HUMBOLDT — With some wheeling and dealing the last few weeks, the Humboldt Broncos have a new look.
Various trades have brought new faces to town. The biggest deals drew a familiar player back to the Broncos. The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team has re-acquired standout forward Luke Spadafora. He had started last season in Humboldt before being moved to Melville and going on to win the SJHL’s Directwest Rookie of the Year award.
“Luke is a forward with good hockey sense,” Humboldt assistant coach Curtis Toneff said. “He has touch around the net and protects the puck very well. He has the most points in the SJHL by a non-20-year-old.”
The 19-year-old Spadafora was sixth in the SJHL in scoring, as of Sunday. He had 39 points, including 12 goals in 30 games. He was one of four players acquired last week.
“In our moves, we feel we got quicker up front and added veteran presence to our blue line,” Toneff said.
With players such as Spadafora of Calgary coming in, others departed. Going the other way in the Spadafora trade, which also included a draft pick for Humboldt, were 18-year-old forward Zac McIntyre, the team’s fourth leading scorer with 24 points in 30 games, and 18-year-old rookie forward Spencer Weinkauf.
“Trading Zac McIntyre and Spencer Weinkauf was a very difficult thing for Scott [Barney, the team’s head coach and general manager] and our staff,” Toneff said. “We feel it was a good hockey trade that gave us a legit top three forward for one and a half seasons.”
In a different deal, the Broncos moved 19-year-old defenceman Colin MacPherson. These recent trades came about a week after the squad moved veterans Bryson Cecconi and Chase Felgueiras. In each case, on Twitter, the Broncos thanked the players for their contributions in Humboldt, both on and off the ice, and wished them all the best.
In the trade that moved MacPherson, the Broncos netted 19-year-old defenceman Spencer McHardy from the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Okotoks Oilers. The Calgary product had 18 points and 67 penalty minutes in 52 games last season with the Oilers before playing six games with the squad this time around and exploring some U.S. options. The 6-foot-1, 194-pounder joined the Broncos on the weekend. Toneff said the Broncos have had their eyes on him for a while.
“He has a lot of experience and will provide a steady eddy type, calming influence to our young D core,” the coach said.
A three-way trade delivered 19-year-old Cade Cavallini to Humboldt. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound forward had a goal in 10 games for the Nanaimo Clippers of the B.C. Hockey League. Cavallini has quite the pedigree. His father Paul, a 1990 all-star with St. Louis, and uncle Gino both had long NHL careers. Cavallini, who is from West Vancouver, played both games over the weekend.
“He is a powerful player that thinks the game and makes poised plays,” Toneff said. “He has all the tools and will be given and good opportunity here.”
The Broncos picked up 19-year-old Doug Scott from the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials for future considerations. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound defenceman had two points this season in 16 games split between Merritt and Vernon. Scott is expected to arrive in Humboldt this week. “He is a very strong young man that plays into our system and plays with an edge,” Toneff said. “Like McHardy, he brings lots of experience to our back end.”
On the weekend, 19-year-old forward Tyson McLean scored his first goal for the Broncos since being picked up in late November. He has two points in five games with the team. “Tyson has been here for a few games now and is starting to really fit in and help our team,” Toneff said. “He is a tenacious player that creates energy every shift.”
On the weekend, the Broncos fell in both games of a home-and-home series against Nipawin. The Hawks won 5-3 at home on Friday and 7-5 in the Elgar Petersen Arena the next night.
“The team worked hard... but our second period lapses in both games cost us again,” Toneff said. “It is a good lesson for the group - you have to compete each and every shift in this league to be successful and sometimes we don’t compete as hard without the puck as we do with the puck. We need to be better in that aspect.”
As of Sunday, the Broncos sported a 15-11-3-2 record. They sat fifth in the SJHL standings
The Broncos last week
Friday, Nov. 29 in Nipawin
Nipawin 5, Humboldt 3
Broncos Scorers: Reid Arnold, Tyson McLean, Justin Jamer
Hawks Scorers: Jeremy Bisson (2), Max Johnson, Carson Erhardt, Zach Cox
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 24 saves on 28 shots; Dalton Dosch, Nipawin, 28 on 32
Notes: The Broncos led 1-0 in the first period and 2-0 early in the second. The Hawks scored three second period goals and two in the third. McLean scored his first goal as a Bronco.
Saturday, Nov. 30 in Humboldt
Nipawin 7, Humboldt 5
Broncos Scorers: Karter McNarland, Max Gudnason, Logan Foster, Justin Jamer, Braiden Koran
Hawks Scorers: Jake Tremblay (3), Brodie Girod, Jordan Simoneau, Zach Cox, Austen Flaman
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 31 saves on 38 shots; Dalton Dosch, Weyburn, 34 on 39
Notes: After a 1-1 first period, Nipawin took a 4-3 second period lead. The teams traded goals in the third to make the score 5-4 before the Hawks scored two straight to take a 7-4 lead. McNarland and Logan Kurki each had two points for Humboldt.
The lone game this week for the 15-11-3-2 Humboldt Broncos is a road contest against the Melfort Mustangs on Friday. The squad’s next home game is Dec. 12 when the Flin Flon Bombers visit.