It’s been a raucous preseason for the Humboldt Broncos, but both the dust and the starting rosters have settled in time for Saturday night’s regular season opener. That’s good news for local hockey product, McLaren Paulsen, who’ll drop into a centre position for the Broncos. Paulsen makes the leap to his hometown SJHL team from the Regina Pat Canadians U18AAA program with a solid 44 games logged last year and an impressive 44 points. 

Paulsen has been on the Broncos’ radar since his U15AA days in his hometown. He spent the summer at the Prairie Hockey Academy near Moose Jaw honing his skills and prepping for the new campaign. 

“I got to skate with a bunch of WHL and pro guys, so I got to push myself. I had a job in Moose Jaw too which kept me busy and active as well.”

As one of the many rookies under the microscope, Paulsen saw plenty of ice time in the preseason. The mix was constantly shifting as coaches and personnel watched for on ice chemistry and reaction.

“We had our young 16 year olds, we had guys still trying to make the team, and it was awesome just to get to know them, to get to know how they play and to play with them. Pre-season was good because you take a step every game getting ready for the season, and I think I did that. 

There’s no end of talented rookies and players new to the Broncos coming in. Despite the fact that Paulsen is on hometurf, he’s impressed by the Broncos-style welcome and the seamless infusion of new blood, partly due to the veterans’ efforts. 

“With the younger guys coming in like myself, the older guys have done a good job to make us feel welcome. The room bonds really well on and off the ice, and I think it’s one of the tightest groups I’ve ever been a part of. Being a rookie, it just makes me feel comfortable in there.”

This Saturday night’s home opener will be a first for Paulsen as a Bronco who relishes the thought of experiencing the energy of a hometown Broncos crowd from the ice surface. 

McLaren PaulsenBroncos' centre McLaren Paulsen

“Having billeted players in the past, I know just how excited they were about the experience of the home games and playing in front of the home fans and how awesome it is.Being in the stands myself, I’ve seen it, and I can’t wait to be on the ice and hopefully get the win out there.”

Don’t forget the pre-game excitement with the home opener. Join everyone down at the Uniplex at 5:00 pm for the Tailgate Party featuring live music with Saskatchewan favourite JJ Voss. There will be a street hockey game to cheer on, a colouring contest for the kids, and a dry rib supper special. The 50/50 Draw is a guaranteed $5000 thanks to South 20 Dodge. 

It’s time to usher in a new season for your Humboldt Broncos this Saturday.