Skip to content

Potential players blossom at Broncos spring camp

Buzzing around the Elgar Petersen Arena ice last weekend were a number of players who hope to factor into the future of the Humboldt Broncos. The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team held its annual spring camp April 25-27.

Buzzing around the Elgar Petersen Arena ice last weekend were a number of players who hope to factor into the future of the Humboldt Broncos.

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team held its annual spring camp April 25-27. About 150 players showed their stuff at the EPA. Broncos head coach Ryan Smith said it was an organized event that ran seamlessly.

“From the hockey side of it, we definitely identified players for next season and for future seasons.”
Smith, who also wears the general manager’s hat, said there were players at the camp the team hopes to receive commitments from. There were many young players who hope to make the step to the junior level – if not this coming winter then in the future. As well, there were some players who have had Junior A experience outside of Saskatchewan as well as athletes who have played Junior B in or outside of the province.

“Spring camp is an identification camp,” Smith said. “It is a camp for players to be invited back to main camp … It is a camp for us to look at our list players developing in bantam and midget.”

The Broncos spring camp wrapped up with a Young Guns game, featuring 14 and 15 year olds, and a Top 40 Camp Prospects Game. The Young Guns game was a tight affair that drew cheers from the crowd.

“It is nice to see the games matter to the players and the people watching,” Smith said.

The Top 40 game pitted the camp’s top players against each other. Team Green got by Team White, 7-5. The game featured intermissions and hired referees.

Even though it was a spring game, Smith said getting the opportunity to put on a Broncos jersey and compete in that atmosphere was likely a special feeling for the players.

“We gave it a real SJHL feel. We really got a lot out of it … That was kind of the crescendo of the camp.”

Draft Prep

With the SJHL holding a bantam draft for the first time in June, the camp also gave the Broncos staff the opportunity to take a closer look at some draft eligible talent. The Broncos coaching staff, scouts, and management are deep in preparations for the new league initiative. The six-round event will be held at the league’s AGM during the first week in June. While the draft has been instituted, teams can still auto-protect players that live within the legal boundaries of their home community.

The draft is just part of the Broncos’ hard work in the offseason. Smith emphasized that the team does have some quality pieces returning. However, the coach said after finishing eighth in the league last season and falling in the first round of the playoffs, the Broncos are shooting for more in the 2015-2016 campaign.

“We as a staff are doing everything we can to up our level of hockey,” Smith said.

While the Broncos are looking for new additions, some players have earned the opportunity to further their playing careers. At press time, two Humboldt players from last season have made college commitments.

Romanuik to Wisconsin

Broncos goaltender Jack Romanuik has committed to play for the Concordia University Wisconsin Falcons next season. The Falcons compete at the NCAA Division III level. Romanuik plans to study sports management at the private liberal arts college in Mequon, Wisc.
A 20-year-old, Romanuik split this past season between the Broncos and his hometown Melfort Mustangs. He had 10 wins during the regular season and had a 2.92 goals against average and a .896 goals against average. Romanuik was the SJHL’s Goalie of the Week in February and received the team’s 197.5 Bolt FM 3 Star Award for road games.

“Jack played extremely well,” said Smith, who praised the veteran’s ability to backstop the young Broncos. “I was really proud of him.”
McLeod Heads to B.C.

Humboldt defenceman Ashton McLeod is headed to Selkirk College. The Castlegar, B.C.-based school competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League. McLeod, who is from Claresholm, B.C, plans to study to be an electrician.

Like Romanuik, McLeod played only part of a season in Humboldt, but made an impact. He was an important leader as an assistant captain. McLeod received the Broncos’ Defensive Defenseman of the Year award. The blue liner, who has turned 21, also displayed his offensive ability as he far surpassed his previous points production with 21 points in 44 games for Humboldt.

“His role grew and grew as the year went on,” Smith said. “He came to us as a defensive defenceman … He really blossomed into an all-around defenceman.”