HUMBOLDT — Before increased COVID-19 restrictions put the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season on pause, forward Reid Arnold was enjoying the Humboldt Broncos’ strong start.
At the season’s pause, which is slated to last until after Christmas, the Broncos topped the SJHL standings with a 5-1-0-0 record. The squad led the league in wins, standing points (10), winning percentage (.833), goals for (28), and goal differential (nine).
“What I have enjoyed the most about our strong start is that our team is competing every night and working as a unit,” Arnold said before the season’s pause. “No one is being selfish and it’s really good to see. It’s good to get out and get a [strong] start to the season because it brings that winning mentality for the whole season.”
The 20-year-old is focused on having a successful season to cap his three-year Broncos career.
“The way he plays and gives 110 per cent for the team and not for himself is evident in why he has been here now for three years,” Humboldt head coach Scott Barney said. “He has been a big part of it since we started here three years ago, and it’s been a pleasure of mine to coach him. He gives a lot back to the town, the community and never says ‘no’ to anything. Just a team-first kind of guy.”
Through six games, the 5-foot-10, 173-pound Arnold has one assist. That number does not properly reflect his value to the Broncos.
“He’s counted on for big minutes for us,” Barney said. “Every penalty kill, he’s on the ice as soon as we go shorthanded. He plays so many minutes on that part of the game. Also, we match him up against other team’s top lines.
“He is a guy who doesn’t get the notoriety some other guys do, but, for us, he’s a top forward and he’s been great.”
For the second straight year, Arnold is an assistant captain. Barney praised Arnold’s positive attitude and the way he leads by example. The head coach pointed to Arnold’s strong work ethic and commitment to making the players around him better.
Arnold’s first regular season contest with the Broncos was one few will forget. It was the team’s 2018 opening game of the season that followed that year’s April 6 bus crash tragedy. Banners were raised to remember the 16 who passed away and to honour the 13 injured. The game was nationally televised.
“What I remember about my first game as a Bronco was lots and lots of nerves before and during the game,” Arnold said. “It was probably one of the biggest games I have ever played in.”
Since then, he has made plenty of memories with the team. Some of them have come to his hometown of Yorkton. As a youngster, Arnold went to many Terrier games, including when they won league titles in 2013 and 2014 en route to a 2014 national championship. Now he finds himself competing against them.
“It’s really fun when we get back to Yorkton to play,” Arnold said. “I got lots of friends and family that come watch so it almost feels like a home game to me sometimes. I also have a few buddies that I grew up with in Yorkton so it’s fun to play against them.”
Of his time with the Broncos, Arnold said, “The three years I have been here, we had a great group of guys every year and it makes it easy to come to the rink every day and work when you have high class players and people here in Bronco organization.”
During all of his seasons, Arnold has lived with Trevor and Nancy Baert.
“What I’ll miss most about Humboldt is probably my billets,” he said. “They have become my second family. They welcomed me in when I was 18 and they have made my time here in Humboldt a memorable one.”
Arnold plans to head to university or college next year – while hopefully playing hockey. He plans to earn a degree in kinesiology before pursuing a career in dentistry or physiotherapy.
The Broncos last week
Monday, Nov. 23 in Wilcox
Humboldt 4, Notre Dame 1
Broncos Scorers: Doug Scott (2), Logan Kurki, Chase Nameth
Hounds Scorer: Qaritaq Kusugak-Clark
Goalies: Dean McNabb, Humboldt, 28 on 29; Riley Kohonick, Notre Dame, 36 on 40
Notes: The Broncos led 2-0 at the intermissions. Scott had three points while Kurki and Nameth each had two. “I thought Monday night the boys played a complete game,” Humboldt head coach Scott Barney said. “They worked hard. It is a tough rink to play in, obviously the Olympic-sized ice. I thought we played well for 60 minutes and got some big saves from Dean McNabb in net.” Barney was pleased with his squad’s special teams play. The Broncos were two-for-four on the powerplay and killed off seven of Notre Dame’s eight-man advantage opportunities.
Last Thursday it was announced that sports in the province in general would be on hold until Dec. 17. This is due to new restrictions put into place as the province battles the spread of COVID-19. The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League announced that games will not be played until after Christmas.
At the pause, the Humboldt Broncos topped the league with a 5-1-0-0 record. Broncos forward Logan Kurki was tied with Melville’s Reece Newkirk for the SJHL lead with 12 points. Humboldt captain Doug Scott led the league in defenceman points (10) and goals (four) and was tied for the lead in assists (six).