Warriors Rookies Top Broncos 4-2

(#17 Cavin Leth and #19 Dakota Odgers – Photo by March Smith)

Brycen Martin Interview (Download)

Graham Black Interview (Download)

It’s hard not to think about what the future will hold after watching Brycen Martin and the rest of the 1996 draft class throughout this training camp. That’s not to say that the current roster isn’t full of interesting players, but the buzz word about Martin after his performance last night was “star” — as in “he is going to be a star” and “he looked like a star” — and it’s hard to imagine him turning out to be anything but.

Any 15-year-old is going to have warts and it is clearly too soon to say he is the kind of player that will carry a team. He could be though. He was making some very nice outlet passes and quick decisions. He looked smooth and comfortable running a PP. His skating is top-notch. There is a reason Martin was the drafted 2nd overall. He put that talent on display last night in the loss to Moose Jaw.

Unfortunately, as much as the Class of 2011 has impressed as a whole, the most we’ll see any of them this season is in a few call up games or at Legionnaire games. Again Jordan Wittman is playing there while Dakota Odgers is headed to Yorkton and Cavin Leth to Notre Dame. I’m looking forward to seeing how far they come before next year.

The good news? All of the top five picks appear to be locked in with four of them officially announced and Wittman playing in the game last night. No guessing games now.

There was no question that Graham Black, Shea Howorko and Coda Gordon were the best line on the ice tonight. Black was buzzing around the ice all night. It seemed like he was making something happen every shift. You don’t lead the Midget AAA league in scoring by accident. He is going to make a strong case for top 6 minutes and PP time despite being a rookie.

By the way, several Broncos including Black himself told me that the puck was in on the goal that was waved off in the second period. No instant replay in pre-season. Give him that goal and both Black and Martin end up with lines of 1g-2a-3p in the game. Impressive.

The puck seemed to follow Howorko today and he was part of numerous scoring chances. It’s a good sign that he was involved and they aren’t always going to go in. Hopefully he can get off to a good start and at least earn a regular shift to start. The confidence can build from there.

Meanwhile, Coda Gordon might be a player we have to pay closer attention to. He put up 54 points in the 28 games I can find stats for with Edge prep school last season. He is listed at 6’2 and 170lbs so he has some size too. I really liked his drive to the net on the PP goal he scored. He is someone to watch perhaps.

No fights in the game but a lot of chippy play. Both teams went hard to the net and there were quite a few scrums. It was no surprise to see the likes of Zack Gonek and Zac Mackay get in the middle of those scraps. Both guys have enough skill that they won’t be exclusively grinders… but they sure don’t shy away from it.

On the other side I think there were a lot of nervous guys out there. That’s to be expected. For some it’s their first WHL game and for others it’s the reality that they were on the edge of being sent home. It’s tough to settle down and play your game in those situations. That is why I think there was such a long feeling out process at the start before things picked up in the 2nd half of the game.

Moose Jaw has some interesting young players there too. Brayden Point played with Martin last season and put up over 100 points. He showed a nose for the net and was always in the mix. Eberle has some grit and scored a couple of times. Those are the guys that stood out for me… but I was mostly focused on the Bronco players.

I thought Myland looked a bit nervous in this one and that as I said is understandable given what is riding on these games. He has had a strong camp and he still had good moments. There is time left. Austin Smith had a strong third period and made a nice stop on a partial break. Based on the poll I put up yesterday they are the two that you all think are battling it out for the second goaltending spot. We will likely see quite a bit more of both of them before the pre-season is done.

No word  yet on what the roster looks like heading into the Edmonton tournament. I could give you my best guess but that wouldn’t be fair. It will probably be around the 30 player mark.

The team hasn’t released anything officially although Brendan Hopkins on his twitter seemed to imply he was headed to Estevan. Perhaps SJHL camp? Another source from Estevan told me that is also where Derek Tendler is heading. A pile of 96s from camp (both drafted and free agents) are trying out in Midget AAA. I imagine a couple of those guys worked their way onto the Bronco protected list. I’m sure the scouting team was doing a lot of work on that throughout the week. As I get any other information I will pass it on.

What did you think of the inter-squad game and the rookie game? Who stood out for you? Who surprised you? We had a lot of conversations on what the team could look like in both live blogs so check out their archives so you don’t miss out on that Bronco chatter.

Next up is the Oil Kings pre-season invitational deal with the Broncos taking on Edmonton on Sunday night and Red Deer on Monday afternoon. It should be a more veteran and pared down roster by the weekend. I’m very intrigued to see who will be left.

One final note… I’m hearing rumblings season ticket sales are not where the Broncos want them to be. They may even be behind last season’s pace. I am planning to chat with Jordan Wall about that over the next couple of days to get a clearer picture. If that’s the case it sure isn’t going to cut it. This market can’t afford to ebb and flow based on wins and losses. They need that season ticket base to go up if anything. There is likely going to be a major loss on the books after last season even with successful events like the PBR and Hall of Fame. We can’t fool around with this team. They won’t sustain major losses long.

Last year’s second half was tough to swallow I’m sure, but it’s still the best hockey you can buy around here by far at the best value you will ever be able to buy it for. I honestly believe that. The WHL is worth a season ticket even with a struggling team. It’s the best collection of young talent you will see in any league.

Rant over… talk later.


