McCRIMMON EXCITED FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON

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Brandon, MB (CKLQ) – The dog days of summer are behind us and the Manitoba air is feeling a lot colder than it did two week’s ago and that can only mean one thing, hockey season is just around the corner.

The Brandon Wheat Kings will be the last team in the WHL to open training camp when the club’s rookies hit the ice at Westoba Place on Wednesday morning.

Fifty Wheat Kings prospects will strut their stuff for two days before Main Camp opens on Friday. With one veteran goalie and 16 skaters eligible to return, the excitement is building for the 2018/19 season.

“There’s a real feeling of optimism in terms of what we think our team is going to be capable of this season,” said Wheat Kings Owner and Governor Kelly McCrimmon. “We’re at a point in the year where everyone is real anxious to get camp started.”

The Wheat Kings bowed out to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in five games in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Semi-Final, a massive improvement from the first round sweep at the hands of the Medicine Hat Tigers the year prior.

A season that saw the high of a ten game winning streak, also saw an emotional departure of two longtime Wheat Kings, a move that should have a positive impact on the roster moving forward.

“Last year, we moved two of our top guys in Tanner and Kale,” added McCrimmon.  “I think the thought process behind that was to help put us in a good position for this year and the coming years.”

“We’ve got some real good pieces in place. We’ve got a good depth chart a good protected player list and an abundance of draft picks and those things are all really important in terms of trying to build a championship team.”

When looking around the East Division, one could argue that the Wheat Kings should be in a position of power, with the Swift Current Broncos, Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors looking to rebuild after long playoff runs. However, comparing each team’s roster is not something the Wheat Kings boss is doing anytime soon.

“I’m less concerned with the other teams in the Division and where they may or may not be. I’m more concerned with where we are ourselves.”

That being said, McCrimmon has certainly helped put his team in a position to take a big step forward. The Wheat Kings took a pair of Vegas Golden Knights draft picks in the CHL Import Draft earlier this spring. Goaltender Jiri Patera has signed and will be in the Wheat City when camp opens.

“Jiri’s got really good size. ” said McCrimmon. “He was excellent at our (Vegas) development camp in late June, He’s 19-years-old, and has played a year in the USHL. He knows the language and knows what the lifestyle is going to be like. I expect him to come in and be a real good player.”

Meanwhile, Swedish import Erik Brannstrom has his eyes set on playing professional hockey with Vegas or their American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.

“If Erik makes his way to Brandon he will be one of the top players in the league, there’s no doubt in my mind,” added McCrimmon. “His situation is a little less clear in terms of what his availability might be to play in Brandon. He’s going to come to Vegas to try and make that team and he will get every opportunity to do that. What matters to us most and what matters to the player most is we want to put him in a spot where is going to end up being the best NHL player he can be.”

The first group will hit the ice on Wednesday at 8:30 am. All sessions are open to the public.

 

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PATERA SIGNS IN BRANDON, BWK SET TO OPEN TRAINING CAMP

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 10.16.33 PM.png              Jiri Patera makes a save at Vegas Golden Knights development camp

Brandon, MB (CKLQ) – The Brandon Wheat Kings held a pre-season media reception on Thursday afternoon at Canad Inns. The unofficial kickoff to the season acts as a platform for the front office and hockey operations departments to bring the media and fans up to speed on the off-season and the preparations that go into a Western Hockey League season.

Along with the club announcing season ticket numbers and the 2018 training camp schedule, the Wheat Kings announced that 19-year-old import goaltender Jiri Patera has signed with the club and will be in town in time for training camp next week.

Patera, who was a 6th round NHL Draft pick of the Vegas Golden Knights spent last season with Cedar Rapids of the USHL, is the first European goaltender selected by Brandon in the CHL’s annual Import Draft.

“We expect Jiri to come in and push for that #1 spot, as we do Dylan Myskiw,” said Wheat Kings GM Grant Armstrong. “We’re lucky to have two goaltenders at this point that we feel can play big minutes for us in this league.”

Patera is one of three import players on the BWK roster. Martin Kaut (Colorado) and Erik Brannstrom (Vegas) will head to their respective NHL camps prior to making a decision on where they will play out the season.

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WHEAT KINGS HIRE NEW ATHLETIC THERAPIST

There will be one new face on the Brandon Wheat Kings bench this season. Roman Kaszczij takes over from Chris Trivieri as the club’s Athletic Therapist and Strength Coach.

