by Phil Ambroziak

The Meadow Lake Senior Broncos will soon bust out of the corral and back onto the ice.

Tuesday (Sept. 24), the SaskAlta Hockey League held its annual scheduling meeting in Vermilion, AB and, according to Broncos spokesperson Darryl Worms, the Meadow Lake squad should have its 2019-20 calendar finalized soon.

“That’s when we’ll know when all our games are, where we’ll be playing them and at what time,” Worms said. “The purpose of this meeting was to get all that sorted out for the upcoming season, and it should all be confirmed with the league by the end of the week.”

As it currently stands, the Broncos are scheduled to have their first regular season game Oct. 26 in Lashburn. When the team’s home opener will be, however, was still up in the air as of this week’s sports deadline.

“That will be determined once the rink schedule has been finalized for the Meadow Lake and District Arena,” Worms said. “I expect it won’t be until some time in November.”

Meanwhile, during Tuesday’s meeting, it was confirmed two teams – Vermilion and Neilburg – will not be part of the SaskAlta League this year.

“Both teams are taking a one-year leave of absence,” Worms noted. “Vermilion had trouble finding a coach. As for Neilburg, it came down to player commitment. That leaves us with six Saskatchewan teams and six Alberta teams in the league this year. It’s also going to be a 16-game schedule again this year.”

As for the Broncos roster, Worms said they’ve opened up practices at Flying Dust First Nation every Tuesday and Thursday until the ice goes in at the Meadow Lake arena.

“There will be some changes to the roster this year no doubt because some of the veteran players have yet to make a commitment,” he said. “There will be new faces, as well as lots of opportunities for people to become a part of our team. We welcome anyone to try out.”

The Broncos, who were multiple-time league champions in the Beaver Lakes Hockey League, joined the SaskAlta League last season in search of greater competition.

“We found just that,” Worms said. “I’d say we’re in the upper end of the league, and that has to do with the talent Meadow Lake has. To say you’re number one is a bold statement, but I am very excited about our chances this year and for us to again be a part of this league.”