Humboldt’s RBC Cup, an event we’ve been preparing for for years, has come to a close.
What a week it was.
There was great hockey on the ice, a few days of good weather outside, good crowds at the games, those boys from section D to watch twirl their T-shirts over their heads every time “Cotton Eyed Joe” was played, and of course, our Broncos to cheer for.
Unfortunately, our boys didn’t make it to the final game. A lot of hearts broke for them when that loose puck in front of the net ended their stellar season in Saturday’s semifinal, and there were a lot of tears shed off the ice as their dream of lifting that RBC Cup at home was shattered.
But what a run they took us all on. Those boys have nothing to hang their heads about. The season, from start to finish, was one for the history books.
No one gave the Broncos much of a chance last fall — at least, no one outside of this region did. People thought the Broncos would do all right in the regular season, maybe make it a few games into the playoffs, then take a rest before coasting into the RBC Cup as the host team.
Obviously, those who thought that are people who don’t know Dean Brockman, Tim Klimosko or Murray Brookbank. These coaches have a fierce will to win, and are able to pull the absolute best out of their players.
The team did get off to a bit of a shaky start. But it wasn’t that long before things started to look really, really good.
They started a winning streak in November that lasted until late January.
The regular season ended, and the Broncos were at the top of the pile. And still, there were doubts they’d make it to the Cup under their own steam.
The playoffs began, and Humboldt rolled over the Ice Wolves and the North Stars. And people outside of Humboldt started to take notice.
They won over Weyburn, and lifted another SJHL championship cup into the air.
Then they took on the Portage Terriers in the last-ever ANAVET Cup series, and though it took seven games, they defeated them on home ice — the first time they’d done so at home since 2003. The look on Taylor Johnson’s face when he put that cup into the air — the joy and the absolute happiness — is one I won’t soon forget. I’ll hang onto that one a lot longer than the look I saw on his face on Saturday night.
With that ANAVET win, they earned their way into the Cup. And finally, people started to take notice of Humboldt; started to believe that this was a team to be reckoned with.
Some of us knew that all along.
And let’s not forget their run at the RBC Cup — four games in the round robin; four wins.
There are certain moments that spring to mind when thinking back over those games. The concentration on Matt Hrynkiw’s face as he donned his helmet for Humboldt’s first game on Saturday. Andrew Johnston throwing up his hands and shouting after scoring that overtime winner over Penticton on Sunday. The one-timer by Josh Roach which put Humboldt up 2-0 over the Soo on Tuesday. Taylor Duzan’s leap into the air after getting his first goal of the tournament on Thursday. And the determination on Ryan Marshall’s face as he approached Woodstock’s net on Saturday.
Cup, schmuck. Yes, it would have been nice to get it. But Humboldt is the home of the Broncos — coaches and players with character and strength. That’s all we need to be proud.