“RJ” as he is better known, worked the last two years in the Ontario Hockey League with the Hamilton Bulldogs and has experience with the Toronto Blue Jays, Hockey Canada and the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“It’s been a seamless transition so far,” said Kaszczij  “Everyone in the organization here has been extremely welcoming and it’s been fantastic. Its a bit of a change of pace from what i’m used to but i’m really excited to get started.”

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WHEAT KINGS REMAIN ON Q COUNTRY

The Brandon Wheat Kings in partnership with Westman Radio Ltd have agreed to a new three-year broadcast agreement with Q Country 91.5 FM. The move was announced at a pre-season press conference earlier this afternoon.

“We have proudly been the Brandon Wheat Kings Play-by-Play voice for 26 years and we are pleased to be able to expand on this positive partnership to bring every home and away game to Wheat Kings fans on both Q Country 91.5 FM and also on 880 AM where it all started,” said Q Country 91.5 FM / 94.7 STAR FM General Manager Cam Clark.

CKLQ FM has been the play by play voice of the WHL club since 1992 and will feature the broadcast team of Branden Crowe and Peter Gerlinger with pre-game analysis from the Brandon Sun’s Perry Bergson.

Crowe enters his third season with the club and will be busy covering numerous events all season beginning with Training Camp next week right though to the NHL draft next June in Vancouver.

In addition to broadcasting all pre-season, regular season and playoff games Q Country 91.5 FM will host 30-minute pre-game shows and new specialty programming daily on both Q Country 91.5 FM and 94.7 STAR FM.

Under the terms of this contract Q Country 91.5 FM will remain the title sponsor of the annual Sportsman’s Dinner in February as well as the presenting sponsor of January’s Family Skate night at Westoba Place. There will also be a number of ticket and promotional opportunities including a new exciting season long contest – details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We value the relationship that we have with Q Country and STAR FM,” says Wheat Kings Director of Business Operations and Sponsorship Rick Dillabough. “We look forward to providing Western Manitoba hockey fans with the best in both Wheat King and WHL coverage for many years to come.”

OTHER NOTES FROM THE RECEPTION

-Season tickets have surpassed the 2000 mark for the upcoming season. 2,036 season tickets have been sold as of Thursday.

-Four Wheat Kings will attend NHL training camps in the coming weeks, Ty Lewis (Colorado), Cole Reinhardt (Colorado), Luka Burzan (Ottawa) & Stelio Mattheos (Carolina).

-19 players from last year’s team are expected to be in training camp at Westoba Place next week.

2018 Training Camp Schedule

Rookie Camp
Tuesday, August 28th

Rookie Camp Registration

Wednesday, August 29th
8:30am Team Black Practice
10:30am  Gold vs. White
5:00pm  Team Gold Practice
7:00pm  Black vs. White

Thursday, August 30th
8:30am  Team White Practice
10:30am  Black vs. Gold
6:00pm  Rookie Scrimmages

Main Camp
Friday, August 31st
8:30am  Team Black Practice
10:30am Gold vs. White
12:30pm Goalie Session
5:00pm  Team Gold Practice
7:00pm  Black vs. White

Saturday, September 1st
8:30am  Team White Practice
10:30am Black vs. Gold
6:00pm  Main Camp Scrimmage

Sunday, September 2nd
2:00pm  Canad Inns Intrasquad Game

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PLETHORA OF WHEAT KINGS NEWS THIS WEEK

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

HOCKEY CANADA CALLS ON SCHNEIDER

Forty-four of the top U18 players in Canada have been invited to Calgary to earn a chance to play for their country at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer and Edmonton this August.

Making the list was Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Braden Schneider. Schneider will join 14 other defensemen from the CHL and CJHL at the camp. The Prince Albert native had 22 points in 66 games in his rookie season with the Wheat Kings.

“Unlike our other summer camps, these players are part of a selection process from the moment they arrive, and the opportunity is to represent Canada on the world’s stage,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams for Hockey Canada. “We have a very talented group of players coming to Calgary in late July, and we will no doubt have some very difficult decisions to make when it’s time to select this year’s Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team. The players are excited to arrive and get started, and they are all coming in with the goal of making our decision a difficult one.”