About shawnmullin

Play by Play Broadcaster for the WHL's Swift Current Broncos on 94.1 FM The Eagle.
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13 Responses to Warriors Rookies Top Broncos 4-2

  1. Anonymous says:

    People need to get out and support this team. Too many people have taken this team for granted. If you want to wait to buy season tickets when we have a winning team like in 2 years you will be sorry because this team will be long gone. Support the broncos NOW before it’s too late. This goes for the corporates as well. If this team leaves alot of businesses will fold up shop. One thing people in Swift don’t get is the financial gain the broncos bring to our community.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Name one business that will fold up shop if the Broncos leave? I’ll give you two days. Swift’s economy booms. The Broncos have done a terrible job of keeping the corporate sector involved other than to ask for money. The office staff treats you like you are bothering them when you go in there. The city doesn’t love the Broncos because they have turned into Joe Arling’s toy. The community is alienated. People don’t go because there is no connection to the team because a few directors act like they are the reason the sun sets and rises. If the team leaves it leaves. The city won’t miss a beat.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you care so little about the team why are you even reading this blog then?

      I know several members of the office staff and they all put in ridiculously long hours so it’s unfortunate you seem to expect them to hold your hand. They’ve always been friendly to me but you sound like someone who needs lots of attention.

      This kind of attitude is exactly the problem. Find a reason not to support the team. The average fan shouldn’t give a hoot who is on the board or who is working in the office. Go to the rink and enjoy yourself.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you think swift is booming you don’t know what a boom is and if it is booming the corporate support should be huge.
    Take this past week during training camp how many players came here about 120ish plus most had parents here. Staying at hotels, buying food at grocery stores, eating at restaurants, buying gas, going to the casino. That is just training camp. Now billets need to buy extra groceries every month for the players, they eat out go to movies, buy gas for their vehicles, they go to 7-11, rent movies. This is just a little of what they bring to the community.
    The other part is that the Broncos give swift their identity any one who is not from swift or Sask for that matter only know about Swift because of the Broncos.
    The players go and read at schools do community events, this goes a long way with the youth I still remember how excited I was when they would come and read at my school.
    I dont live in Swift anymore, but try and support them as much as I can from afar. As a outside perspective people will be in for a shock if the Broncos leave.
    I hope the Broncos ask for money from the community, they are a community owned team no one in the organization is getting rich off them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Coda Gordon – stats can be found on the Edge Mountaineer Hockey website http://edgemountaineers.com/page.php?page_id=28066&team_id=182176
    He had 110 pts in 65 games including 52 goals and 58 assists and led the Edge Prep to 2 championships last year. He was an allstar in the Kelowna Midget AAA tournament and voted to the allstar team for the MPHL (Mid West Prep League) as well.

  5. shawnmullin says:

    I just talked to Jordan Wall. The Broncos have only sold 1232 season tickets so far. That’s over 200 less than at this point last year. People can discuss why that is until they are blue in the face. The bottom line is the team can’t survive with numbers like that.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Your right Shawn people need to get out and buy tickets, buy them for gifts what great early Xmas present if people have them they will go.
    The city will not take many more loses.

  7. Dustin says:

    That number disgusts me Shawn, yet somehow I am not all that suprised. bottom line is for whatever reason, the town of Swift Current likes to bitch about anything and everything and there is a general sence that junior hockey is beneath them because it isn’t the big leagues. I give the office a lot of credit for the work they do (on the budget they have). My one area I have always said needs to be exploited is the young fans and the people new to the country just because they represent new money (for the most part). In terms of personal and business support, it goes both ways. I have heard talk of how the staff come off as being rude when talking to some people looking for business, yet at the same time should they have to go out beggin for people to buy tickets at a great price in comparision to other markets I may add (plus no paring, beer doesn’t cost $8 a cup, etc)?
    Looking at he roster and outlook, lets not sugar coat it, it will be a tough year, but at the same time a tough year can be a great year as a fan because you get to watch first hand the future play out. This team has (at least) IMO a half dozen guys that will play pro some where in the world and we as a community have the oportunity and privledge to watch it unfold.
    Hopefully it won’t take a serious threat of leaving before the city actually pays attention, because if Chilliwak can disappear over night, so can SC.

    • shawnmullin says:

      Absolutely. I don’t want to dog other levels of hockey, but this is the only league Swift Current could be involved in where they would ever have four NHL draft picks on the same team. I feel blessed as as broadcaster to be able to cover future professionals like that. To be able to call a player like Nugent-Hopkins last year or Moran Rielly in Moose Jaw this year.

      Everyone can always improve on whatever it is they do… but the ticket sales have to be there during up years and down years. They can’t afford anything less.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m no marketing expert but I think the people who do support the team need to show more colors around the city. Going through the city you see nothing other than an old sticker peeling off by a door handle somewhere downtown. Nobody would even know there is a hockey team in the city, especially around the iplex itself. Would it hurt to spend and get a billboard, flags or a logo or something around the arena? Anything to show off the humble pride the few have left of the team will attract at least a few more butts in seats I guarantee it

  9. Anonymous says:

    People in swift current should realize how many out of town people support this team. The surrounding area around swift current is what keeps this team alive. More needs to be done to market to them.

  10. Pingback: Broncos @ Warriors Tonight, Live Blog/UStream | Shawn Mullin's Swift Current Broncos Blog

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