QUESTIONS STILL BEING ANSWERED AFTER FOG BOWL 2016

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The Brandon Wheat Kings were left with a sense of confusion and disappointment after the cancellation of Saturday’s home opener due to fog affecting the visibility on the ice surface.

“We were disappointed as a team, we were disappointed as an organization and we know our fans were disappointed,” said Wheat Kings Director of Business Operations Rick Dillabough.

The referee’s along with WHL Commissioner Ron Robison and Keystone Centre Officials made the decision to call the game with 5:37 left in the 2nd period after it was determined that it was no longer safe to continue the game.

General Manager of the Keystone Centre Neil Thompson was apologetic when approached by the media on Monday morning.

“It’s the Keystone Centre’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for clients, players and guests,” said Thompson.

“There is no doubt that it is our responsibility and the question is why did it happen?”

Thompson pointed to a number of factors including the temperature outside the building, the 100% humidity in the air and the heat created by the 5100+ fans inside the building.

All of those factors, added to the fact that the facility does not have Air Conditioning created a “Perfect Storm” of sorts, that created the thick fog.

After weeks of preparation and a perfectly orchestrated pre-game celebration and ceremony, members of the Wheat Kings staff were left in a state of shock and awe when the game came to an abrupt end.

“Because it was our 50th Anniversary and we were celebrating a championship, In our minds we had to hit it out of the park,” Added Dillabough.

“I think Matt (McNish), Greg (Sherris), and Chris (Falko) did an outstanding job in doing just that, but to have it come to a premature end was disappointing.”

The Wheat Kings along with the WHL and the Moose Jaw Warriors are now tasked with the chore of determining how to fit 25 minutes of a hockey game into the calendar.

Fans are encouraged to keep their tickets from Saturday’s home opener as the club will release ticket details in the coming days.

As for the Keystone Centre and their next steps, Thompson told CKLQ that an investigation will be done into the building conditions that night as well as discussion about new air conditioning and other infrastructure upgrades will take place.

“We certainly apologize to the city, to the fans, the Wheat Kings Organization and the Moose Jaw Warriors,” said Thompson.

“We will do what we can to hopefully never have this happen again.”

CROWE’S NOTES FROM MONDAY’S PRACTICE

-The Wheat Kings have re-assigned brothers Tyler and Baron Thompson. Both were acquired in a training camp deal with the Victoria Royals.

-Tanner Kaspick was re-assigned to the Brandon Wheat Kings this afternoon. The 18 year old has spent the last two weeks with the St Louis Blues at their training camp. The full story can be found HERE.

-Goaltending Coach Tyler Plante spent a good hour on the ice with Logan Thompson and Jordan Papirny prior to practice this afternoon. The trio did a number of footwork, vision and reactionary drills.

-The Wheat Kings players and staff will head to CFB Shilo tomorrow for the 7th annual “Soldier for a Day” event. The full story with details can be found HERE

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WILD NIGHT IN THE WHEAT CITY

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September 24

Video Highlights – Click Here

It started out as a fantastic celebration of last season’s championship run, and the club’s 50 year history in the WHL and ended as one of the strangest games we’ve seen in WHL history.

The Brandon Wheat Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors game was postponed due to the fog in the building creating an unsafe playing environment for the players.

Moose Jaw had just taken a 2-1 lead on an end to end rush from Nikita Popugaev when the officials called for the 3rd “break” of the period to allow for the fog in the building to dissipate.

After the officials conferred with Keystone Management, the Wheat Kings and the WHL Commissioner Ron Robison, the decision was made to postpone the game.

Statement from the Brandon Wheat Kings:

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WHL Commissioner Ron Robison was kind enough to join the CKLQ post-game show and inform the fans about what happens next.

CROWE’S NOTES

-To say my first two nights as a WHL broadcaster were an adventure, would be an understatement. Friday night, after the internet went down at Mosaic Place, I broadcast the third period via cell phone and tonight the game was cancelled. Looking back, this weekend will make for a good story someday, however it certainly wasn’t how I planned to start my career in the WHL!