Link to Story – Click Here

BUKAC RELEASED, WHEAT KINGS TO SELECT TWO IMPORTS

The Brandon Wheat Kings will make a pair of selections at the annual CHL Import Draft that begins Thursday morning.

The Wheat Kings hold the 37th overall pick in the draft and due to prospect Martin Kaut being drafted by the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, Brandon will be allowed an additional pick in 2nd round.

Kaut was Brandon’s first round selection last year but spent the season in his home country of Czech Republic.

The Wheat Kings have also released Daniel Bukac. The Boston Bruins draft pick played two seasons in Brandon and will be eligible to any other team in tomorrow’s draft.

The Saint John Sea Dogs have the 1st overall pick.

Link to Story – Click Here

WHL, WHEAT KINGS ANNOUNCE 2017/18 SCHEDULE

The WHL’s new 68-game schedule has been released and the Brandon Wheat Kings will open the season at home on September 21st vs the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Of Brandon’s thirty-four (34) regular season home games, twenty-six (26) will be played on weekends and holidays.

The Wheat Kings will play thirteen Friday night home games, nine on Saturdays, two more on Sundays, one on Monday, February 18th Louis Riel Family Day and another on Thursday, December 27th as Brandon kicks off its post Christmas schedule against the visiting Regina Pats

For a full schedule including important dates – Click Here

OTHER HOUSEKEEPING ITEMS

-Wheat Kings graduating defenseman James Shearer has committed to the University of Calgary Dinos. There he will join fellow alumni members Jordan Papirny and Tyler Coulter.

Wheat Kings / Alumni at NHL Development Camps

-Logan Thompson (97), Washington Capitals
-Ty Lewis (98), Colorado Avalanche
-Stelio Mattheos (99), Carolina Hurricanes
-Tanner Kaspick (97), St. Louis Blues
-Reid Duke (96), Vegas Golden Knights
-Luka Burzan (00), Ottawa Senators
-Martin Kaut (99), Colorado Avalanche
-Kale Clague (98), Los Angeles Kings
-Daniel Bukac (99), Boston Bruins

-Cole Reinhardt (00), Colorado Avalanche

-Evan Weinger (97), San Jose Sharks

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FUTURE STARS ON DISPLAY AT PROSPECTS CAMP

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

Brandon, MB (CKLQ) – The 2018 Brandon Wheat Kings Prospects Camp wrapped up on Sunday morning with Team Black skating to a 3-1 victory in a low scoring affair.

Thirty of the club’s top prospects took part in the three-day camp that included on-ice skills sessions, practices and Sunday’s intra-squad game. For the Wheat Kings hockey staff, it’s a great weekend to bring their prospects together.

“It’s been a really good week with lots of information for both the players and their families,” said Director of Scouting Darren Ritchie. “We did a lot of skills stuff with Skills Coaches Dave Lewis and Aaron Rome and our coaches ran a practice so they saw a little bit of everything.”

Brandon born Ty Thorpe scored for Team Black along with Dylan James and Mitchell Joss while 2017 First Overall Pick Ridly Greig scored for Team White in the losing cause.

The camp was made up of 2001-2003 born players, both drafted and free agents, and included a number of familiar faces. Brandon born Lynden McCallum joined Neithan Salame, Chad Nychuk, Ethan Kruger and Ridley Greig on the list of players who appeared in a Wheat King uniform during the 2017/18 regular season.

“You can tell that the 02’s that were here for the  first time last year feel more comfortable,” added Ritchie. “They are bigger and stronger and know what’s going on. It’s a good sign for the organization that our guys are getting better.”

The big news out of Prospects Camp was the signing of four top players to WHL Contracts. Vincent Iorio who was the teams 2017 2nd round selection put pen to paper along with Nolan Ritchie (’17 – 3rd Rd), Jake Chiasson (’18 – 1st Rd) and Brett Hyland (’18 – 2nd Rd).

With Prospects Camp now in the books the Wheat Kings will turn their attention to Fall Camp which is scheduled to begin in late August.

Meanwhile, off the ice… Wheat Kings’ Early Bird Season Ticket Deadline is fast approaching.

Fans have until Thursday, June 14th to purchase their 2018-19 season ticket at last year’s price. As well, for those that do renew by the deadline, they will receive a limited edition bobblehead, featuring the likeness for former Wheat King great Ron Hextall.

