HUMBOLDT — Humboldt Broncos rookie forward Zach McIntyre had earned himself a contributing role this season – and it is likely to be even bigger in future campaigns.
“He wants to learn and he wants to get better … I think he is a big part of this organization going forward,” Humboldt head coach Scott Barney said.
McIntyre, a 17-year-old, posted 11 goals and 26 points in 54 games this season. He led all Broncos rookies in scoring.
The Rhein product had a very productive February for the Broncos. From Feb. 6 to 24, McIntyre recorded at least a point in six of his nine games. He posted four goals and nine points during that time. As well, McIntyre had three two-point contests during that span. In his two March contests, McIntyre had a combined two assists.
Barney said, in a mid-February interview, that McIntyre had gained confidence during the season after being injured in training camp. The youngster had earned himself a power-play role in front of the net. Barney said that the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder, whom he described as “a good kid,” has a knack for scoring goals and the hockey sense to go to the right spots.
McIntyre has had success playing on a line that includes a combination of Mitch Zambon, Riker Franczak, and Reagan Poncelet.
McIntyre said he enjoys playing with all three of them because they get along and play well together.
“It’s always never stressful out there because you know they got your back and you got theirs,” McIntyre said. “So, we just go out and have fun together.”
Before joining the Broncos, McIntyre played bantam AA and midget AAA close to home in Yorkton. McIntyre helped the bantam squad win back-to-back provincial championships. The Broncos grabbed him 14th overall in the second round of the 2018 SJHL Bantam Draft.
Last season McIntyre suited up for five games as an affiliated player (AP) with Humboldt. He recorded an assist during his time with the team.
“Playing as an AP helped me to get an understanding of what I needed to improve on to be successful for this year and see how much more junior hockey is matured from midget AAA hockey,” McIntyre said.
Even with his AP apprenticeship, playing in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League brought challenges.
“The biggest adjustment in junior A hockey is the speed of all the players and how strong they are compared to 15- to 18-year-olds,” he said.
McIntyre has enjoyed life on and off the ice in Humboldt. He billets with Tammy and Scott Ruedig and their children Kohen and Kayd. McIntyre has also made connections in the community.
“What I’ve enjoyed the most is making new friendships with my new teammates and meeting new people throughout the town of Humboldt.