Leth & Black Interviews

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Graham Black (Photo by Darwin Knelsen for scbroncos.com)

It’s always nice to catch up with alumni at the MNP Broncos Alumni golf tournament. Last month I had the chance to chat with Seattle Thunderbirds forward Cavin Leth and now Florida Panthers property Graham Black. The two former Broncos are feeling good as they approach seasons that could bring career crossroads for them. They both gave a lot to the Broncos on and off the ice. Hopefully this won’t be their only stop back in town for the tournament.

Interview with Thunderbirds F Cavin Leth:

Interview with Florida Panthers F Graham Black:

From the past to the present and future… training camp begins on Wednesday and the 2016 bantam draft class is in town starting Monday.

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Elmwood Labour Day Classic

labour day

It’s an annual tradition for golfers from around the province. Elmwood is hosting their 71st Labour Day Classic September 3rd, 4th & 5th. For golf nuts it’s a great deal and a ton of golf to wrap up the summer.

Interview with Elmwood GM Sheldon Reinhart:

Thanks to Elmwood for their continued support of this blog! I just played men’s night there on Wednesday and had a great time. The renovations seem to be coming along nicely and faster than expected. Can’t wait to see the course all done.

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Broncos News/Audio Dump

Broncos Ice Sissons

Colby Sissons (photo by Darwin Knelsen for scbroncos.com)

Lots of news and not lots of blog posts lately. So for those who missed all of what was going on in the last couple months here is a rundown with some links and info plus some audio that I’ve been sitting on. We are a week or so away from training camp so it’s time to ramp it up.

We also had the MNP Broncos Alumni golf tournament last month and had a lot of fun. There was a moment of silence before the tournament for Darryl Moscaluk and it’s very unfortunate to hear of his passing. I never saw Darryl play but heard lots of good things about how hard he played and how much heart he had.

I also did some interviews last month with Jamie Porter, Manny Viveiros and Andy Schneider last month we used for stories. I’ll post those here for those who wanted the whole picture of those conversations.

Interview with Broncos Director of Hockey Operations:

Interview with Broncos Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel Manny Viveiros:

Interview with Devils scout & Bronocs Hall of Famer Ander Schneider:

There will be a lot more to talk about as we get towards training camp. There is a lot of exciting stuff planned for this season and I can’t wait to get going. A lot of guys are even here now helping with the hockey school so it really feels like hockey season now.

On another note I want to wish congratulations to the Swift Current Indians on their WMBL championship. They have been a model franchise in that league and competitive every year without some of the financial advantages other markets have. The whole organization deserves major kudos. I haven’t covered them for a few years since I moved away from a full time role in the news department, but I always enjoyed when I did and can’t help but be impressed with their consistency.

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Viveiros New Coach

Viveiros

Manny Viveiros (photo from scbroncos.com)

The new Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel of the Swift Current Broncos is former Austrian national team coach Manny Viveiros. It’s a very interesting hire and I’m quite impressed with what I hear so far. You can click here for my initial article on the hire. Reaction still to come. I’ll also embed the Broncos YouTube video here so you can watch the introductory press conference.

So what do you think?

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Alumni tournament, Lamb thoughts

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There are still some spots available in the annual MNP Broncos Alumni Golf Tournament at Elmwood Golf Club this Saturday. You can click here for my article on what is coming up on Saturday.

You can sign up to get one of the remaining spots by e-mailing jeremy.rondeau@MNP.ca. I talked to Jeremy a few weeks ago to get some information on how the tournament had changed.

Interview with tournament co-chair Jeremy Rondeau:

It’s one of the most fun days of the year. There are only a few spots left so check it out.

lamb conference

Mark Lamb

With the news that the Broncos will announce their new head coach in the morning it now actually marks the end of the Mark Lamb era in Swift Current. After Lamb accepted his job in Tuscon he has still been helping in the transition and even did an interview with me on their import draft pick. It felt like nothing had really changed yet.

Now it’s really time to turn the page.

Obviously there will be a lot of remnants of Lamb’s tenure with the Broncos. He has offered repeatedly to help the new management team, there are several years of players here that he helped bring to the Broncos, there are several key staff members that he hired and he was a big part in building the team’s strategic plan. However, a new management team is taking over and they will now put their own stamp on the franchise.

