The Meadow Lake Senior Broncos are ready to soar to a provincial championship this year thanks to some help from the St. Walburg Eagles.

Six members of the Eagles’ roster – Bryan Bridges (goalie), Regan and Robin Yew, Nick Wourms, Trevor Bailey and Casey Knight – will officially serve as members of their SaskAlta Hockey League counterparts when the Broncos ice a team at 2022 Senior ‘A’ provincials next month.

“This was done to deepen our roster,” explained Broncos head coach Winston Morin. “I have always had respect for (St. Walburg) and there are some good hands there. Quite a number of them also have Meadow Lake ties, having played minor hockey here or they have family here. It should be good.”

Although an exact date as to when provincials will get underway for Meadow Lake this year has yet to be determined, the team’s first round series against Warman must be completed by Feb. 21.

“Like always, this will be a step up in terms of calibre of play, so we’ll have to be ready,” Morin continued.

This year only nine teams will participate in the Senior ‘A’ category at provincials. Traditionally close to 20 teams take part, but aside from Meadow Lake and Warman, other competing teams this year include Drake, Balcarres, Milestone, Lumsden, Southey, Lanigan and Biggar. According to Morin, however, fewer teams doesn’t necessarily make for an easier competition.

“I hate to even speculate about that,” he said. “Fewer teams could mean better players have been shoehorned in to the other teams. You also never know what kind of roster you’ll end up from game-to-game because of COVID-19. We are excited, however, as we need events like this to keep hockey going. I’m looking forward to it.”

As noted, one of the St. Walburg players joining the Broncos for provincials will be Regan Yew who is originally from Ile-a-la Crosse.

“It’s going to be awesome coming back to where Robin and my minor hockey careers began,” Yew said. “The Meadow Lake Peewee Renegades was the first team I ever played for.”

After more recently playing a few seasons overseas before coming to St. Walburg, Yew said it will be exciting playing in front of familiar faces.

“Too bad it won’t be in the old Meadow Lake and District Arena, but I’m sure the Flying Dust arena will still be electric come game time,” he noted. “With all the experience the Broncos have, we should be a threat in this provincial run. It’s an honour to come back and play with all these guys.”

Meanwhile, the Broncos return to action this weekend in the SaskAlta league when they play a home and home series with the league-leading Paradise Hill Hawks – Friday in Paradise Hill and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at Flying Dust.

by Phil Ambroziak