Countdown to Puck Drop: Welcoming the Newcomers
Today's focus is on the six "new" Broncos that the fans can cheer for this season. New is in quotation marks because of them is not technically new, just eligible to play this season.
Junior Mike Cichy started his career at North Dakota University and after playing two seasons he transferred to Western Michigan in search of better opportunities and a fresh start. Last season Cichy was ineligible to plays due to NCAA transfer rules which state that a player must sit out one season of competition after transferring to another Division I institution.
All six newcomers bring a compilation of size, power and skill. Cichy brings more skill than size. The Montreal Canadiens draft pick put up astonishing numbers while in the USHL before heading to North Dakota. He helped the Indiana Ice, and former WMU head coach Jeff Blashill, to a USHL Championship during the 2008-09 season. He was named the USHL Playoff MVP after tallying 25 points in just 16 games. During the regular season that year he tallied 34 goals and 42 assists for 76 points.
The four incoming freshman skaters all bring a combination of size, power and skill with all of them listed at 6-foot or taller. Colton Hargrove, a seventh round draft pick of the Boston Bruins this past summer, is listed at 6-foot-2 216 pounds. In two seasons with the Fargo Force of the USHL he totaled 65 points in 110 games, including 38 last season. Nolan LaPorte, technically the smallest of the freshmen at 6-foot 192 pounds, finished fourth in the USHL in scoring last season with 70 points. LaPorte also developed a reputation of being a tough, physical player, as well as a scorer.
Josh Pitt is the tallest of the freshmen at 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 201 pounds. Pitt was a big-time goal scorer in the CCHL last year for the Ottawa Jr. Senators, netting 36 goals on the season along with 23 assists. Defenseman Kenney Morrison, listed at 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds, was the top goal-scoring defenseman in the USHL last season with 15 goals, also adding 25 assists. Morrison is know for his hard right-handed shot on the power play.
The final freshman is goalie Lukas Hafner. Hafner played goalie last season for the Cornwall Colts and led them to a CCHL Playoff finals appearance and a 34-9-4 record.
The Broncos open the season when they host Western Ontario on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.