I tracked him down for a few questions.
JK: Geordie, I've known you as a guy that always looked forward to wearing the Maple Leaf, the way you talk about the World Junior tournament leads me to believe this is a huge honour.
GW: It was an unbelievable feeling. It's something you work towards your whole life. Like watching the world juniors it makes me really proud even watching the guys on TV so when I was told I made the team it was an incredible feeling I felt so proud. Even putting the jersey on for the team picture... all the boys in the dressing room had huge smiles on their faces, it was just awesome.
JK: This is the first step towards the big club, the U-20 team, this bodes well for you to make that team in the future.
GW: This is the first big step. Up until now since the bantam draft this is the biggest thing that has happened to me. Now being part of the Program of Excellence I hope the next stage is that team. After that there's tons of paths after that like the World Championships and the Olympics.
JK: Tell me about your overseas or travelling experience... have you ever been overseas?
GW: To be honest I haven't been too far out of Canada, I've only been to two U.S. states - Michigan and Washington. But I have a little bit of international experience. Back in bantam our Abbottsford club team we played this Russian team and we actually beat this high-powered team. I have little bit of a taste of their kind of style. And just playing against the Euros around the WHL and being around out two Czech players Daniel Rakos and David Steiler was helped me. They play a different, puck possession style and use the big ice well.
JK: What is the mindset for Team Canada right now?
GW: Our motto is "we're hunting for gold" and that's what we have in mind. Going there we are going to shoot for the top, anything less would be a disappointment for us. We have an incredible team, by far the best team I've ever played on - we could have made two teams out of camp to compete at this tournament. We're hunting for gold.
I called the Riders ticket office this morning and it's not good for those looking for a ticket. They have some remaining in sections 201 (nosebleed goal line) and 15/16 (corner end zone). They take on the Eskimos Saturday night and a few of us are going to check it out.
Are there any season ticket holders not going to the game that wouldn't mind parting with their tickets? (we'll pay for them of course). I have a few leads already but nothing certain. Plus we have media passes here at the station but I would much rather just be a fan... much more entertaining. You can't exactly cart a couple beers into the press box without getting a few glares from the media throng...not that I've tried.
The Indians face elimination tonight in Okotoks after a wild game three last night. Okotoks emerged with a 7-6 11 inning win when Dawgs' third baseman Travis Drader hit a walk off home run to win it in front of nearly 1900 fans.
The Indians too a 6-5 lead with two runs in the top of the 9th, Okotoks tied it up 6-6 but on the same play the potential winning run was gunned down at home plate to force extra innings.
The Tribe will send Brandon, MB native Matt DeGagne to the mound. Not sure how many arms the team has left. The bullpen had to pitch over six innings last night between Cody Hovdestead, Bobby Alcala, and Shawn Lee.
If the Indians win they will force a 5th and deciding game back here tomorrow night. Wouldn't that be a game to be at?
Join Ryan Switzer for all the action beginning at 6:50pm with the pre-game show, play-by-play at 7:05pm from the Doc Seaman Stadium
Here's some quick sports news.... former Bronco A.C. Rob Daum is officially joining the Oilers coaching staff. Daum was the Broncos Assistant in the early 90's.
The Edmonton Oilers announced Monday that the club has hired Rob Daum as an assistant for its coaching staff.
Daum, 49, replaces Craig Simpson, who resigned his position with the team's coaching staff to accept a broadcast position with 'Hockey Night In Canada'. He will work alongside Charlie Huddy and Bill Moores.
"He's a great teacher, he understands the game very well and we think he's going to bring a little bit of a different dimension to our organization,'' said Oilers vice president of hockey operations Kevin Pendergast.
Daum returns to Edmonton after spending the past two seasons as the head coach of the Houston Aeros. In his professional coaching debut, Daum registered a 77-67-16 record with the Minnesota Wild's AHL affiliate from 2005-06 to 2006-07.
That's all for today,
Sunday, August 12, 2007
So here we go....
I have to say the reality of the season ahead really hit me tonight when I ran into a couple veterans at a local restaurant. Dale Wiese and Spencer Mcavoy rolled in while I was out with Switzer and Chance for supper. It was good to see the fellas - the first of many to make their way back to the city.
Both are excited to get it going as am I. Bronco hockey school begins bright and early Monday morning as a handful of current and former players help out with sessions on and off the ice.
I do have some questions I hope to get answered in the coming days before Broncos training camp begins (Aug 20). The biggest question is who is all coming to camp and what is our 20 year-old situation? We have potentially four 20's in the mix including RJ Larochelle, Brady Leavold, Mike Wilson and Daniel Rakos.
I've had an opportunity to get to know our new assistant coach Tim Kehler over the past few days. He will be a great addition to the organization and am looking forward to working closer with him from a radio aspect over the next 7 months. Afterall, he will be the featured guest for our next 72 plus post-game shows. He's a personable guy who will have a the task of feeling out the team and the locals in the coming weeks. He knows what the "fishbowl" is all about coming from a smaller hockey center like Trail. He's had several people already approach him in the city to talk hockey. I told him we're the Friday Night Lights of the WHL... everyone cares and everyone has an opinion.
Marc Habscheid to the Edmonton Oilers as an assistant coach? Although it was a hot rumour at one point, it doesn't appear likely according to Greg Drinnan in Kamloops. He reported earlier it was a done deal... he has since backed off that statement. We'll see where he lands... for now I can tell you he was probably at the Fairview Arena this weekend checking out his son Zach at "AAA" Legionnaires camp. Zach will also be attending Broncos camp next week.
Travis Moen on Corner Gas? Seriously.
I heard this rumour earlier this week and tracked him down last night to see if it's true. He said, yeah it's probably going to happen. He was sent a script which features him driving a car through Dog River with the Stanley Cup riding shotgun and fellow Duck and Regina native Chris Kunitz in the back seat.
They apparently get pulled over by the native cop on the show Davis (Lorne Cardinal) and hilarity ensues.
I hope the he decides to do it, it would be priceless. I'm still campaigning to be his agent. I think he's coming around, haha. Sorry Craig Oster (his current agent). Craig was once an intermission guest on our broadcast. At the end of our interview I got him to yell out a "show me the money!"Jerry Maguire style on air... he was a good sport.
The Tribe and Okotoks are tied 1-1 in the WMBL Championship series as it shifts to Okotoks for games three and four. Okotoks evened the series last night with a 2-1 victory at Mitchell Field. The Eagle 94.1 FM will broadcast both games from Dawg Pound aka the Doc Seaman Ballpark. Join Ryan Switzer for all the action Monday and Tuesday night beginning at 6:50pm with the pre-game show.