GAME DAY PREVIEW: The Pac is Back! Blades saddle up for battle with Broncos
Hockey season is finally here! The Saskatoon Blades are all set and ready to face-off with the Swift Current Broncos to open the 2017-18 WHL regular season tonight at SaskTel Centre, presented by Merlin Ford Lincoln. The Blades will be hitting the ice in their brand new pacman inspired 3rd jersey, but before the action begins there will be a special pre-game ceremony. Former Blades captain, Bruce Gordon, who donned the pacman uniform back in the 80’s will be honoured for his contributions to the Saskatoon Blades, the city of Saskatoon, and the community.
Many of Bruce’s teammates and even coaches from his playing days including Darrell Lubiniecki, Dave Chartier, Brian Skrudland, and Jack McLeod will be in attendance to honour Bruce and help usher in the new generation of Blades to represent the pacman. The Blades ask fans to be in their seats by 7:00pm for the ceremony.
- Doors open at 5:30pm
- Chance to shoot-to-win a 2 year lease on a NEW car from Merlin Ford Lincoln
- #23 Braylon Shmyr is your program feature player and will be signing autographs post-game on the concourse
- Happy hour specials at the concessions and bars
- #31 Ryan Kubic will be making his Blades debut in goal
Tonight… The Saskatoon Blades open the 2017-18 season against division rivals, the Swift Current Broncos. It’s the first of 8 games between the Blades and Broncos. It’s also the first game back at SaskTel Centre since March 17th. The Blades will be wearing their new 3rd jerseys for the first time.
A fresh start… After just missing out on the post-season last year, the pain is still lingering for Saskatoon. Newly named captain, Evan Fiala, will look to lead the charge accompanied by fellow veterans Braylon Shmyr, Cameron Hebig, and Libor Hájek. The vets will be complimented by the youth movement including 17-year-olds Chase Wouters, Michael Farren, and rookie Phenom Kirby Dach.
Last time around… Last season the Blades began the season in Swift Current with a 5-1 win over the Broncos. However, Saskatoon ended up going 2-4-2-0 against the Broncos last season, and fell 3-2 in the last regular season meeting back on March 11th. In the pre-season it was the Blades coming out on top 3-2 over Swift.
Pre-season records: Saskatoon Blades (4-2-0-0) Swift Current (2-3-0-0)
Trading places… On Wednesday both the Blades and Broncos completed a trade seeing 20-year-old goaltender Logan Flodell shipped to Swift Current for a 2020 2nd round pick and a 2019 5th round pick. The Blades then acquired ’98 born netminder Ryan Kubic form the Vancouver Giants in exchange for a 2019 2nd round pick. Kubic is expected to make his debut between the pipes in Saskatoon tonight.
Exhibition excellence… Last season’s leading scorer Braylon Shmyr (1G-6A) tallied 7 points in 3 pre-season games leading the way for Saskatoon. He was followed closely by fellow overager Cam Hebig (5G-1A) with 6 points in 4 games, and 16-year-old Kirby Dach (2G-2A) with 4 points in 5 outings.
Back to the Pac… The Blades blue line will be at full strength thanks to Evan Fiala (DET) and Libor Hájek returning from NHL camps this week.
Waiting game… Fans in the Bridge City will have to wait a little longer to see Cam Hebig return to action. The veteran sniper has to serve a 2 game suspension for checking-from-behind in pre-season. Hebig, who is returning from an injury that kept him out for the entire 2016-17 season, hasn’t played a regular season game since March 19th, 2016.
Draft Watch… 2000 born forwards Chase Wouters, Michael Farren, Matt Mosher, Brandon Machado, and late ’99 birthday Arjun Atwal, along with 2000 born defenseman Seth Bafaro are all entering their first year of NHL draft eligibility.
This day in Blades history: September 22nd, 2001… Present-day Blades’ assistant coach Ryan Keller scored the eventual game-winning goal as Saskatoon doubled the Prince Albert Raiders 6-3 in the home opener for the Bridge City Bunch. Paul Gentile, Daniel Volrab, Vladimir Artushin, Ryan Kehrig and Justin Kelly scored the other goals for the Blue and Gold while Michael Garnett stopped 27 shots in goal. The result allowed the Blades to split a season-opening home-and-home series with P-A.
Download and view the full game notes: game notes vs SC sept22