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