Brockman resigns from Broncos, says it was his decision . . . Silvertips have new radio voice . . . Rockets drop a goaltender


The winds of change blew through Swift Current on Thursday afternoon as the Broncos announced the resignation of Dean Brockman, who was in his fourth Scurrentseason as the community-owned organization’s general manager and head coach.

Chad Leslie, the Broncos’ assistant general manager, now is the interim GM, with assistant coach Devan Praught stepping in as interim head coach.

Leslie, 44, was the Broncos’ director of scouting each of the past three seasons.

Praught, 34, is from Summerside, P.E.I. He is in his first season with the Broncos after spending eight seasons at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask. He was the head coach of the U-18 Hounds for the past five seasons.

Matt Keillor, also in his first season, now is the lone assistant on the Broncos’ staff.

The Broncos (2-3-0) have lost three straight games after opening the season with a pair of victories — 2-0 and 3-2 — over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Swift Current is scheduled to play the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Saturday night and the Ice in Winnipeg on Sunday. The Broncos then will meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Tuesday, before returning home for a Friday night date with the Calgary Hitmen.

Brockman, 54, didn’t really explain why he was resigning, telling a news conference: “I want to reiterate this was my decision. It’s a personal decision on my behalf. It had nothing to do with the board of directors. In fact, the board of directors have supported me from Day 1. They took a chance and that chance was me.”

Before joining the Broncos, Brockman spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Saskatoon Blades, under Bob Woods, followed by two seasons as their head coach. The Blades fired him immediately after the conclusion of the 2017-18 regular season.

Brockman had spent 17 seasons with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, seven as GM/assistant coach and 10 as GM/head coach. Under Brockman, the Broncos won five league championships and two national titles. He was honoured as the SJHL’s coach of the year on four occasions.

Three months after being fired by the Blades, the Broncos hired him to replace Manny Viveiros, who had been named the WHL’s coach of the year after leading Swift Current to the WHL’s 2018 playoff championship. That was the Broncos’ first title since 1993. Viveiros joined the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers two days after the Broncos finished an 0-3 run at the Memorial Cup in Regina.

The Broncos paid a steep price for going all-in to win that championship, especially in trades with the Calgary Hitmen and Lethbridge Hurricanes. Swift Current sent five players — F Conner Chaulk, F Riley Stotts, D Dom Schmiemann, F Josh Prokop and G Ethan Hein — along with a second-round pick in the 2018 draft to the Hitmen, for F Matteo Gennaro, F Beck Malenstyn and a fifth-rounder in 2018.

Then, at the trade deadline, Swift Current dealt G Logan Flodell, F Logan Barlage, F Owen Blocker, D Matthew Stanley, first- and third-rounders in 2020 and a conditional second-rounder in 2021 to the Hurricanes for G Stuart Skinner, F Giorgio Estephan and F Tanner Nagel.

The rebuild hasn’t been especially rapid, with the Broncos going 11-51-6 and 10-48-5 in the two seasons after the championship. They were 6-16-2 in the 2021 development season.

At the moment, the Broncos hold the sixth and seventh selections in December’s WHL draft.

But just how tough has the rebuild been? The WHL’s final four in the spring of 2018 featured the Broncos, Hurricanes, Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans. Brad Brown (@saskawhat) pointed out via Twitter that Everett has won 114 regular-season games since then, with Lethbridge at 89; Tri-City, 60; and Swift Current, 29.

Financially, the team’s board of directors told shareholders that it had made a $561,500 profit in the 2017-18 championship season. However, a $38,196 profit for 2018-19 was followed by a loss of $791,000 for the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.

Late last month, at the organization’s annual general meeting, shareholders were told there was a loss of $129,968 — including a $600,000 grant from the provincial government — for that 2021 development season in which the Broncos played 24 games in the Regina hub.



The Everett Silvertips have hired Casey Bryant as their broadcasting and media Everettrelations manager, replacing Mike Benton, who left to join Seattle radio station KJR where he plays host to Seattle Kraken pre-game, intermission and post-game shows. Benton had been with the Silvertips through six seasons. . . . From a Silvertips news release: “Bryant is an award-winning play-by-play broadcaster whose prior credits include the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks (NAHL), Sacred Heart University Pioneers (NCAA D1), Jersey Hitmen (NCDC) and New York Apple Core (EHL). A 2017 graduate of Marist College, Bryant also worked as a production assistant for MSG Networks for four years, editing on-air promotions for the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and other MSG flagship teams.” . . . The Silvertips are scheduled to visit Kent, Wash., for a game with the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.



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JUST NOTES: F Patrick Brown of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers wasn’t able to play last night after being placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. . . . The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals have had three positive tests within their organization this week. OLB Chandler Jones is on the COVID list, while two unidentified staff members also have tested positive. The Cardinals have had 18 players on that list since July 23, with three of them landing there twice each. . . . The Atlanta Braves aren’t planning to have OF Jorge Soler on their roster when they play host to Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday. Soler tested positive earlier this week and didn’t play in Game 4 of the NLDS as the Braves clinched the series with a 5-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. OF Christian Pache was added to the roster in Soler’s place.


