Lamb talks new associate coach

photo by Marla Possberg from discoverhumboldt.com

photo by Marla Possberg from discoverhumboldt.c om

The Swift Current Broncos hired former Humbolt and Selkirk coach Ryan Smith yesterday. Here’s my chat with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb on the hiring of an experienced coach with a varied background:

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Broncos Alumni Classic Audio (Dale, Derko, Eakin and Tassone Interviews)

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The Swift Current Broncos Alumni Golf Classic was again a great time at Elmwood Golf and Country Club. Thanks to all the alumni, golfers, volunteers, staff, etc for making it one of my favourite days of the year. I had a chance to catch up with a few of the guys before we teed off.

Matt Tassone Interview:

Cody Eakin Interview:

Josh Derko Interview:

Daniel Dale Interview:

 

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Last minute openings for Broncos Alumni Tournament

alumni

After months of planning the alumni are now arriving in town for the annual Broncos golf tournament. There are always last minute cancellations to what is usually a full tournament and this year is no different. As a result if you are one player, two players, a few or even a full team we might be able to squeeze you in for Saturday’s fun round filled with food, drinks, gifts and prizes. I think we may have room for one other full team and a few scattered entrants to fill out some teams. To me this is as fun a tournament as there is every year with something to keep you occupied on almost every hole and a chance to visit with lots of other people who care about the hockey club. Jeremy Rondeau appeared on CKSW this week to talk about the tournament and how to get one of those final slots…

There will be approximately 30 alumni back again this year from all time leading scorer Todd Holt to current NHLer Cody Eakin it’s a great crew that did a lot to entertain us over the years. It’ll be nice to catch up with those guys and all the other Broncos supporters who will be there on Saturday. If you’ve never played you really should call Jeremy up and give it a shot. For those who are playing we will see you at Elmwood. They’re always a great host and easy to work with. We get a look at the two new holes this weekend too.

An another self serving note Standard Motors will have some of our vehicles lined up on the new 17th with drinks for the golfers. If you want to take one of those home just let me know… (cheap plug 772-0120)

Speaking of alumni, congrats to former Bronco Ian Herbers on becoming an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton now has a former Broncos Coach/GM (Todd McLellan) as their head coach, a former Bronco as their assistant coach and a former Broncos goaltender (Eetu Laurikainen) in their system. As an Oilers fan myself I’m enjoying the connection.

I still have those other interviews I talked about coming up on the blog soon. It’s just been a busy week. Hope you are all having a terrific summer.

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Elmwood opens new holes

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Elmwood GM Sheldon Reinhart talks the new holes:

It’s an exciting time at Elmwood Golf and Country Club with the renovations to the course and the lots opening up for housing. The new 17th and 18th holes are now operational and I had a chat with Sheldon about what they’re offering and the timeline for the rest of the changes. I’m looking forward to seeing all the alumni there next weekend. It’s always a blast.

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Dixon steps down, Broncos add Jensen (Lamb & Jensen Interviews)

Kade Jensen (photo from scbroncos.com)

Kade Jensen (photo from scbroncos.com)

It’s July isn’t this supposed to be slow season for the Broncos? Two more pieces of news yesterday as associate coach Josh Dixon stepped down from his post after one season with the club to take on a new position as Director of Player Development for CAA Sports. The Broncos then went out and completed a deal for a player Dixon knew well in defenceman Kade Jensen from Lethbridge for a 4th round pick in 2018. I had a chance to chat with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb about both those topics last night. I also spoke to the newest Broncos defenceman Kade Jensen on his thoughts about being in Swift Current and what he can bring to the team…

Mark Lamb Interview (Download):

Kade Jensen Interview (Download):

With Dixon obviously this is a shorter term than both parties likely expected. However, we knew from the beginning that Josh is an ambitious guy with a goal in mind to one day be a head coach at a high level. This opportunity will connect him right to the National Hockey League through one of the biggest agencies in the world with some of the biggest clients in the world. It’s a unique job and one can hardly blame him for taking advantage of it. He’s a smart and hard working guy. I expect he will have lots of success in his future.

So what do they do for a replacement? First of all Coach Lamb said Jamie Heward will be back this season and will take on additional responsibility. Heward has had lots of time to get his feet wet in coaching and is often praised by players I’ve talked to for how much he is able to pass on from his experience. The Broncos have certainly developed some very talented d-men with him around. Heward is also taking on a challenge with Hockey Canada at U17s this year so it’s clear he is very committed to honing his craft and challenging himself. Could he one day be a head coach here or elsewhere? If he wants to I’m sure he could. He has also told me before management could be an area of interest for him as well at some point.

