HUMBOLDT — Of the 2021-2022 Humboldt Broncos, general manager and head coach Scott Barney said what he will remember most is the character and resiliency the players displayed all season long.
“Right down to the last whistle, the boys fought tooth and nail for each other,” Barney said. “To have 45 wins is a remarkable season and the players should be proud of their accomplishments as a team.”
The Broncos led the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in wins. Their 45-13-0-0 record racked them up 90 points in the standings, just one shy of the Estevan Bruins’ 91 (43-10-2-3). In the last Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings of the regular season, the Broncos were 12th in the country.
In the postseason, the Broncos beat No. 7 La Ronge in the first round. In the SJHL semifinals, Humboldt fell 4-1 to the No. 5 Flin Flon Bombers. Two of the five contests went to overtime and four were decided by one goal.
With the Broncos’ season coming to an end, so did the junior careers of eight 2001-born players.
“The 20-year-olds showed great leadership for our younger players,” Barney said. “They were very key to our success. Every single one of them wore the Broncos uniform with respect.”
Captain Kade Olsen was with the squad for four seasons. Fellow defencemen Cody Hough and Nicksha Eric along with forward Braiden Koran (11th in the league with 57 points in 55 games) were with the club for three years. Blue liner Reilly McKinnon was on the roster for two seasons while forwards Jerzy Orchard and Alex Morozoff spent at least part of one campaign with the Broncos. Goaltender Rayce Ramsay was with the club as a 17-year-old rookie and returned this season for a stellar campaign in which he set an SJHL record with 41 wins. He won the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division’s Most Valuable Player and Top Goaltender awards. The players made memories in Humboldt.
“I appreciated the community the most,” Hough said. “It’s a very special feeling in this town that I’ll never forget and I’m glade I got to be a part of it.”
Although a strong group of Broncos age out, the team returns a talented core. For example, LeRoy’s Connor McGrath received the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division’s Top Forward and Top Rookie honours. He led the league with 84 points in 56 games. Homegrown defenceman Noah Barlage was second among SJHL defencemen in points with 42 in 58 games. Barlage was the division’s Top Defenceman award winner. Alec Saretzky and Matthew Perkins finished in the top 10 in the SJHL in scoring. These are just some of the Broncos’ potential returners.
“We’re very happy with the group we have returning and obviously there will be holes to fill and that’s something we can deal with over the summer,” Barney said.
The Broncos have been preparing for next season by recruiting new players. The team’s signings have included Humboldt’s own McLaren Paulsen. The Broncos host their annual spring camp April 22-24. “I’m looking forward to our spring camp, which will be a good indicator of some of the talent we can possibly have for next season,” Barney said. “Recruiting is going well and look forward to seeing them here next weekend.”