Swift Current Broncos (0-1-0-0) at Saskatoon Blades (1-0-0-0)
Sunday, Sept. 25 – 2:00 p.m. (local) – Sasktel Centre
The WHL on Shaw heads east as WHL Opening Week 2016-17 continues in Saskatoon when the Saskatoon Blades welcome the Swift Current Broncos Sunday (Sept. 25 – 2 p.m. MDT) for “Thank You, Mr. Hockey Day.”
Puck drop will be proceeded by a pre-game ceremony in which the Blades will honour the late, great ‘Mr. Hockey’ Gordie Howe – one of Saskatoon’s hometown legends.
WHL on Shaw will be there, broadcasting live across Western Canada beginning at 2 p.m. MDT. The Howe family will be in attendance for the pre-game ceremony as the Blades don specially-themed Mr. Hockey sweaters in honour of Gordie Howe.
This afternoon marks the second of eight meetings between the Blades and Broncos this season. The Blades scored a 5-1 triumph on Friday night in Swift Current.
The Blades will be without defenceman Libor Hajek, who remains with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts selected Hajek with a second round pick (37th) at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
On the other bench, the Broncos will be missing forwards Glenn Gawdin (St. Louis), Lane Pederson (Arizona) and defencemen Max Lajoie (Ottawa) and Colby Sissons (New Jersey).
Both the Blades and Broncos have stiff competition in the WHL’s East Division this season. Will Saskatoon ride the emotion of Sunday’s “Thank You, Mr. Hockey Day” or will the Broncos put the boots to the Blades?
By the numbers
Saskatoon leads season series 1-0-0-0
Friday, Sept. 23 – Blades 5 at Broncos 1 – BOXSCORE
Head coach: Dean Brockman
Scoring leaders: C Jesse Shynkaruk (2-1-3); D Mark Rubinchik (0-3-3); RW Mason McCarty (1-1-2)
Goaltending leader: Logan Flodell (1-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .955 SP)
Power play: 10th – 25.0 per cent
Penalty kill: 13th – 75.0 per cent
Injuries: F Ryan Graham (lower body, four to six weeks); F Cameron Hebig (upper body, week-to-week); D Luke Gingras (lower body, day-to-day)
Players at NHL camps: D Libor Hajek (Tampa Bay)
Swift Current Broncos
Head coach: Manny Viveiros
Scoring leaders: C Tyler Steenbergen (1-0-1); C Aleksi Heponiemi (0-1-1); D Artyom Minulin (0-1-1)
Goaltending leader: Taz Burman (0-1-0, 5.00 GAA, .857 SP)
Power play: 10th – 25.0 per cent
Penalty kill: 10th – 85.7 per cent
Players at NHL camps: F Glenn Gawdin (St. Louis), F Lane Pederson (Arizona), D Max Lajoie (Ottawa), D Colby Sissons (New Jersey)
Blades head coach Dean Brockman scored his first WHL victory Friday in Swift Current… This marks the 53rd season for the Blades, while the Broncos are celebrating the franchise’s 50th campaign… The Blades will look to start with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2011… This is the first time the Blades and Broncos have opened a regular season with a home-and-home exchange… Wyatt Sloboshan was named the 57th captain in Blades franchise history on Friday…
Sept. 23 – Blades 5 at Broncos 1
Sept. 25 – Swift Current at Saskatoon (2 p.m. MDT) – WHL on Shaw)
Nov. 22 – Saskatoon at Swift Current (7 p.m.)
Dec. 30 – Saskatoon at Swift Current (7 p.m.)
Jan. 1 – Swift Current at Saskatoon (2:05 p.m.)
Jan. 22 – Swift Current at Saskatoon (2:05 p.m.)
March 10 – Swift Current at Saskatoon (7:05 p.m.)
March 11 – Saskatoon at Swift Current ((7 p.m.)
WHL on Shaw schedule
Wednesday, Oct. 5 – Victoria at Vancouver (7 p.m. local)
Friday, Oct. 7 – Kamloops at Calgary (7 p.m. local)
Monday, Oct. 15 – Moose Jaw at Edmonton (7 p.m. local)