It was difficult to say goodbye for Isaac Poulter after his four-year career with the Swift Current Broncos came to a sudden conclusion on April 15.
Poulter was a sixth round draft pick by the Broncos way back in 2016 and joined the team as a ‘Black Ace’ for their 2018 WHL Championship run.
“It’s pretty sad. I spent four years and then playoffs with the Broncos, so it’s been quite a long time with one organization. It’s been a great experience. I’ve made a lot of great memories and met a lot of fantastic people that I’ve played with or just in Swift Current in general,” said the overage goaltender.
He pointed out that leaving his billet family, the Olferts, was particularly difficult.
“It was a pretty sad day today leaving them. I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me over the past four years. It wasn’t always fun coming home after games or after tough days at the rink, but it definitely made my time a lot easier. Just a great group of people and great family to spend my four years in Swift with.”
The Broncos playoff chase came down to the final weekend of the regular season as they missed the post-season by mere percentage points.
“This year we took a lot of great stepping stones as a team. Coming into the year we didn’t really know where we’d sit, but we wanted to be in playoffs. For it to come down to game 68 of our season I think that’s something that definitely means a lot to me and a lot to the other older guys and even the younger guys that we can be there and make an impact on the season. It wasn’t the way we wanted to end it, but it certainly was exciting playing meaningful games every game of the season this year.”
Poulter had been a loyal soldier through the Broncos rebuilding process, but was able to increase his career high in wins from nine to 20 this season.
“For me it was a career year. Looking at every other season I’ve played I haven’t had over 10 wins. Doubling my career wins total was really nice. I think it was more the team that I had in front of me this year. I didn’t have to be perfect every night to win games. They helped me out, putting up five or six goals. For myself it was a great year, but I think that comes back to the team we had and everything involved, the coaching and the whole staff too.”
The Winnipeg native was third in the WHL with five shutouts as he assumed a leadership role both on and off the ice.
“I wasn’t completely sure where I’d stand, if I was going to have to be as a big a leader as I was. I just decided I had to step up and make sure that everyone was doing alright, doing well, just tried to make it enjoyable for everyone to come to the rink every day just like the guys before me did, make it a good environment and a good culture.”
Poulter left his name in the record books as he finished second in Swift Current Broncos franchise history with 4,411 saves, third with 7,976 minutes played, and tied for third with 137 games played.
“When I was 17 I always wondered if I was going to be able to make it into the record book. These last couple years with covid and everything it was hard. It was one of my goals to play 100 games and to play 137 and be up there for saves and everything was really nice to see. Obviously I can’t thank Dean [Brockman], Chad [Leslie] and Devan [Praught] enough for giving me the opportunity to play in the WHL and play in as many games as I did.”
“I don’t think it can be overstated the value Isaac Poulter had,” said Head Coach Devan Praught. “Just a quality, quality person, a leader amongst his peers in the room and was our most experienced Bronco being fortunate enough to spend some time as a Black Ace during the 2018 league championship season. Just so much wisdom with our group and amongst our guys. Then the quality of play night in and night out. We were a team that gave up quality opportunities and we needed excellent goaltending to be competitive and Isaac provided us with that throughout the course of the year. He’ll be dearly missed but his legacy will live on and his influence in the room will continue forward here.”
Poulter won a third straight Humanitarian Award this season.
“I remember being a young guy going to Winnipeg Blues and Brandon Wheat Kings games and seeing how much those guys meant to me. I just wanted to make sure that I left an impact on the community and did everything I could do to make the kids days better. I just wanted to be an ideal role model for the other guys on my team and the kids in Swift Current.”
He was also named the team’s Most Valuable Player for a third straight season.
“The MVP is the same, I just tried to help the team out as much as a I could and do everything I could to get the organization back to where it was. Just do my part in helping the team succeed.”
Poulter hopes to get a professional opportunity, but if not he will head off to school in the fall.
“We’ll see what’s up. Hopefully someone will take a chance and I’ll be able to make some other dreams come true. I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without the help of the organization, teammates, trainers, and billets of course.”