With only 3 games left in the SJHL's  pre-Christmas docket, the Humboldt Broncos are in the thick of it and looking for a trio of wins. Their first of three is a big one tomorrow night at the EPA as they face the La Ronge Ice Wolves. La Ronge is in a tangle for second place in the league, and the Broncos are looking to make that list. Head Coach Scott Barney says the La Ronge squad is to be respected, but certainly not feared. 

“La Ronge is a big physical club, and it’s been one of the hottest teams in the league, in second place right now.  They’re physical - there’s a lot of talent there, and they rely heavily on a great goaltender there in (Dawson) Smith. It should be a good tilt for us.”

The Broncos have added some reinforcements to shore up their game, and the new players add an exciting dimension in both defensive and offensive facets.

“Obviously, we added (Hayden) Dunford in net, and on defense, we added Chase Cook. He’s been a solid defender - moves, makes a great first pass, well liked in the room. He’s a good addition and a good leader. Last week, we added Spencer Bell, the kind of a forward who goes to the dirty areas of the ice, areas a lot of guys don’t want to go to. Another good guy in the room.”

The additions come at a critical time as the Broncos, like other SJHL teams, have been plagued by bouts of flu and some injuries to key players. Captain Ethan Zielke is off, playing for Team West in the World Junior A Hockey Challenge, a spectacular feather in the young forward’s cap, but an absence that is noted just the same.  

“It’s great for Ethan, and he should be commended for that,” says Barney. “It shows well for our organization. There’s only two SJ players representing Canada in those games. Xavier Roy has been out for 6 weeks, Jayce Benvie is now out and we have a couple defense injuries. But it has been an opportunity to get some affiliate players called up, and that’s all part of our recruiting and players that we’ll see in our lineup next year.”

The added boost for the Broncos has always been fans in the building, and that’s certainly no different in the pre-break run. Head on down to the EPA Wednesday night for the Ice Wolves tilt at 7:30 with the play by play on 107.5 Bolt FM.

After a cruise to Kindersley on Friday, the Broncos will be back in Humboldt to wrap up their pre-Christmas stint with the Weyburn Red Wings in the house.