For more information or to order your 2018-19 season tickets, be sure to visit the Wheat Kings’ office at the Keystone Centre or call (204) 726-3555.

WEEKEND PLAYER SIGNINGS

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Vincent Iorio – Elite Prospects

“He’s real smart, a good puck moving defenseman, that will join the rush… He sees the ice well and has a real good stick for defending.” -Dir. of Scouting, Darren Ritchie.

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Nolan Ritchie – Elite Prospects

“Nolan is a smart player. He does the little things right and is a competitive player.” -Dir. of Scouting Darren Ritchie.

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Jake Chiasson – Elite Prospects

“Jake’s very competitive and a great leader. He is like a pro, he works hard and is going to be a very good player in this league.” -Dir. of Scouting Darren Ritchie.

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Brett Hyland – Elite Prospects

“He’s a competitive guy, a real hard worker that goes to the net and has real good leadership abilities.” – Dir. of Scouting Darren Ritchie

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WYTINCK PUTS GOLF ON HOLD, FOCUSING ON WHL DREAM

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Submitted Photo

Glenboro, MB (Westman Journal) – One of Manitoba’s most talented young golfers has decided to put the clubs in the shed for the summer, to allow his focus to remain on his WHL hockey career.

Glenboro’s Zach Wytinck, who was a member of Team Manitoba at the 2017 Canada Games just wrapped up his 2nd season with the Brandon Wheat Kings and posted a career year, scoring once and adding 19 assists for 23 points.

Heading into his 19-year-old season, Wytinck felt that he needs to spend the summer in the gym, not on the links.

“I’ve always loved both sports,” said Wytinck. “I think the competitiveness, pace and team aspect of hockey has always drawn me to it more than golf. When I got the opportunity to play for the Wheat Kings, I felt it was something i’d wanted and showed me that hockey was the right decision.”

For Wytinck, he doesn’t have to look far to see where either sport can take him. His brother Josh was the 2014 University Golf Champion with the Manitoba Bison and played pro golf for a number of years before turning to coaching. On the other side of the coin, Glenboro’s Cale Jefferies, a former Wheat King has been an inspiration for Wytinck on the hockey side. Jefferies recently wrapped up a five year university hockey career with the Guelph Gryphons.

After recently aging out of the “Junior” category in the golf world, Wytinck has turned his attention to his off season training in the gym and on the ice.

“I’m working with Paul Thompson at Outperforme Athletics right now and i’m focused on building strength and power,” said Wytinck. “I’m also working hard with (Wheat Kings Skills Coach) Dave Lewis on the ice and on the track to get faster.”

After playing 29 games in his rookie season and splitting the year with the Wheaties and the Southwest Cougars, Wytinck’s career year in 17/18 has him excited for the future.

“I am pretty happy with my development especially looking back to last year when I was sent down until now,” added Wytinck. “I am getting older now and I want to contribute more and be that much better this year. As a team we went through some ups and downs but I think the way we finished says a lot about the guys in the room.”

After regularly competing in the Manitoba Junior Championship, the Manitoba Men’s Amateur Championship and the Manitoba Junior Golf Tour in summers gone by, the Wheat King defenseman says he will keep the golf to a fun weekend event with friends and family.

“I’ve really put golf in the backseat you could say. I plan to play on the weekends and get as many rounds in as I can with my brother. He’s getting older now so I have to take advantage and maybe beat him for a change,” said Wytinck with a chuckle.

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HURRICANES ADVANCE WITH SHUTOUT WIN

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

Lethbridge, AB (CKLQ) – The Lethbridge Hurricanes punched their ticket to the WHL’s Eastern Conference Final with a 3-0 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night.

The Hurricanes had a flurry of chances in the first period and opened the scoring on a short-handed breakaway. New York Ranger prospect Brad Morrison snapped home his 11th of the post-season to send the sellout crowd at the Enmax Centre into a frenzy.

The goal from Morrison came just moments after Taylor Ross was awarded a penalty shot. Dylan Myskiw read it perfectly and turned it aside with the blocker.

In the 2nd the Hurricanes added to their lead on the powerplay as Logan Barlage found a loose puck and buried it past Dylan Myskiw.

The Wheat Kings tried desperately to get back into the hockey game but couldn’t beat Logan Flodell. The overage goalie made 32 saves for his first shutout of the 2018 WHL Playoffs.

