The Swift Current Broncos open training camp today with scrimmages at 4pm and 6pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You can get full details on the schedule and more information on the Broncos website.They included a full list of the training camp roster for the first time I can remember since I’ve been here.
A couple of players worth noting on that roster list? Austin Calladine got the invite to Swift Current’s camp after spending time with both Calgary and Saskatoon in the WHL. He had 3 points in 37 career games. Calladine spent last season with the Flin Flon Bombers of the SJHL where he scored 35 points in 46 games. Calladine is also a former 2nd round WHL Bantam Draft pick so certainly was highly touted at one point. We’ve seen a few of these types or reclamation project type additions by the Broncos in recent years work out. Could Calladine or Luca Leone be the new Ryon Moser or Levi Bews? Time will tell.
You may also note a familiar name on the list for Team Sakic. There is a second Spagrud on the roster as Justin’s younger brother Cody is making a run at things. Cody was dynamie in bantam and could have some potential here moving forward. Another brother in camp is Coda Gordon’s brother Jaydan making his third appearance here.
Take a look at the rosters for yourselves. Who stands out to you? There are lots of returning players and not many open spots so players are going to have work really hard to stand out. One area of note in training camp will be 1998 and 1999 players fighting for WHL contracts. The Broncos didn’t have as much skill depth in the last draft because of missing 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks. There is some room in the system for people to step up.
After fitness testing I had a chance to chat with Broncos Assistant Coach Jamie Heward and returning captain Colby Cave. Heward was impressed with everyone’s fitness after Dakota Odgers crushed the beep test and also noted a couple of guys who have bought in and improved their condition. I heard Jay Merkley was in the best shape of his career and Heward singled out Jordan Harris for making major strides.
Interview with Jamie Heward:
Interview with Colby Cave:
Cave related some great news for him that he’s attending Arizona Coyotes camp in the middle of September and is hoping to get into some exhibition games. Cave was at the summer development camp in Phoenix as well. Could this mean an end to his junior career? It’s possible. The Coyotes could have some spots open on their AHL team. It’s a great opportunity for Cave and you can’t help but cheer for him to be successful. On the other hand it would sure be tough for the Broncos to lose him this year. That’s a story to watch.
Speaking of turning pro… last week the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL announced they had signed former Broncos forward Nathan Burns for this season. Burns was just an outstanding addition after being acquired from Saskatoon and was probably Swift Current’s playoff MVP. He really found an extra gear in his overage season just in time to start what should be a promising professional career. He was also at Arizona’s development camp in the summer. Instead he found a home in the Rangers organization. I heard there might be another former Bronco headed there too.
Some other news out of camp yesterday included the fact that Geordie Maguire has left hockey to start on his education. I understand he is headed to Queens which is a terrific school. I feel like we never really got to see what Maguire could be in Swift Current. An ill-timed bout with mono really stole away too much of his time here for us to evaluate his abilities or how he would mesh. It’s a shame because he would have surely been in the mix for a bigger role if he had a good camp/pre-season. On the other hand he’s going to a great school and got to experience WHL life which will help pay for that schooling. It’s a no-lose scenario for him. I’m sure all Broncos fans wish him well.
I’ll leave it there for now. I won’t be able to see every scrimmage session so please leave comments or tweets with your thoughts on what you’ve seen. The Black/White game is Sunday at 1pm. The rookie game is Tuesday in Moose Jaw.
More to come!