The Humboldt Broncos are on the eve of launching season number 45 with their annual Fall camp.
145 hopefuls and prospects will overtake Elgar Petersen Arena this weekend with the desire to catch the eye of the Broncos' brass including new General Manager and Head Coach Darcy Haugan who is settling in with the organization since replacing Ryan Smith in August.
"The transition has been really smooth, the people have been fantastic," Haugan said Wednesday afternoon as he prepares to make his own mark with the green and gold. "The players have been great, they are itchy to get on the ice and we're looking forward to having everybody come. We're looking forward to hopefully a very successful season."
The Broncos will return nine veterans from their eighth place finish a year ago. That includes 20 year-olds Greg Moro and captain Anthony Kapelke as well as hometown favourite Jarrett Fontaine. Joining them as the only other player heading into their final year is newcomer Konnor Kortko who Haugan sees playing with Fontaine at least at the start of the year.
Haugan says he is nothing less than impressed after his initial contact with the teams' leaders and returnees including Trevor Posch, Logan Schatz, Michael Korol up front. Connor Swystun will be back for his third year on the blueline, Corey Dambrauskas. Utility man Josh Bergen of Drake is also looking for more responsibility as a 19 year-old.
"One common denominator with all the players that I've talked to is what seems to resonate is character," Haugan beamed. "They all seem to have worked really hard, they all want to be here, they're all excited and they've put in the work this off-season so I am really looking forward to getting on the ice with them."
A pair of noticeable omissions are there as there always is, 20 year-olds Gray Marr and Stu Symenuk will not be returning, Marr is using his last year of junior to pursue an opportunity in America, Symenuk, the longest serving Bronco as decided to stay in Saskatoon and get his post secondary education.
15 goalies are attending the camp, they will battle for the wide open crease as Jack Romanuik graduated last year and Ryan LaRochelle was moved by Smith in during the Summer.
Haugan stated that position won't be an issue, "we will be about average," he said.
The camp begins with registration Friday morning and it will conclude with their annual Green and Gold game Sunday night at 6 o'clock.
Haugan knows it's going to a busy weekend that is important for their organization and the City of Humboldt itself.
"It is a jam packed weekend, I'm not sure how many parents and what not we're going to be able to meet with and talk with but obviously we're showcasing our team and our community. We want to represent them well and hopefully that when they go back to wherever they are from they speak well with Humboldt and our organization."
"You know what," he continued. "From the people that I've met so far I don't see how they can go back with an other assessment that it's a first rate city."
The camp is open to the public all weekend long.
You can hear much more from Haugan below in his interview with Bolt FM's Clark Stork below.