Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Saskatchewan’s Finest: Broncos’ Schlachter a woman used to pressure

(Photo credit to the Humboldt Broncos)

(Article written and produced by Jamie Neugebauer)

Amanda Schlachter is a woman used to pressure.

Her hair-dressing clients expect first-rate haircuts, and she has to keep her fridge stocked for the ravenous hockey players she and her husband billet.

Oh, and she’s the president of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s winningest franchise, the Humboldt Broncos.

“Oh yeah absolutely there’s pressure,” she says.

“I think there’s always a pressure that we as a club need to do well, we need to win. Our community is so passionate about the Broncos that we lose a few games and certainly people get nervous. The community just loves to see the team win, but it’s the love that comes from the feeling that the players are our family. Our guys get out in the community so much, get exposure, build those relationships, and the people in Humboldt just love that.”

Schlachter, a Humboldt native, was named the Interim President of the club last season and had the ‘Interim’ tag removed in the summer.

Her husband Cory and she began to billet players ahead of the 2018-19 campaign. They loved the experience, and she took the step to join the board two years later. She was then the Vice-President for two years until she took over for Andre Kruger.

As much as she is proud to be the first female president in the club’s history with a record 10 SJHL championships, she is also swift to push credit in the many directions that enable the Broncos to be one of the premium organizations in the league consistently.

“It can be stressful (to be the club president),” she says, “but it’s a lot of fun at the same time.

“We have a really good board here with our nine members, and we really support each other. On top of that (head coach and general manager Scott Barney) and his staff, with Amy Coggar in the office and Rory (McGouran) our broadcast and marketing guy, and just tons and tons of volunteers, we’re all a good team together.”

Like many presidents around the league, Amanda wears several hats at the Elgar Petersen Arena.

On GameDay, she sets up the 50/50 ticket sales, ensures line-up sheets are ready from both teams, ensures the front door is ready to receive attendees, and has many other duties.

She also is heavily involved in the team store.

“It’s busy,” she says, “but I really enjoy it.

“You get to kind of know your season ticket holders and obviously I have to take a bunch of the complaints when the building is too loud or cold or whatever, but that happens. If the rink needs anything, I try to volunteer to be the one to get it, but as I said, we all work well together and if I need help in any way I know I can ask a whole bunch of people.”

As much as Schlacter relishes all her roles, the opportunity to billet and impact the lives of Broncos players is her favourite.

The Schlachters currently house Ontario-born forward and second-year Bronco Maddox Amaral.

“Billeting for us has become very important,” she says.

“I didn’t want to do it at first, to be honest, but after the crash, they really needed help in that area, so we thought about it and jumped in. Our first billet was Josh Patrician from Calgary, it was such a good experience, and we’ve loved it ever since.

“If I had to give everything up with my involvement with the Broncos,” she adds, “the one I would want to keep in the end is for sure billeting.

“It’s such a rewarding experience. Not only do you meet the player that moves into your house, but you also meet their family, extended family, girlfriends or whatever, and you always have that relationship with them forever. Of all my roles, it’s my Number One priority.”

Amanda’s small-town values have been enriched with a stint teaching the English language in Southeast Asia, and time in big-city Saskatoon.

Yet everywhere she has gone, the memories and the passion for the Broncos have traveled with her.

“I just remember sitting in the rink during the RBC Cup (the Junior A National Championship) when we hosted in 2012,” she says.

“I just thought, wow, this is crazy, this place is just filled with people that love the Broncos. The people come out whether it’s minus-30 or plus-five degrees outside, and that passion for the team is so deep inside of my husband and I as well.”

Current head coach and general manager Scott Barney took over the reins of the club during Amanda’s first season as a billet.

And as much as the Broncos mean to Schlacter, according to Barney, the Humboldt faithful are just as impressed with her.

“It’s just huge to have a president in place that is so involved as she is,” he says.

“She is so passionate and wants to see the past success of the club remembered, as much as she wants to help out today and to see the stability of the team continue for years to come. She has been just phenomenal to work with for all of our staff and I know I can speak for all of them when I say she’s just a great, hardworking person and it’s people like her that the SJHL is all about. She is a big reason why we are as quality a franchise as we are.”

Schlacter mentioned that she and the board are working hard on a big alumni reunion game and event for next season, which she hopes to occur around a game against the Battlefords North Stars as their head coach Brayden Klimosko is a Humboldt local and a Broncos legend.

The club’s ability to reach out to the community and market itself well has been an enormous part of the Broncos’ success of late, and Amanda points to McGouran’s hard work and competence as a key driver.

“Rory has done such a good job (since coming in 2018),” she says.

“He just needs to move into the EPA and live here forever because he fits into the Humboldt community so well. He’s so passionate, he always seems to have the right words to say when we need them, and like Amy, he’s just really great to work with. He has done a lot to essentially double our club’s income by being so creative, and I always joke with him that he just cannot leave. As I said before, Rory and Amy have great experience and work well together, and it’s great to see them do what they do as a team.”

Amanda’s husband has an agricultural background but currently works for a construction equipment supplier, and like her, is wildly passionate about the Broncos.

But on top of being their club president, does she also cut the players’ hair?

“Oh sure I do!” she laughs.

“I have a few that come to me, but usually they’re kind of last minute. You know they say ‘Can I get in right away?’…I guess they’re teenagers mostly so they’re not the best scheduled kind of people. Our players come to me though, for sure!.”

A top-notch club president who can pull off a top-notch fade? No wonder the Broncos feel their board’s chief is one of Saskatchewan’s finest.