-From the press box, Peter and I couldn’t really notice the fog. The temperature in the booth was about 15 degrees warmer than usual and both of us were sweating (Which is unusual) However, it was obvious that the on ice hazard was too much to handle when the jumbo-tron showed the replays from ice level.

-In talking with the Wheat Kings coaching staff following the game, Head Coach David Anning said at times he couldn’t tell which Moose Jaw players were jumping over the boards onto the ice, as the fog was so thick. As well, there were several instances when a puck would be cleared out of the zone and the coaching staff wasn’t sure where it was.

-Obviously it is a disappointing end to a promising night for the fans as over 5000 packed into Westman Place, however it is a long season and fans will be treated to some excellent hockey in the coming weeks.

-Hats off to the Wheat Kings Marketing and Production Teams as the pre-game ceremony was FANTASTIC! Fans were treated to a pair of excellent videos that encompassed not only the club’s immense history, but last season’s storybook run.

-I feel there must be a curse on me when it comes to fog. As the broadcaster for the U of S Huskies Football Team, I had to broadcast through a 1.5 hour “Fog Related” delay following a half-time fireworks show. The smoke, mixed with the humidity and temperature left a thick smog hanging over the field for almost two hours. At the time, I was told… “This is a once in a lifetime event, you will never see this again at a sporting event.” Boy was that guy wrong.

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WHEAT KINGS GAME DAY

September 24

The Brandon Wheat Kings will look to bounce back from a 3-2 overtime loss last night in Moose Jaw as they welcome fans to the 50th season of Wheat Kings hockey in Brandon.

The Wheat Kings let a two goal lead slide late in the third period before allowing the game winner off the stick of Tanner Jeannot just 0:29 seconds into the OT period.

Brandon head coach David Anning told the Brandon Sun his team simply didn’t have an answer for Moose Jaw’s dominant third period, when the Warriors outshot the Wheat Kings 14-4.

“We had an excellent start to the game. We were trying to play the right way and I thought that we had complete buy-in and we were in a good spot after 40 minutes,” he said. “Unfortunately, Moose Jaw had a real good push in the third and we weren’t able to get any traction … We were on our heels throughout the third period.

“We have to find a way to dig in and grab momentum in those situations.”

Tonight’s game is virtually a sellout as of 5:00 pm. The Wheat Kings are expecting a “standing-room only” crowd as they raise three championship banners to the rafters and kick off an exciting 50th anniversary season.

CKLQ will go live with the pre-game show at 7:00 and then hand the microphone over the in house Public Address Announcer Mike Adamski to bring the listeners into the arena for the pre-game ceremony. Puck drop is slated for around 7:45.

Enjoy the game!

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WARRIORS WIN IN OT

September 23

Moose Jaw, SK – The Brandon Wheat Kings held a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes but couldn’t hang on and fell 3-2 in overtime on Friday night.

Tanner Jeannott scored the game winner just 0:29 seconds into the extra frame to give the Warriors the victory.

Nolan Patrick opened the scoring midway thru the first when he found a loose puck in front of Brody Willms and dumped it into the open net.

Ten minutes later on a similar goal mouth scramble it was Stelio Mattheos finding a loose puck to put the Wheat Kings up 2-0.

After a scoreless 2nd period, the Warriors came out flying in the 3rd.

Moose Jaw outshot Brandon 14-4 in the third period and got two goals in the final three minutes of play to send the game to the extra frame.

Jordan Papirny looked good tonight, stopping 27 of 30 shots he faced while Willms kicked aside 32 of 34 to pick up the victory.

The two clubs will meet again Saturday night in Brandon. (7:00 on 880 CKLQ)

CROWE’S NOTES

-The broadcast tonight had to be done via cell phone due to internet issues in Moose Jaw. My sincerest apologies to the fans and sponsors who had to listen to what I’ve been told sounded like a 1960’s old school broadcast! (Fitting with the anniversary season eh?)

-Blake Jameson and Dakota Odgers engaged in a 2nd period fight. Both players landed some solid punches and got the crowd into it.

