July 20th, 2024

Geekie looking to be part of team effort with Broncos

By JAMES TUBB on January 19, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Conor Geekie, traded to the Swift Current Broncos ahead of the Jan. 10 WHL trade deadline, takes a face-off in the first period of a 5-2 Medicine Hat Tigers win Tuesday at Co-op Place.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

Conor Geekie has seen what winning teams do to find the ultimate success. Now, he’s looking to be part of a winning team.

The 19-year-old Arizona Coyotes prospect is chasing that elusive Western Hockey League championship in new colours, donning the Swift Current Bronco blue and green after playing three seasons for the Winnipeg Ice and 26 games for the newly minted Wenatchee Wild.

The Ice lost in the league finals last season to the Seattle Thunderbirds and the year prior fell in the East finals to the Edmonton Oil Kings, who went on to win the championship.

He’s been part of strong teams in Winnipeg, and through his opponents has seen what winning teams look like and says there’s been a lot of lessons learned the hard way.

“It takes a whole team to win, you can have the best player in the world, but he’s not going to win it single-handedly,” Geekie said. “So it goes top to bottom for everyone, everyone just has to play the right way. Playoff hockey is obviously a different breed, so you have to manage pucks and do all that good stuff. So we’re just emphasizing that early here.”

The Minnedosa, Man. product has only been in Swift Current for two weeks after being traded Jan. 4 in a blockbuster deal. Wenatchee was left with very few draft picks, especially before the fifth round, after Winnipeg went all in then sold the franchise upon failure. They had to move Geekie and Matthew Savoie, a fellow 19-year-old NHL prospect, to protect the future.

For Geekie, the Wild received defenceman Josh Fluker, defenceman Sam Ward, forward Maddix McCagherty, two first-round picks (2025, 2026), a 2025 second-round pick and a 2027 seventh-round pick. He was one of three Bronco acquisitions ahead of the WHL trade deadline as they loaded up for a playoff run, sitting in fifth place in the East conference.

They also acquired hulking defenceman Tyson Galloway from the Calgary Hitmen and signed import defenceman and Los Angeles Kings prospect Jakub Dvorak.

Since being in Swift Current, Geekie says he never took the Broncos lightly while playing against them and says he’s happy to be on the other side of that matchup now.

“We all just play really hard to play some pace, (Tuesday) wasn’t indicative of our identity and you’re going to have games like that,” Geekie said following a 5-2 loss to the Tigers at Co-op Place. “You’re going to have games where nobody has it. So we’re a really hard working team and we have some good D-corps depth and a ton of scoring up front. So I’m just looking to contribute to that as much as I can.”

Geekie spoke with the News following the game on Tuesday. He was held off the scoresheet and the Broncos, despite scoring twice early in the first period, picked up the loss to a shorthanded Medicine Hat team playing with nine forwards and eight defencemen.

Geekie says they had too many turnovers that the Tigers could capitalize on. It was only his third game for Swift Current. He picked up a goal in his first game, a 6-2 win Jan. 9 over the Tri-City Americans, before going legend against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Geekie scored and picked up three helpers in a 7-3 Broncos win on Jan. 12. Despite the scoring touch he’s shown Swift Current fans so far, Geekie says he is his harshest critic and he needs to be better.

“I look at my game pretty harshly and I’m just not happy with the way I’m playing and the way I’m doing things,” Geekie said. “But I’m still trying to help other guys. Because if I don’t have my A game, I’ll try to play the B game. So just getting accustomed to everything.”

He says the Broncos have been a welcoming group and he says some early adversity is good for them and allows them to see how they respond. He’ll get another test and one he’s never faced tonight when Swift Current hosts the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The Warriors, like Swift Current and the Saskatoon Blades, are loading up for what they hope is a deep playoff run. They also danced with the Wild and made a blockbuster move of their own, acquiring Geekie’s former running mate in Savoie.

Both were drafted by Winnipeg in 2019, Savoie going first overall and Geekie going second. They were line mates from the second they were drafted and both represented Canada at the World Juniors this winter. They both were moved out of the only franchise colours they knew, setting up this matchup that will be one of the WHL’s best storylines until either team outlasts the other in the playoffs.

Geekie was all smiles talking about getting to face Savoie, his best friend of four years. He says he may even try to call for a pass from his former line mate, just to see if old habits die hard.

“It’ll be different, we’re pretty good at being competitive against each other,” Geekie said. “This game has a lot of bragging rights on it. So I’ll be going in there with a lot of fuel in the fire and try to contribute as much as I can.”

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