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Broncos announce 2022-23 Opening-Night Roster

Keith Hershmiller

The 2022-23 Western Hockey League season begins Friday night when the Swift Current Broncos welcome the Calgary Hitmen to the InnovationPlex for a 7:00 puck drop. After missing the playoffs by a single game last season, the Broncos are a group that is determined to be firmly in the playoff picture after a year of massive growth in 2021-22.

The opening night roster for the Broncos this season includes all five players who were drafted in the 2022 NHL Draft, though not all of them will be in the lineup this weekend. Goaltender Reid Dyck is the lone 2022 draft pick who will be in the Broncos lineup this weekend.

Including those players, the 2022-23 opening night roster features 17 returning full-time players from 2021-22. Remarkably, 23 of the 28 players on the roster were either drafted or signed by the Broncos.

The roster includes four 20-year-olds, three 19-year-olds, nine 18-year-olds, nine 17-year-olds and three 16-year-olds.

Forwards

Landon Roberts 

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2002 8-5-13 in 63 GP Tri-City/Brandon (WHL) Free Agent Souris, MB

Roberts was invited to Broncos training camp as a free agent after splitting 2021-22 between the Tri-City Americans and Brandon Wheat Kings. Known for his leadership and maturity, Roberts also brings an element of physicality on the ice, using his 6’3”, 206-pound frame to punish opposing players.

Raphael Pelletier

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2002 20-27-47 in 64 GP Swift Current Broncos(WHL) Trade from EDM Legal, AB

After greatly increasing his points-per-game output during the shortened 2020-21 season, Pelletier picked up where he left off by setting career high’s across the board in 2021-22. Pelletier saw regular action in all situations last season, scoring five power play goals and also two shorthanded markers. He is second only to Sam McGinley in career games played on the Broncos active roster.

Caleb Wyrostok

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2003 9-8-17 in 42 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2018 Draft (Round 9, 197th) Medicine Hat, AB

Wyrostok suffered an injury on February 21 against the Regina Pats, prematurely ending his 2021-22 campaign. The diminutive forward brings a strong mix of offensive creativity and agitation, as showcased by his 93 penalty minutes in 42 games.

Braeden Lewis

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2003 1-10-11 in 34 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2018 Draft (Round 6, 114th) Virden, MB

Lewis couldn’t seem to catch a break during the 2021-22 season, being sidelined for extended periods on numerous occasions. When in the lineup, Lewis’s calling card is his reliable two-way play as he is often called upon to help win draws and kill penalties.

Mathew Ward

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2004 22-35-57 in 64 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2019 Draft (Round 1, 14th) Kamloops, BC

All Ward as done since making the jump to the WHL is provide offence for the Broncos. Entering the 2022-23 season, Ward has posted 79 points (28-51-79) in 91 career games. He is a regular on the Broncos power play and isn’t afraid to get involved physically as he finished second on the Broncos in penalty minutes in 2021-22 with 96.

Josh Davies

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2004 16-20-36 in 64 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2019 Draft (Round 3, 54th) Airdrie, AB

Davies’s unique mix of speed, strength and grit made him a target of the Florida Panthers who selected him with the 186th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.  He can turn the tide of a game with a thunderous hit or his elite-level wrist shot which he is never shy to unleash.

Karson King

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2004 11-9-20 in 50 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2019 Draft (Round 6, 111th) Warren, MB

King had an exceptional second half for the Broncos in 2021-22, finding his offensive stride to provide much-needed depth scoring for the team. After finding the back of the net for his first career goal on February 11, King went on a run of 18 points (11-7-18) in his final 23 games. He shared the Broncos Most Improved Player award with Josh Filmon.

Connor Hvidston

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2004 13-19-32 in 58 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2019 Draft (Round 7, 133rd) Tisdale, SK

Like King, Hvidston had a strong second half of 2021-22 by scoring 21 points (10-11-21) in 28 games after the Christmas break. He also increased his faceoff percentage from 40.2 per cent to 49.0 per cent after Christmas. His play down the stretch not only earned him a roster spot on Team Canada at the World U18 Championship, but it also vaulted him onto NHL Draft radars, causing him to be selected 139th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Josh Filmon

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2004 23-22-45 in 67 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2019 Draft (Round 4, 67th) Winnipeg, MB

Filmon’s performance year-over-year was undoubtedly one of the most impressive in the WHL last season, going from two points (2-0-2) in 17 games in 2020-21 to 45 points (23-22-45) in 2021-22.  His efforts saw him named to the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Team Canada World U18 Roster, and culminated in him being drafted 166th overall by the New Jersey Devils.