That said the Broncos still need to replace Dixon with a guy who is a full time second in command type coach as long as Heward is still commuting in from Regina. As Coach Lamb said in our interview he is a Coach and GM so he needs a guy who can carry the ball for him at times when management duties occupy his time. The job here is a great opportunity for a coach who wants to learn a lot of aspects of the head coaching job but might not be ready for that step yet… or a place with a lot of responsibility for someone who has been a head coach and is looking to get back in the game.

One thing you can say when looking at a list of coaching under Lamb that includes Tim Kehler, Darren Evjen, Andy Schneider, Jamie Heward, Josh Dixon, etc… they are all different guys who came from different backgrounds and brought very different things. He hasn’t had a “type” in those roles and has been open to several perspectives. Whichever way they go it will be an important hire for this season’s team and perhaps maybe someone who could be the future of this coaching staff one day as well.

As for Jensen, it’s hard not to like the deal. The Broncos get a talented young defenceman in the middle of his WHL career for a mid-round pick they have three years to replace with another deal. It’s basically a no risk more to acquire a player that was ranked by NHL Central Scouting and despite not being drafted has been invited to rookie camp by the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Lamb describes Jensen as a hard to play against defensive d-man with a good first pass. He’s listed at 6’3 and 191lbs so he has size as well. 19 points last season for a second year d-man on a poor Hurricanes team is pretty good stats-wise and his plus minus improved significantly from -25 in the first half to only -2 in the second half as the Hurricanes changed coaches and got their ship righted. There is a lot to like about this move.

The other side of this deal is that here is a glut of players on the blue line now. Assuming Brett Lernout and Dillon Heatherington stick in the AHL, the Broncos can return Griffin Foulk, Jordan Harris, Jordan Thomson, Max Lajoie and Jaydan Gordon from last season. They now have Jensen and import draft pick Artyom Minulin joining the team and a handful of talented prospects. Will there be room on this team for the likes of Colby Sissons, first round pick Dominic Schmiemann, Matthew Stanley and Matthew Parsons just to name a few. Check out the prospects section of this blog and you’ll see there are a lot of impressive young defenceman I don’t want to insult by leaving their names off this list. Training camp is going to be very interesting and I would expect a trade or two to deal with the number of options they have on D.

Stay with the blog over the next few days I have Scott Feser and Zac Mackay interviews that I still need to post. I also have a chat with Elmwood GM Sheldon Reinhart on the opening of their new 17th and 18th holes. They look great and I’m really looking forward to getting a chance to play them at the Click Before You Dig Broncos Alumni Tournament in ten days. I think there might be one team left if you want to get in on that. Call the golf club or get in touch with Jeremy or Kirstin Rondeau if you want in.

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Jake DeBrusk Draft Interview

DeBrusk draft

It’s been a crazy year for Jake DeBrusk culminating in a couple of key events in recent weeks. Boston drafted the 42 goal scorer in the first round of the 2015 NHL draft and Hockey Canada invited him to their summer evaluation camp. Both honours are the type of opportunities kids dream of and they happened very close together for a young man who didn’t even get picked until the seventh round of his WHL bantam draft. So what was that first round experience like? Here is my chat with DeBrusk on the draft, how he guessed he might be going to Boston, the connection to some other Bruins prospects, his Hockey Canada opportunity, becoming a leader with the Broncos and more…

I really enjoyed that chat with a little bit of insight into that moment we only ever usually see on television.

Congrats again to DeBrusk on what was a terrific achievement. Now he and St. Louis fourth round pick Glenn Gawdin will be tasked with leading the Broncos as they get set for the next steps in their careers. Gawdin starts at St. Louis’ development camp this week and DeBrusk heads to Boston’s next week. It’s an exciting time for them and for Broncos fans. As much as they will be a younger team this season they certainly have some worthy talents at the top of the depth chart.

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Glenn Gawdin draft interview

Glenn Gawdin (photo by Darwin Knelsen for scbroncos.com)

Glenn Gawdin (photo by Darwin Knelsen for scbroncos.com)

It was a big day for Glenn Gawdin on Saturday when one of the top organizations in the NHL called his name at the league’s annual draft. St. Louis picked Gawdin in the 4th round of the draft and you can scroll down for his timeline with the organization.

I had a chance to chat with him on Monday after he had a couple of days take in the excitement of living a dream.

Gawdin really compares well to guys like Cody Eakin and Adam Lowry who were drafted in a similar spot and went on to already become NHL regulars. This is the start of the NHL journey not the end. Now he can head to St. Louis’ development camp and prepare for a season in which a lot of responsibility will be placed on him Swift Current. I bet he’ll be up  to it.

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