Gawdin a leader in every sense of the word for Swift Current Broncos

Robert Murray/WHL


There’s something to like about the town of Swift Current, Sask.

A town located along the Trans-Canada Highway that hovers just shy of 20,000 people, life moves at a slower pace. If you’re Swift Current Broncos captain Glenn Gawdin, a product of Richmond, B.C., the adjustment in traffic makes it favourable place to be.

“You can get anywhere in five minutes,” he said.

There’s also the way the community is intertwined with the Broncos’ organization and the sport of hockey. A passionate fanbase that packs their home rink to the brim and can often be seen loud and proud in the rinks of their opponents, it’s this community and team that has given so much to Gawdin over the past five seasons.

Now, with Gawdin in the final month of his junior hockey career, it’s only fitting he’s put the team in a prime opportunity to capture their first Ed Chynoweth Cup since 1993 as early as Game Five (Friday, May 11 7:35 p.m. PT) of the 2018 Rogers WHL Championship Series.

Gawdin has come a long way for a teenager who once turned to Google to learn more about the organization and community that had selected him fifth overall in the 2012 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

“I knew I was coming to a small town in Swift Current and hockey is the biggest thing there,” said Gawdin. “I didn’t really know what to expect, but my five years there have been some of the best times of my life.

“I appreciate everything that the city and the organization has done for me.”

As much as he’s been there for the upside, he’s been there for the downs as well, playing through two Round One exits and a season out of the playoffs. Gawdin has played a leading role in the Broncos recent success bringing his team within a game of reaching the Eastern Conference Championship last season and carrying them further this season. The first three years may have felt like an eternity to Gawdin, but he’s more than made up for it in the past two seasons.

The longest-serving member of the team, Gawdin understands and shares in the wait the Broncos organization has had to endure to get to this historic point. To that, Broncos’ head coach Manny Viveiros sees his captain as more than just the player that best exemplifies what his team is all about.

“I think Glenn is a poster boy for the whole league,” noted Viveiros. “He’s been here five years, came in as a 16-year-old, worked real hard.

“He just continued to work real hard and signing with the Calgary Flames, he’s deserved everything he’s got, all the recognition, accolades he’s got. He’s been by far our most valuable player over the last two seasons as long as I’ve been here. We’re very happy to have him and very proud he’s been a member of our organization.”

The Broncos were already beaming with pride to reach the WHL Championship this season, but through four games, Gawdin has established himself as one of the leading candidate for the most valuable player of the series. His hat trick in Tuesday’s Game Three was cemented by his extra-effort game-tying goal late in the third and his overtime-winner moments later.

Gawdin is tied for the team lead with 12 goals and leads the Broncos with four game-winners in the 2018 WHL Playoffs. Naturally, he leads them in scoring as well. Yet as much as you’ll see Gawdin celebrating a goal featuring his involvement, you’ll also see him laying down on the ice, helping protect a one-goal lead late in the third period. With all due respect to Stuart Skinner, Gawdin’s willingness to put his body on the line to block shots may fairly rival that of the Broncos’ star goaltender.

To compete alongside teammates, friends, brothers of his on a nightly basis, Gawdin understands what the captaincy of this team means.

“It’s a huge honour,” said the Calgary Flames prospect. “You can look at the previous captains that even I had before me in their history.

“It’s just such an honour to be a captain of this team and with the team we have this year, [we’ve] got a lot of great leaders and lot of great guys as well.”

But as much as Gawdin and company are living in the now, ready for the challenge of Game Five and their first of three opportunities at clinching the series, their path has been inspired partially of because of what transpired last season.

A 5-1 loss at the Brandt Centre to the Regina Pats on April 17, 2017 — Game Seven in Round Two of the 2017 WHL Playoffs — still stings in Gawdin’s memory. Yet it’s also played a vital role for the club in being thorough in accomplishing their successes this time around. They evened up the battle against the Trans-Canada rivals with a Game Seven victory in Round One in Swift Current. With the battle now even, Gawdin and company would like nothing more than to head back to Regina for the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup and one-up the Pats in the Queen City.

“I think it was more [of a] redemption season,” Gawdin said of the Broncos’ 2017-18 season. “The way it ended last year wasn’t the way we wanted.

“I thought we were right there and Regina being the team it was last year, we took them to seven and we thought we should have won that series. Coming into this year, with the guys coming back and the team we had, we knew that with [Regina] hosting, they were going to be good. Obviously there’s one more thing that I want to do in the league here that we’re pretty close to.”

With Gawdin at the helm, he’s not the only leader in the room, but he commands respect and attention all the same.

“When he talks, everybody listens in the room,” Viveiros added. “He’s got that aura about him that everybody when he says something, he’s got everybody’s attention. He backs it up [on the ice].

“The guys look up to him and during a game, he has the ability to change the game with certain situations, just by his physicality and skill.”

For a town where you can get anywhere in five minutes, Gawdin would appreciate one more chance to go through town with the Ed Chynoweth Cup held high above his head, completing one part of a journey five years in the making.

That’s one trip through Swift Current that would last forever.

Game Five of the 2018 Rogers WHL Championship Series will take pace on Friday, May 11th (7:35 p.m. PT) at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Wash.

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