Ty Hurley

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2004 1-2-3 in 31 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2019 Draft (Round 4, 84th) Sherwood Park, AB

Joining the Broncos after the trade deadline, Hurley brings speed and tenacious work to the Broncos lineup. His stature doesn’t stop him from going into corners and battling along the boards, doing anything he can to help his team find loose pucks.

Rylan Gould

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2005 4-9-13 in 66 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2020 Draft (Round 2, 42nd) Headingly, MB

If his pre-season performance is any indication, Gould seems poised for a breakout campaign in 2022-23. A prolific scorer in his minor hockey days, Gould transitioned into an energy-line player as a rookie. After recording three points (2-1-3) in four pre-season games, Gould looks to return to his offensive ways in his second WHL season.

Luke Mistelbacher

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2005 29-19-48 in 38 GP Eastman Selects U18 (MU18HL) Free Agent Signing Steinbach, MB

After going undrafted in 2005, Mistelbacher was listed by the Broncos and impressed during his first training camp in the fall of 2021, earning a Standard Player Agreement toward the end of camp. The 5’11” forward weighed in over 20 pounds heavier than he did during camp in 2021, and uses that size to engage in board battles on the forecheck.

Connor Gabriel

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2005 19-25-44 in 41 GP Warman Wildcats (SMAAAHL) 2020 Draft (Round 5, 89th) Saskatoon, SK

Gabriel was an integral piece of the Warman Wildcats team that reached the SMAAAHL championship last season. After 44 points (19-25-44) in the regular season, Gabriel added nine points (4-5-9) in 11 playoff games. He made his WHL debut February 2 in Lethbridge, recording two assists.

Brady Birnie

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2005 6-9-15 in 66 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2020 Draft (Round 1, 21st) Regina, SK

Birnie showed flashes of the offensive brilliance that had him rack up 128 points with the Regina Monarchs during his draft season last year. Perhaps most impressive about Birnie’s game was his ability to absorb hard contact and get right back to his feet despite his smaller size. Like Gould, Birnie had a strong pre-season with four points (3-1-4) in four games and looks determined to provide offence more regularly in 2022-23.

Van Eger

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2005 16-21-37 in 43 GP Notre Dame Hounds (SMAAAHL) 2020 Draft (Round 4, 88th) Willow Bunch, SK

Eger served as the captain of the 2021-22 Notre Dame Hounds U18 team, and played an integral role in their run to the Telus Cup. A gritty, hard-working forward, Eger also contributed offensively and near a point-per-game pace between the regular season and playoffs, and continued that trend at the Telus Cup with four points (3-1-4) in five games. He appeared in four games as an AP for the Broncos in 2021-22.

Clarke Caswell

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2006 35-53-88 in 38 GP Brandon Wheat Kings U18 (MU18HL) 2021 Draft (Round 1, 6th) Brandon, MB

Caswell’s 2021-22 campaign was nothing short of remarkable. He finished second in MU18HL scoring (sandwiched between his two linemates) despite being a first-year forward. The next highest scoring 2006-born forward had just 42 points. Caswell continued that production into the playoffs with 17 points (9-8-17) in 11 games and looks to be another key cog in the Broncos current, and future, success.

Maddix McCagherty

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2006 17-24-41 in 34 GP Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna 2021 Draft (Round 2, 25th) Kelowna, BC

McCagherty had a strong season with RHA Kelowna in 2021-22 and parlayed that into an invite to Hockey Canada’s U17 Summer Camp. He got a taste of WHL action as an AP last season by appearing in three games with the Broncos, and knows the kind of effort and work required to be a full-time Bronco at 16.

Defencemen

Sam McGinley

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2002 7-14-21 in 62 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) Trade with REG Calgary, AB

The most veteran player on the Broncos roster by games played, McGinley was tasked with lining up against opposing team’s top players in 2021-22. He also set career high’s offensively in his third season with the Broncos, and was invited to Carolina Hurricanes development camp and rookie camp for his efforts.