-Nolan Patrick looked great tonight in his first game since off-season surgery. He was named the games 2nd star.

-Jordan Papirny and Tyler Plante remain tied for the franchise record for career shutouts (12)

-Attendance tonight was 3724

SCORING SUMMARY

1st Period

BWK – Nolan Patrick (Matteos) 8:57
BWK – Stelio Mattheos (Patrick, Wharrie) 18:22

Shots: 14-7 Brandon

2nd Period

NO SCORING

Shots: 16-8 Brandon

3rd Period

MJ – Ryan Bowen (Halbgewächs, Langen) 17:09
MJ – Jayden Halbgewächs (Sozanski, Brook) 19:56

Shots: 14-4 Moose Jaw

OT

MJ – Tanner Jeannott (Gregor, Sozanski) 0:29

Final Shots: 34-30 Brandon

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WHEAT KINGS OPEN 50th SEASON TONIGHT

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September 23

The Brandon Wheat Kings kick off their 50th Anniversary season tonight.

The club opens on the road in Moose Jaw before hosting the Warriors tomorrow night.

Head Coach David Anning says his guys are ready to go.

“We’ve had a good week of preparation here. I think guys have practiced hard but you can definitely tell they are itching to get going.”

“It’s exciting to start a new season so, exhibition is behind us, I think we’ve done a decent job of preparing ourselves and now it’s time to get to work.”

Puck drop from Moose Jaw is scheduled for 8:15. (Due to the pre-game introductions)

The CKLQ pre-game show will begin at 7:45.

PRE-GAME NOTES:

-The Wheat Kings released 98 FWD Jaeger White on Thursday. 14 forwards travelled with the club to Moose Jaw. Two forwards remain at NHL Camps. (Reid Duke – NY Rangers, Tanner Kaspick – St.Louis Blues)

-Moose Jaw net minder Zach Sawchenko remains in camp with the Nashville Predators, meaning Brody Wilms will get the start for the Warriors tonight. Wilms is fresh off LA Kings Rookie Camp.

-Below is a link to tonight’s game notes… I will post the lineups when they are available.

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WHEAT KINGS UNVEIL PLANS FOR HOME OPENER

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Brandon, MB. – Saturday night’s Home Opener at Westman Communications Group Place will be the place to be as the defending Western Hockey League Champion Brandon Wheat Kings play host to the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Not only will the Wheat Kings be unveiling three Championship banners before the game, the hockey club has invited a number of special guests to help them celebrate their 50th Anniversary season in the Western Hockey League.

The Wheat Kings, who joined the old Western Canada Hockey League in 1967, were established in the forties and because the team was a fixture in both the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey Leagues for two decades, the club plans to use Saturday’s opening game to recognize three former captains – Ted Taylor, Bob Ash and Bill Fairbairn.

Joining them for the opening face-off will be six members of Brandon’s first ever WCHL team – Ray Brownlee, Jack Borotsik, Roy McLachlan, Ted Temple, Bruce Bonk and Bob Clyne.

The WCHL was founded in 1966 as the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League (CMJHL), with seven western Canadian teams in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Brandon, Winnipeg and Flin Flon joined the following year. The league was renamed the WHL in 1978.

The Wheat Kings finished eighth in the WCHL that inaugural season with a record of 21-33-6.

The league was the brainchild of Bill Hunter, who intended to build a western league capable of competing with the top leagues in Ontario and Quebec. Originally considered an “outlaw league” by the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, the WHL was sanctioned as the top junior league in Western Canada in 1970.

Ceremonial Opening Face-off Participants;

Bill Fairbairn 1964-67

Fairbairn’s final year in Brandon saw the local product score sixty goals and 142 points. He went on to play eleven years in the National Hockey League, including nine with the New York Rangers. In 658 career games, he scored 162 goals and 423 points.

Ted Taylor 1959-61

An Oak Lake product, Taylor enjoyed a solid professional career, playing for Minnesota, Detroit and Vancouver in the NHL, before serving as captain of the World Hockey Association’s Houston Aeros. In Houston, he teamed up with Gordie, Mark and Marty Howe to lead the Aeros to back to back Avco Cup Championships.