At different times I’ve considered writing a long look back at the Lamb era. I’m not sure that’s really necessary. We’ve been through the state of the organization in our year-end chats pretty extensively. If you care to look at the big picture of what he was able to do in Swift Current you probably already have a pretty good idea. I’ve probably debated it with some of you at different times. Minds are mostly made up one way or another.

I think the biggest thing that stuck with me in Lamb’s departure is how emotional he was at his media conference. What I hope some people took from that was how much he cared and took ownership of this team. I don’t think he and his family ever expected to be here seven years… and yet as they committed to the process of building something here they got more and more immersed in it. You can tell that it is incredibly difficult for him to leave and that even when he does leave he will still feel like a part of the Broncos. This wasn’t just a job.

Fans don’t really see behind the scenes much. They see a coach on the bench or hear him in interviews. That can really lead to some misconceptions. I can tell you whether you were a fan of the on-ice product here over the last seven years or not that the coach behind it gave everything he had to it. I can also tell you that he is someone who cared deeply about the people that worked with him and about his players. I know some of the people that worked for him well and heard many stories about how he would go out of his way even during the busiest times to make sure they were heard. I know some of the players he went to bat for and stayed with during rough times. I know he paid attention and it mattered to him even what my experience was like with the team when I travelled with them. He made the people that worked closest to him see that. I heard that from many staff members and players.

Leaders aren’t always loud showmen. They don’t have to give rousing speeches and constantly wear their emotions on their face. Leadership is being committed to and delivering for the people you lead. I believe Mark Lamb was a true leader here for seven years. Even if you’re a fan who is ready to turn the page you have to respect how much of himself he gave.

I think outside of one big win it’s an ideal ending for Coach Lamb in Swift Current. Obviously everyone would have preferred a long playoff run or even a championship. Failing that he gets to leave on very good terms feeling he has the team in the best position it has been in years with the ability to still contribute some assistance to the Broncos here and there. At the same time after seven years some fans were looking for a fresh start. They’ll get that, but only after a lot of work building a foundation that should give the next coach a head start.

Now fans can only hope the new boss comes to care as much or more about the team he’s taking over. Details of that coming at 9:30 on Thursday morning.

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Broncos draft Heponiemi

Suomen Jääkiekkoliitto

Photo from scbroncos.com

The Swift Current Broncos added a dynamic skilled forward from Finland in the CHL Import Draft today. You can click here for my story and scroll down for an interview with Mark Lamb on the selection.

Interview with outgoing Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb:

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Ottawa drafts Lajoie, Porter interview

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Max Lajoie (photo by Darwin Knelsen for scbroncos.com)

Congratulations to Swift Current Broncos defenceman Max Lajoie! The Calgary product is now property of the Ottawa Senators after they nabbed him in the 5th round, 133rd overall. It’s lower than most had him projected to go, but it’s a foot in the door and it doesn’t really matter when it came. Lajoie faced some challenges this year going from being insulated with veterans like Heatherington and Lernout as a rookie to becoming the go-to guy on a young blue line as a sophomore. He played his best hockey as the season went on and was excellent when the Broncos made a big push in January/February. Mono derailed that and maybe hurt his momentum. Again it really doesn’t mater. Ottawa saw enough to draft him and regardless of where he was picked what happens now is up to him. It’s a great day for Max and his family after years of hard work. He was a 5th round bantam pick and today he was drafted to the NHL in his first year of eligibility. That is a very impressive result and something he should be really proud of. Now the work continues.

I had a chance to quickly chat with Jamie Porter as he hit the airport to leave the draft. Here was his reaction to that, the Broncos who didn’t get drafted and the situation for the team with an import draft coming up on Tuesday.

Interview with Broncos assistant GM Jamie Porter:

It sounds like a plan is in place for Tuesday and the Broncos shouldn’t have any issues despite Mark Lamb’s upcoming departure. Now we wait to see if they can find another diamond like Nedomlel, Laurikainen, Honka or Minulin. Here’s hoping!

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