PG Cougars in action against the Swift Current Broncos, 2018 | Photo Courtesy of the Swift Current Broncos

The Swift Current Broncos team Prince George hockey fans will see Sunday afternoon (2PM) at the CN Centre in no way resembles the Swift Current team that captured the 2017-18 WHL Title.

The Broncos paid a steep price for winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup, however, it is a cost many teams would be more than willing to pay.

Ask yourself as a fan, if a one-year championship is worth consistently losing the following season and perhaps years to come.

I would suggest the answer is a resounding YES!

The Broncos made a few key trades last season, moving future draft picks and top prospects along the way.

They did not get the ultimate prize of a Memorial Cup (went 0-3 in Regina), but they have a permanent banner that will hang at their home, the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex, that reflects being the best team in their 22-team league.

One of those deals had Swift Current give up first-round Bantam picks in 2019 and 2020 to the Prince George Cougars in return for defenceman Josh Anderson, who was a rental, but played a prominent blueline role in the playoff run.

The 20-year-old Anderson is with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL this season.

The 1-9 Broncos have the worst record and worst goals for-and-against ratio in the league.

Swift Current has scored just 20 goals in 10 games, while allowing a whopping 48.

This is great news for the Cougars!

If Swift Current ends up at the bottom or out of the playoffs, Prince George would get the Broncos lottery pick which could be as high as number-one.

The Broncos do own the Vancouver Giants first-round Bantam pick next year (acquired in a Joel Sexsmith trade), but the 9-1-1 Giants are one of the best teams in the WHL, which means they will likely pick very late in the first-round.

Swift Current lost 14 players from its championship team, many of whom formed the core that needed a record 26 games to win four rounds.

The Broncos cupboard is pretty much bare after trading away their top bantam picks in 2014 (Dom Schmiemann), 2015 (Riley Stotts), 2016 (Logan Barlage), and 2017 (Joel Sexsmith).

Swift Current only had a single pick in the first five rounds in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft because of other deals.

The Broncos only win in 10 games this season came on October 13th, a surprising 3-2 shootout victory in Brandon, but it took a 53-save performance from goaltender Joel Hofer to do so.

Brandon outshot Swift Current 55-32.

The 18-year-old Hofer, last season’s back-up to Stuart Skinner, was superb again this week in Langley.

The Giants whipped the Broncos 6-2 outshooting the beleaguered Broncos 71-16.

Vancouver had more shots in every period (26-20-25=71) than the total allowed (16) in setting a new franchise record in that category.

One of the many new faces on the Broncos roster is forward Ethan O’Rourke, son of PG Cougars associate coach Steve O’Rourke.

Ethan started the 2017-18 season with Prince George but was traded to the Everett Silvertips midway through the year.

In a limited role, he helped the Silvertips reach the WHL Final where the Broncos won in six games.

Mark Lamb spent seven seasons in Swift Current as the Broncos coach and general manager.

He helped build the Broncos into a contender before leaving for one year to coach Tuscon of the AHL after the 2015-16 season.

Lamb is obviously hoping the Broncos continue to struggle so PG will get that coveted pick.

Swift Current took a big gamble, went for the jugular and got a title, its first WHL championship in 25 years (1992-93) and third overall (1988-89).

The PG Cougars are now into their 25th season and are still trying to get to a league championship series, let alone win it.

The Cougars do have one division regular season banner from 2016-17 (when they went for it), but would gladly trade places with the Broncos.

Swift Current may be at the bottom now, however, the Broncos, as it turns out, made the right decision to go “all in” for that one special year.

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This is week four of ‘Hartley’s Cat Scan.’

The new podcast predominately features the Prince George Cougars.

My guest this week is Cougars President John Pateman.

LISTEN:

PG Cougars’ President John Pateman with Hartley Miller, interviewing for Cat Scan | Kyle Balzer, My PG Now

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Three tennis umpires in Thailand have been banned for life for match-fixing and gambling. So in this case, there was love lost.”

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

 

A Houston Astros spy was caught illegally videotaping the Boston Red Sox—his cyanide capsule had a Patriots logo on it.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

 

The Los Angeles Angels are giving managerial candidates a two hour written exam. The good news is that after they reach a 3,000 word count they can call for a reliever.

*American comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

 

Kawhi Leonard got a standing ovation in his first game with the Raptors, and seems happy enough now to be in Toronto. Of course, with Canada’s new marijuana laws, maybe he figures it won’t be long until some of his favorite superstar friends will join him.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The NY Post claims a police officer/apiarist captured a bee swarm that was frightening lunch-goers on a city street. The insects were later released, with a caution to beehive themselves.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

 

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller
Listen to him on his weekly podcast: Hartley’s Cat Scan.