HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt Broncos turned a lot of heads this season with the success they had with a young lineup.
With all but two players eligible to return, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League squad feels it is most definitely headed in the right direction. The Broncos finished seventh in the league with a 28-21-7-2 record with a roster that ended the season with 15 rookies, according to the SJHL website. The Humboldt team lost 4-0 to the second-seeded Flin Flon Bombers in the first round of the playoffs. Broncos defenceman Jackson Bohan, for one, is looking forward to next season.
“I’m excited about being around the majority of the same guys as we were a pretty tight group this year and really proved a lot of people wrong because we were such a young team,” he said. “I’m also excited to play a bigger role next year and improve my overall game. I really think we have something special here and are on the right track to have a winning team here for next year.”
Humboldt head coach Scott Barney watched as players and the Broncos as a team developed.
“What I was most pleased with the season was the development of the players from start to finish – to see the big strides they have gained throughout the season,” he said. “The way we progressed as a team and just our overall mentality from the start of the season to the end. Just the way they grew as a group as a whole.”
That development did not come without a lot of hard work. That work paid off as the Broncos earned a playoff spot and capped the regular season on a six-game winning streak.
“The thing that I enjoyed the most about coaching this group is every day they came to work at practice. It is probably the hardest working group that I have seen on the ice for practice. The way they competed every day. Their willingness to get better as individuals and as teammates. The way they competed in every drill in practice. Never complained how hard practice was and usually gave 110 per cent effort most days, which usually doesn’t happen a lot during a Junior A season. Some guys have some ups and downs, but those guys battled hard every day. It showed in their commitment and the way we ended the season.”
The Broncos’ roster included only two 20-year-old players that age out. Each was a valuable part of the team. Graysen Cameron captained the squad. A survivor of the April 6, 2018 Broncos bus crash that claimed 16 lives, Cameron returned to the team after a year away. He was a valuable leader, was a key penalty killer, and chipped in with 13 points. Logan Foster led the Broncos with 75 points and 47 assists in 57 games. He was second on the squad with 28 goals. Foster won the team’s Conexus Credit Union Most Valuable Player award.
After Foster in the team scoring standings came Tristan Shewchuk and Luke Spadafora. Shewchuk, in his 18-year-old season, posted 56 points and scored a team-best 30 goals. Spadafora had 54 points in a season split between Humboldt and Melville.
The Broncos’s top six top scorers were rounded out by rookies Karter McNarland (50 points in his 16-year-old season), Logan Kurki (44 points in 44 games, including 23 goals – third best on the team), and Braiden Koran (35 points).
Defenceman Doug Scott joined the team later in the season and proved he could produce from the backend. He had 30 points, including 10 goals, in 26 games. Rookie defencemen Jackson Bohan and Cody Hough contributed 29 and 24 points, respectively.
The Broncos net was manned by a trio of rookies. Brendan Forman, in his 18-year-old campaign, led the team with 18 wins and a 3.06 goals against average. Fellow 18-year-old Michael Harroch battled injuries but had a team-high .906 save percentage. Noah Decottignies, in his 19-year-old season, provided depth.