The Swift Current Broncos held their annual general meeting in the upstairs conference room of the InnovationPlex on October 4th, 2022, recapping the 2021-22 season.
The Broncos board of directors and membership re-elected two board members, Trent McCleary and Cam Hyswick. The team announced a deficiency or revenue over expenses (net loss) for the 2021/2022 season of $349,000.
The Broncos had expected to endure another challenging financial year because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. With restrictions limiting fan participation and revenue generation, the organization was required to navigate the difficult year as best as possible, and work towards positioning the club for the exciting years to come. While undesirable, the overall deficiency of revenue over expenses was better than expected, due to key support from the 2021/22 season ticket holders, the dedicated fan base throughout the year, corporate stakeholders, government programs, and strategic cost management.
The Swift Current Broncos are proud to have supported our former players in their educational pursuits, with over $140,000 paid towards the education of former players.
The hockey operations leadership of the Broncos underwent some changes in the 2021/22 season. The former General Manager & Head Coach Dean Brockman resigned on October 14, 2021. Assistant General Manager at the time, Chad Leslie, assumed the role of Interim General Manager, and Associate Coach Devan Praught assumed the role of Interim Head Coach. Chad Leslie was named General Manager on January 31, 2022, and Chad Leslie named Devan Praught as Head Coach on March 7, 2022. Assistant Coach Matt Keillor was also brought on at the beginning of the season, alongside Darien Engelhardt, the teams Head Equipment Manager.
On the ice, the 2021/22 season provided a clear change in direction from the rebuilding seasons of the last few years to an exciting and competitive present and future. The team was able to compete in front of the incredible home fans for the first time since March of 2020, and the group of talented and motivated young players proved to be competitive all season long, giving Broncos fans an exciting playoff race in final months of the season. The team ended the season with a 26-35-5-2 record and 59 points, leaving the team two points out of a playoff position.
Two WHL Prospects Drafts occurred during the year, and the Broncos have signed nine of the 18 players selected from those two drafts to date. The success of last few WHL Prospect drafts has rebuilt the team’s 50-man roster to a position of strength and depth going into this next generation of Broncos teams.
Over the past off-season, seven Broncos players represented their countries at the World U18 Championship in Germany, with Mathew Ward, Josh Filmon, Josh Davies, Owen Pickering, Connor Hvidston and Reid Dyck playing for Team Canada, and Rayan Bettahar playing for Team Germany. Pickering and Dyck were later selected as two of Canada’s top three players at the event. It was the first time in CHL history that one team had six players on Team Canada’s roster at the World U18 Championship.
Five Broncos players were selected during the 2022 NHL Draft on July 7th and 8th, the most since the 1993 NHL Draft which also had five players taken. Owen Pickering became the first Broncos player to be drafted in the 1st round of the NHL Draft since Jake Debrusk in 2015, when he was selected 21st overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Connor Hvidston was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks 139th overall, Josh Filmon by the New Jersey Devils 166th overall, Reid Dyck by the Boston Bruins 183rd overall, and Josh Davies by the Florida Panthers 186th overall.
Ten players were invited to NHL Development Camps shortly after the Draft. Along with the previously mentioned drafted players, Sam McGinley went to Carolina Hurricanes development camp, Cole Nagy to Colorado Avalanche camp, Isaac Poulter to New Jersey Devils camp, and Mathew Ward and Rayan Bettahar were both invited to Toronto Maple Leafs development camp.
After the immense strides that were taken during the 2021-22 season, the Broncos mentality now shifts towards becoming a team that is competitive year in and year out. With the talent and depth that has been acquired over the past three years, there is a collective belief that this team can accomplish great things over the coming seasons.
The organization continues with efforts to develop the franchise into a position of strength on and off the ice. Challenging circumstances over the past two seasons have presented many hurdles to overcome, however the franchise’s overall commitment to their long-term plan has put the organization is in a relatively good position moving forward. On the ice, a young group of exciting players and a strong team culture continue to progress and develop. Off the ice, the organization has been able to weather the storm of the pandemic while maintaining a manageable financial position and having prevented irreparable harm. With the return of strong community support, the organization will be able to restore the financial position of the club to a sustainable level as the young team continuous its path towards being a competitive force in the league.