Neekas, Heiltsuk Territory, is located on B.C.’s central coast.
The Swift Current Broncos’ board of directors informed shareholders at the organization’s annual general meeting on Tuesday that the 2021-22 WHL season resulted in a net loss of $349,000. . . . “The Broncos had expected to endure another challenging financial year because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Broncos said in a news release. “With restrictions limiting fan participation and revenue generation, the organization was required to navigate the difficult year as best as possible, and work towards positioning the club for the exciting years to come. While undesirable, the overall deficiency of revenue over expenses was better than expected, due to key support from the 2021-22 season-ticket holders, the dedicated fan base throughout the year, corporate stakeholders, government programs, and strategic cost management.” . . . The Broncos now have lost money for three straight seasons. They dropped $791,000 for 2019-20, a season that was prematurely ended by the pandemic, and $129,968 for 2020-21, a season that comprised 24 games, all played in Regina. That 2020-21 figure would have been much worse were it not for the $600,000 the Broncos got from the provincial government. . . . According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Broncos drew an average of 1,480 fans to 34 games last season, the lowest figure in the league. That was down from the 1,954 average for 32 games in 2019-20. . . . The Broncos won the WHL’s championship in 2018, but didn’t qualify for the playoffs in 2018-19 or 2021-22. There weren’t any playoffs in 2019-20 or 2020-21 because of the pandemic. . . . The Broncos play their home games in the 2,879-seat Innovation Credit Union iPlex. . . .
Four of the WHL’s 22 teams are community-owned and, as such, are required to present financial statements to shareholders at annual general meetings. The Broncos are the last of the four to hold their AGM. . . . Earlier, the Lethbridge Hurricanes announced a profit of $248,000, and the Prince Albert Raiders said they made $152,191. The Moose Jaw Warriors, meanwhile, reported a loss of $106,719.
The Regina Pats paid a big price to bring F Sam Oremba home from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday. Oremba, 17, who is eligible for the 2023 NHL draft, cost the Pats three WHL draft picks — a second-rounder in 2023, a first in 2024 and a third in 2025. . . . Regina obviously is hoping that playing in his hometown will spark Oremba’s offensive game. . . . Oremba was the seventh overall selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft after putting up 133 points, including 75 goals, in 31 games with the U15 AA Regina Monarchs. . . . Last season, in 56 games with the Thunderbirds, he had four goals and 10 assists. In two games this season, he recorded two assists. . . .
Meanwhile, the Victoria Royals have five 20-year-olds on their roster — two over the limit — after acquiring F Jamie Poole from the Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday. . . . The Royals surrendered an eighth-round selection in the 2024 WHL draft in the exchange. . . . Poole, from McAuley, Man., was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 draft. He has 59 points, including 21 goals, in 124 games with Kelowna, including a goal and an assist in three games this season. . . . The Royals, in a news release, admit — with tongue planted firmly in cheek — that they will benefit from the deal simply because they won’t have to face Poole again. Last season, he totalled 14 goals and 18 assists in 48 games, with eight of the goals and 12 of the assists coming against the Royals. . . . The Royals’ other 20-year-olds are G Campbell Arnold, F Riley Gannon, D Anson McMaster and F Caleb Willms, who is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Rockets show two 20-year-olds on their roster — G Talyn Boyko and F Adam Kydd. However, Boyko went to camp with the NHL’s New York Rangers and was assigned to their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, last week. He was a fourth-round pick by the Rangers in the NHL’s 2021 draft and has signed with them. . . . Each of the WHL’s 22 teams is allowed to carry three 20-year-old players, with the deadline to declare arriving on Oct. 12. . . . The Royals expect to have Poole in their lineup tonight (Wednesday) when they play in Kelowna.
Mention was made here yesterday about the rough start to the existence of the junior B Ponoka Stampeders, who were trying to make a go of it in Alberta’s Heritage Junior Hockey League. . . . Well, the Twitter account Inside The HJHL (@latesthjhl) was quick to inform us that the Stampeders “have completely folded.” . . . The note added that “all stats from Ponoka games are thrown out . . . it will be a 38-game schedule this season now instead of 40 . . . no changes to divisions; six teams each now . . . no change to playoff format.”
THINKING OUT LOUD — It would be nice to see an NHL club give F Matthew Phillips a real chance. Put him on the second PP unit. Let him play in the top nine forwards. He has scored at every level, but too many NHL people only see his size — somewhere around 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds. Phillips, who had a terrific WHL career with the Victoria Royals, had 31 goals and 37 assists in 65 games last season, his fourth with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. That franchise now is the Calgary Wranglers, the Flames’ AHL affiliate, and Phillips already has been assigned there. . . . When a WHL team lists a player as being out with an “illness” are we to assume it is/isn’t COVID/19? . . . If you haven’t listened to Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, you should. . . . Hockey Canada? The reign is over; the royal court just doesn’t seem to realize it yet.
The OHL’s Guelph Storm has a new head coach in Chad Wiseman, who moved up from associate coach with Scott Walker having left due to health concerns. . . . “In a phone interview,” Tony Saxon of guelphtoday.com, writes, “Walker made it clear that the health concerns are serious, but not critical. He said they are an extension of the health concerns that started in Vancouver when he was an assistant coach with the Canucks but had to step away, namely vertigo linked to blood pressure issues.” . . . Walker also is one of the team’s owner and serves as its president.
Josh Ciocco, an assistant coach with Merrimack College, passed away suddenly on Monday. He was 38. The school announced his death on Tuesday. . . . Ciocco, from Atco, N.J., spent three seasons (2000-03) in the BCHL, playing with the Prince George Spruce Kings (57 games), Vernon Vipers (19) and Salmon Arm Silverbacks (57). . . . He went on to play four seasons at the U of New Hampshire, captaining the team for the last two of those. . . . He was in his fifth season on Merrimack’s coaching staff. Merrimack is located in North Andover, Mass.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.