Bob Ash 1961-64

Ash played three seasons in Brandon, before going on to play eleven years of professional hockey. He may be best known as being an original member of the 1972 Winnipeg Jets of the WHA.

Ted Temple 1967-69

A Brandon native, Temple tended goal during the Wheat Kings first two years in the WCHL, playing a total of 96 career games.

Jack Borotsik 1966-69

Borotsik, who now calls Onanole home, went on to play five years of professional hockey in both the International and Western Leagues after leaving Brandon. As a Wheat King, he scored 82 goals and 210 points.

Roy McLachlan 1967-69

Like Borotsik, McLachlan resides in Onanole. During his two years in Brandon, he scored 30 goals and 60 points, before going on to play for Cranbrook in the WIHL.

Bob Clyne 1967-68

A Boissevain product, Clyne split his first season in the WCHL between Brandon and Flin Flon. After graduating from the juniors he played two seasons of professional hockey.

Bruce Bonk 1967-68

Bonk played one season with the Wheat Kings, before attending Brandon University where he received his Education degree and played for the hockey Bobcats.

Ray Brownlee 1965-69

During his Wheat King career, Brownlee scored 98 goals and 191 points, including 51 goals and 55 assists in 88 WCHL games. Following a stop at Brandon University, he went on to play five seasons of professional hockey – in the IHL, AHL, CHL and old WHL.

The nine former players won’t be the only special guests in attendance Saturday night. Also on hand will be WHL Commissioner Ron Robison and the one and only Ed Chynoweth Trophy, which was won by the Wheat Kings in a 5-game series against the Seattle Thunderbirds last May.

Fans are encouraged to come early on Saturday. Not only will the doors open at 6:30pm, the hockey club in association with the Keystone Centre will be hosting a special pre-game Tailgate Party between 4:30 – 7pm outside the UCT Pavillion.

In addition to barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers, there will be inflatables on hand from Sportsman’s Park at Clear Lake, music to be supplied by 94.7 Star FM, face painting and Willie the Wheat Kings’ mascot.

As well, Special Hand Clappers will be distributed to fans in attendance, courtesy of Montana’s, The Brandon Sun, Precision Toyota and Sunrise Credit Union.

Tickets to Saturday’s Brandon Sun Home Opener are on sale now at the Keystone Centre box office. Fans can also order online at keystonecentre.com or by calling (204) 726-3555.

As of Thursday afternoon, well over 2,400 season tickets had been sold and over 3,500 tickets to the Home Opener had been purchased.

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WHEAT KINGS TRIM ROSTER

The Brandon Wheat Kings trimmed their Western Hockey League pre-season roster Sunday afternoon by reassigning two rookie prospects.

Wheat Kings General Manager Grant Armstrong has announced that 16-year old defenceman Ty Ettinger and 17-year old netminder Hunter Arps have been assigned to Sherwood Park AAA and Moose Jaw Midgets respectively. There is still a chance, however, that Arps could report to the Melfort Mustangs of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

He’s expected to make that decision shortly.

A 6’3” 160 pounder from Pleasantdale, Saskatchwan, Arps was Brandon’s fifth round pick (109th overall) in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft while Ettinger, a 6’ 167 lb blueliner from Androssan, Alberta was chosen in round five (96th overall) of the 2015 draft.

Ettinger was pointless in four pre-season games, registering a plus / minus rating +1. Arps meanwhile compiled a 4.37 goals against average and a .903 save percentage in two pre-season appearances.

In 22 games last season with the Moose Jaw AAA Generals, Arps recorded a brilliant 1.74 goals against average and five shutouts.

Ettinger scored five goals and 13 points in 31 games for the Northern Alberta Xtreme in 2015-16.

The Wheat Kings, who closed out their 5-game pre-season schedule by defeating the Pats 6-4 in Regina on Saturday night, will now begin to prepare for their 2016-17 regular season, set to begin with a home and home series with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Brandon’s Home Opener is Saturday, September 24th and tickets are on sale now at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com

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