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Pedlars


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The junior B Saanich Predators of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League named Cody Carlson, a former WHL player, as general manager and head coach on Thursday. He replaces Brent Polischuk, who was relieved of his duties “effective immediately.” Polischuk had been with Saanich since July 28, 2019. The Predators (5-9-1) are fourth in the five-team South Division. Carlson, 30, had joined the Kerry Park Islanders as assistant GM and associate coach prior in July. He split 305 regular-season WHL games between the Medicine Hat Tigers, Regina Pats and Prince George Cougars (2006-12). He played the past three seasons in Europe, mostly in Romania. . . . The NHL’s Calgary Flames have hired Connor Rankin, who played five seasons in the WHL, on a full-time basis as their video analyst. He had done part-time work for the Flames over the past five years. Rankin played 339 WHL regular-season games (2010-15), split between the Tri-City Americans and Calgary Hitmen. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have released G Cole Schwebius, 20. He has cleared waivers so now is a free agent. He went 17-23-2 in 48 regular-season games split between the Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds over parts of four seasons. . . . D Jackson van de Leest, 20, has returned to the Calgary Hitmen from the camp of the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He is expected to be in Calgary’s lineup tonight against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Ian Furness, who has done his share of play-by-play on Seattle Thunderbirds’ games during his career, was at the KJR radio microphone on Thursday night as the NHL’s Seattle Kraken played the Predators in Nashville. Furness was filling in for Everett Fitzhugh, who remains in Seattle after testing positive.


Day

Lowry returns to WHL. . . . Broncos sign Finnish defender. . . . Tri-City adds ex-player to scouting staff


MacBeth

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2013-16) has been traded by Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) to Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Russia, KHL) for the KHL rights to Mikko Rantanen. Last season, with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL), Fazleyev had two assists in 15 games. In 16 games with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had two goals and five assists.


ThisThat

The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed Dave Lowry as their new head coach. He replaces BrandonWKregularDavid Anning, whose contract wasn’t renewed after three seasons. . . . No terms of Lowry’s contract with the Wheat Kings were released. . . . Lowry, 54, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He wasn’t retained when Todd McLellan took over as the Kings’ head coach. . . . Before that, Lowry was the head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Royals for five seasons (2012-17), going 209-124-27. . . . After his playing career ended — he split 1,084 regular-season NHL games with five teams — he started his coaching career with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. He was an assistant coach for two seasons (2005-07), the associate coach for one and the head coach for one. He then worked for three seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, before signing with Victoria. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed Finnish D Kasper Puutio, who was the first SCBroncosoverall selection in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. Puutio, 17, had a goal and three assists in 31 games with Kärpät’s U-20 team last season, and also had four goals and eight assists in 10 games with the U-18 side. He got into 13 games with Finland’s U-17 team, scoring once and adding eight assists, and had two assists in five games with the U-18 team. . . . He joins F Joona Kiviniemi, who also is from Finland, as the Broncos’ two import players. Kiviniemi, who will turn 18 on Dec. 17, also played for Kärpät before joining the Broncos. Last season, as a freshman with Swift Current, he had 16 goals and nine assists in 62 games.


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JUST NOTES:

Mason Wilgosh is back with the Tri-City Americans, this time as a scout. The Winnipeg native will work as a regional scout in Manitoba. . . . Wilgosh, 28, played five seasons (2007-12) with the Americans, then went on to spend four seasons at the U of Prince Edward Island. . . . The Americans’ news release is right here. . . .

The ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen have signed Jason Christie, their vice-president of hockey operations and head coach, to a multi-year contract extension. The length of the extension wasn’t revealed. . . . Christie, 50, has been the team’s head coach since June 6, 2017. He has spent 16 seasons coaching in the ECHL and holds the league record for most regular-season victories (609). . . . From Gibbons, Alta., Christie played four seasons (1986-90) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . .

Keycorp Sports and Entertainment, led by Victoria businessman Jim Hartshorne, has purchased majority ownership in the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Also in the ownership group are Ron Coutre of Victoria; Tim MacLean, Dennis See and Stefanie Weber of Port Alberni; and the Port Alberni Jr. Hockey Society. . . . David Michaud, the president of Keycorp Sports and Entertainment, now is the Bulldogs’ president. He will oversee the organization’s business and hockey operations. . . . A news release on the sale is right here. . . .

Brent Polischuk is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Saanich Braves, who play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. From a news release: “Brent has extensive experience in coaching, player development, player evaluation and scouting. As a certified High Performance 1 coach, Brent has coached at all levels of competitive hockey and served in many roles in the BC Hockey and Hockey Canada Program of Excellence. These include Team Pacific Director of Operations, Vancouver Island District Evaluator, BC Hockey coach mentor and coach evaluator and most recently worked as Team USA host in the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship.” . . . Polischuk replaces Sam Waterfield, who left after two seasons. He now is an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express.


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