Brad Morrison would seal the game with an empty netter late in the third period, sending the Hurricanes to the conference final vs the winner of the Swift Current / Moose Jaw Series.

Dylan Myskiw made 27 saves in the losing effort and finishes the post-season with a 5-4 record and a 3.51 goals against average.

A full season recap with quotes from Head Coach David Anning and GM Grant Armstrong will follow in the coming days.

CROWE’S NOTES

-The Wheat Kings scratched Logan Thompson (Lower Body), Ty Ettinger (Healthy), Jonny Hooker (Healthy) & Baron Thompson (Healthy).

-In a classy move, the Hurricanes named all three overage Wheat Kings as the game’s  Three Stars. Evan Weinger, Logan Thompson and James Shearer each were saluted by the crowd following the game.

-Attendance at the Enmax Centre was 5,249

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

LETH – Brad Morrison (11) (Bellerive, Prefontaine) 10:09 SHG

Shots: 11-11

2nd PERIOD

LETH – Logan Barlage (4) (Olsen, Elmer) 10:53 PPG

Shots: 12-10 Brandon

3rd PERIOD

LETH – Brad Morrison (12) (Unassisted) 19:54 EN

Final Shots: 32-30 Brandon

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HURRICANES OUTLAST WHEATIES IN GAME FOUR

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Photo by Brandi Pollock

Brandon, MB (CKLQ) – The Brandon Wheat Kings dug themselves an early hole and couldn’t climb out of it in game four on Wednesday night as they fell 7-4 to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes scored four goals before the media timeout of the first period. Brad Morrison, who continues to lead the ‘Canes in playoff scoring had two goals and an assist in the first period alone.

The Wheat Kings would come to life in the early stages of the 2nd period as they scored three unanswered goals. Marcus Sekundiak scored his fifth of the post-season followed up with goals from Luka Burzan and Stelio Mattheos.

With Brandon within one, the Hurricanes responded.

Zane Franklin scored his first of the post-season to restore the two goal lead. His late 2nd period goal would stand up as the eventual game-winner.

The Hurricanes would make it a 6-3 game when Jake Elmer scored just 97 seconds into third period.

Ty Lewis would give Brandon some life in the third but it was a close as the Wheat Kings would get.

Logan Barlage would seal the game with a late goal sending the Hurricanes back to Lethbridge with a 3-1 series lead.

Dylan Myskiw allowed all seven goals, stopping 20 of 27 while Logan Flodell bounced back for the ‘Canes making 27 saves for the win.

The Wheat Kings will now face elimination for the first time this season on Friday night. Puck drop at the Enmax Centre is set for 8:00 MB time. The Q Country pre-game show will hit the airwaves at 7:30.

CROWE’S NOTES

-The Wheat Kings scratched Logan Thompson (Lower Body), Ty Ettinger (Healthy), Jonny Hooker (Healthy) & Gunnar Wegleitner (Healthy).

-The QCountry / Star FM pre-game tail-gate party raised $14,000 for the Humboldt Broncos. Federated Co-op will match that number, bringing the total amount raised to $28,000.

-Ty Lewis was awarded the first penalty shot of the playoffs for the Wheat Kings in the 2nd period. Logan Flodell stopped the snapshot with his blocker.

-Attendance at Westoba Place was. 3,244

SCORING SUMMARY

1st PERIOD

LETH – Brad Morrison (9) (Joseph, Olsen)
LETH – Jake Elmer (3) (Morrison) 5:11
LETH – Dylan Cozens (4) (Bellerive, Ross) 8:34
LETH – Brad Morrison (10) (Elmer) 10:05

Shots: 10-8 Brandon

2nd PERIOD

BWK – Marcus Sekundiak (5) (McCartney, Higson) 3:28
BWK – Luka Burzan (5) (Schneider, Lewis) 6:14
BWK – Stelio Mattheos (6) (McCorrister, Wytinck) 12:18 (Delayed Penalty)
LETH – Zane Franklin (1) (Barlage) 15:25

Shots: 14-11 Brandon

3rd PERIOD

LETH – Jake Elmer (4) (Unassisted) 1:37
BWK – Ty Lewis (6) (Mattheos, Bukac) 4:34
LETH – Logan Barlage (3) (Zudilov, Addison) 17:02

Final Shots: 31-27 Brandon

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