Kayden Sadhra-Kang

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2003 3-11-14 in 59 GP Swift Current/Lethbridge (WHL) Trade with LET Richmond, BC

Acquired in an early-season trade with the Lethbridge Hurricanes last year, Sadhra-Kang flourished into a bonafide WHL defenceman with the Broncos in 2021-22. His combination of size and skating ability has helped him become an important piece of the Broncos blueline.

Rayan Bettahar

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2004 1-14-15 in 63 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2021 Import Draft (5th) Rodgau, Germany

Bettahar’s physical play forced opposing players to be aware when he jumped over the boards last season, and also caught the eye of the Toronto Maple Leafs who invited him to their development camp in the summer. He looks to continue that physical play, while also taking a step forward offensively in his second season with the Broncos.

Owen Pickering

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2004 9-24-33 in 62 GP Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2019 Draft (Round 9, 177th) St. Adolphe, MB

Pickering’s rise to prominence was well documented throughout the 2021-22 season. Beginning the year as a C-ranked skater for the 2022 NHL Draft, Pickering was on a constant uphill swing all year long. Whether it was the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Team Canada’s U18 World Championship team, where he was named one of Canada’s top three players or the NHL Combine, Pickering’s rise saw him selected 21st overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in July. He now looks to establish himself as one of, if not the top defenceman in the WHL, while helping the Broncos return to the playoffs.

Liam Saxberg

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2005 7-12-19 in 34 GP Winnipeg Bruins (MU18HL) 2020 Draft (Round 3, 60th) Winnipeg, MB

Despite being a modest 5’10” and 168 pounds, Saxberg isn’t one to shy away from the rough stuff when on the ice. He has shown some impressive offensive flair in previous seasons, and racked up 125 penalty minutes with the Winnipeg Bruins in 2021-22.

Sam Ward

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2005 3-6-9 in 37 GP Merritt Centennials (BCHL) Free Agent Signing Kamloops, BC

The younger brother of Broncos forward Mathew Ward, Sam joined the Broncos toward the end of the season and made his WHL debut April 8 against the Regina Pats. Ward suited up close to his hometown of Kamloops last season with the Merritt Centennials, and was one of only four full-time 16-year-old defencemen in the BCHL last year.

Grayson Burzynski

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2005 3-3-6 in 54 GP Eastman Selects U18 (MU18HL) 2020 Draft (Round 2, 44th) Winnipeg, MB

Through the exhibition schedule it’s clear that Burzynski is a different player than he was last year. Radiating with confidence, Burzynski has shouldered a heavy workload by skating in all five pre-season games for the Broncos, while picking up a goal and two assists. His emergence could be a game changer for the Broncos defence corps.

Josh Fluker

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2006 6-14-20 in 38 GP Southwest Cougars (MU18HL) 2021 Draft (Round 1, 7th) Boissevain, MB

Fluker made quite the first impression with the Broncos last season. Skating in 10 games with the team due to injuries on the blueline, the smooth-skating, right-shot defenceman looked calm as could be, all while contributing five points (0-5-5) in those 10 games.

 

Goaltenders

Gage Alexander

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2002 18-7-2-2, 2.40, .911 Winnipeg ICE (WHL) Trade with WPG Okotoks, AB

The Broncos acquired Alexander in a trade with the Winnipeg ICE at the end of July, adding stability to the crease with the Anaheim Ducks 2021 5th-round pick. The 6’7” Alexander looks to build off a breakout season with the Winnipeg ICE, and have another long playoff run after helping Winnipeg reach the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Reid Dyck

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2004 6-12-1-0, 4.26, .884 Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2019 Draft (Round 3, 45th) Winkler, MB

Dyck’s finest performances came when the most eyes were on him in 2021-22. Not only did he turn aside all 23 shots sent his way during the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, he was also named one of Team Canada’s top three players at the World U18 Championship. The Boston Bruins selected him with the 183rd overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Joey Rocha

Year 2021-22 Stats 2020-21 Team Acquired Hometown
2005 18-4-0, 2.71, .891 Notre Dame Hounds (SMAAAHL) 2020 Draft (Round 5, 109th) Nanaimo, BC

Rocha made the move from Vancouver Island to Saskatchewan last season to join the U18 Notre Dame Hounds, which proved to be a smart decision. Rocha showed strong during the regular season for the Hounds, but appeared to save his best for late in the season as he was named the Top Goaltender at the 2022 Telus Cup.

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