The Swift Current Broncos will draft 5th in the WHL Bantam Draft. Seattle won the lottery and broke the hearts of a couple of princes in the process as Prince Albert drops from 1rst to 2nd and Prince George goes from 2nd to 3rd. Birds are always a Prince’s downfall aren’t they?
I had a quick chat with Coach Lamb about the draft and the pro contracts for Vause and Groenheyde before he got on a plane to BC for a scouting trip.
Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
The biggest news from that chat? The Broncos will be actively targeting a forward with that top pick. That’s not a big surprise. They’ve drafted three defencemen with their three first round picks over the past two drafts. Dillon Heatherington, Brycen Martin and Zack Gonek should make for an excellent core of d-men for years to come. The major need in the organization is a top line offensive talent. Who couldn’t use one of those?
Jamie Porter told me a couple of weeks ago that “right now we’re projecting 7 or 8 very solid forwards are going to be where we’re picking.” He said they’ve all put up serious numbers, they all have good size and they can all skate. Porter mentioned 4-5 guys are from BC and that’s the same thing I heard from Tyler at Western Elite Hockey Prospects. In fact his latest rankings had 6 of the top 8 players coming from BC. I know some fans might be anxious about players from BC after Evan Richardson chose not to come here, but Evan was always very clear that not coming here was not related to the team being in Swift Current.
Mark Lamb got each one of his top 5 picks signed last draft. I would imagine he’s not going to draft anyone he hasn’t met extensively with. A guy being from BC doesn’t mean they won’t enthusiastically join the Broncos. Guys you can predict they probably won’t get? Matt Barzal is considered the likely top pick and has been called the next Nugent-Hopkins. Adam Music is considered a top prospect in the draft and we all saw what happened when his brother David was available. One would have to think he’s likely to end up in one of only a few places… but who knows for sure.
Who might they pick? Tyler threw out the name Giorgio Estephan of SSAC because the Broncos have had a lot of success drafting out of Alberta. He and the other top end forwards in the draft all have ridiculous offensive numbers. Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Jay Merkley’s brother Nick is another Alberta kid on the radar with great stats. If you’re going by stats any of the top guys have them. Stats are just a part of the large package though. The Broncos will watch these guys and meet with these guys to make sure the one they pick has the makeup they are looking for to be part of the new identity in Swift Current.
I’m looking forward to finding out on May 3rd.
Congrats to Coach Tim Tisdale and the K-Motel Midget AA Hurricanes for advancing to the league final with a 4-3 win over Lumsden/Bethune in the third and deciding game of their second round series. The Hurricanes should be the entire focus of this playoff run because they have had an excellent team all season. The staff and players have done a great job. The final starts Monday in Swift Current.
The crowds at the Fairview West Arena have been almost a bigger story. I have mixed emotions here. On one hand it is great to see a full barn of very enthusiastic fans. I love passion and emotion from crowds. It can really make the in game experience special.
On the other hand… police have been called to the rink in each of the last two Hurricane games. They’ve had to break up fights each time. They’ve had to take someone away in cuffs each time.
This is a game. It’s a game I’ve chosen to make a huge part of my living covering and a game I obviously love… but it’s a game. If you’re getting in a fight over hockey you had better have a long look in the mirror. I don’t care who started the fight and I don’t care that it’s just a few bad apples spoiling the bunch. If you can’t get through a midget playoff game without at least five RCMP officers standing guard there is a serious problem with the maturity of some people in the audience.
To further illustrate that I have to question some of the vulgar language from that crowd. Again I love enthusiasm… and call me old before my years or a stick in the mud… but you don’t need to be vulgar to be effective. I’m no prude. In private conversation I don’t sound like Ned Flanders. That doesn’t mean I want to hear a large group of people chanting that kind of stuff. It’s embarrassing, immature and can spoil the experience for some fans. That’s especially true if anyone wanted to bring their kids to the game.
I really do love the enthusiasm… but please grow up and carry yourself with some class. That great team deserves it.