Friday, 1 July 2016

Site Shutdown

Just wanted to let everyone know that, starting July 1, 2016, I will no longer to updating this blog.

While it's been fun, I have decided that there are several other forums which I contribute to that will allow Wheat Kings' fans to get the latest on the hockey club.

I encourage you to follow me on twitter (@wheatkingsvoice), like my Luber's Lounge Facebook page, check out the sports section at http://www.cklq.com/index.php?id=28 and look for my columns at http://bdnmb.ca/bruce-luebke/

Thanks for everyone that's stopped by over the last several years.

Bruce Luebke


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Schneider Signs SPA with Brandon

Brandon, MB. – Brandon Wheat Kings’ Director of Scouting Wade Klippenstein has announced that the Western Hockey League club has signed 14-year old defenceman Braden Schneider to a standard WHL Players Agreement.

A 6’1” 185 lb Prince Albert product, Schneider had seven goals and 20 points with the AAA Bantam Raiders during the 2015-16 season.

Schneider was Brandon’s first round pick and 11th player selected in last month’s WHL Bantam Draft in Calgary.

The talented blueliner is thrilled to be an official member of the Wheat Kings’ organization, with today’s signing.

“Great players seem to come out of there,” he recently told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun. “They have great coaching and a great organization.”

In order to acquire Schneider, the Wheat Kings swapped first round picks with Moose Jaw, before adding a third and sixth round selection.

“This was a player that everyone on our staff really liked,” says Klippenstein. “He was one of the top defencemen in this year’s draft and he’s a guy that other teams won’t enjoy playing against.”

He becomes the first Saskatchewan born player to be chosen by the Wheat Kings in the first round since Eric Roy was taken with the 18th overall selection in 2009.

The Wheat Kings open up their 2016 Training Camp on August 30th at Westman Communications Group Place.

 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Wheat Kings' Fillin' the Rafters Sept.24

  There’ll be a banner-raising ceremony in Brandon on September 24th.

  The Brandon Wheat Kings will play their home opener on the first Saturday on the 2016-2017 season, hosting the Moose Jaw Warriors.

  The festivities that night will include the hoisting of the WHL Championship banner.

  Brandon opens their 50th anniversary season in the Western Hockey League the night before, when they visit the Warriors to begin the season-opening home-and-home series.

 

  In other Wheat Kings’ news, Reid Duke did not sign with the Minnesota Wild by Wednesday’s deadline for NHL teams to ink 2014 draft picks.

  Duke was a sixth round pick of the Wild in the 2014 NHL Draft, and he’ll now re-enter this year’s NHL Draft.

 

  Speaking of this year’s NHL Draft, Kale Clague and Tanner Kaspick are currently in Buffalo participating in the NHL Scouting Combine.

  NHL teams have the opportunity to conduct one-one-one interviews with prospects in attendance.

  Medicial exams for the players take place Thursday, with the majority of fitness testing occurring on Saturday.

  Clague was 27th and Kaspick 79th among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Service’s final rankings.


 
  Tim McGauley has been added to the roster of the Hershey Bears for the AHL's Calder Cup Final.
 
  The Bears are the top farm team of the NHL's Washington Capitals, who signed McGauley as an undrafted free agent last October.
 
  McGauley and the Bears are facing former Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Craig and the Lake Erie Monsters in the AHL Final.
 
  Craig had an assist Wednesday as Lake Erie took Game One by a score of 4-1.
 
 
  In the ECHL, former Wheat King Eric Roy and the Allen Americans trail the Wheeling Nailers two games to one in the Kelley Cup Final.
 
  Game four goes Friday in Wheeling.
 
  Roy, by the way, has three goals and 16 points in 21 games so far in the ECHL post-season.


  In WHL news, the Vancouver Giants will introduce Jason McKee as the seventh head coach in franchise history on Thursday.

  McKee has spent the last six seasons as GM and Head Coach of the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints.

  And the Prince George Cougars will introduce their new head coach on Thursday.

  Reports are former NHL defenceman Richard Matvichuk will get the job.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Locker Clean Out Day for Wheat Kings

  The Brandon Wheat Kings got together as a team for the final time on Friday, with the club conducting individual player exit interviews over the next couple of days before they go their separate ways for the off-season.

  For some, Friday was the last time they’re part of a team that made history – capturing the club’s first Western Hockey League title since 1996.

  Captain Macoy Erkamps joined Brandon in a trade with Lethbridge in September of 2014, and says his two seasons with the Wheat Kings exceeded all his expectations.

  “I think it was a storybook ending for my WHL career.  I can’t thank the organization, staff, my teammates enough for the great year,” said Erkamps, “It’s been awesome and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

  Erkamps exits Brandon with a three-year entry-level contract in his back pocket after signing with the Ottawa Senators as a free agent in late March.

  John Quenneville is another Brandon player that will  be moving on to the pro ranks.

  New Jersey’s 2014 first round pick played four seasons with the Wheat Kings, starting as a 16-year old rookie in 2012.

  “I am so honoured and blessed to have the opportunity to play with the Wheat Kings,” said Quenneville, “These are memories tha are going to last a lifetime with me, these are friends that are going to be with me forever.  Those are things you can’t put a price on.  I’m just very lucky to have had that chance.”

  Quenneville is going to take a little vacation with his family next week before returning to Brandon to pack up the last four years of his life.

  Mitch Wheaton’s tenure with the Wheat Kings was much shorter, arriving in a trade with Saskatoon on January 4th.

  However, his contributions to Brandon’s success likely can’t be measured by his stats.

  The fun-loving Edmonton product became a key ‘glue’ guy during the second half of the season, and someone to mentor the club’s younger players including defence partner Kale Clague.

  “I got accepted as soon as I got here, and it’ll be close to my heart.  It’s a smaller town, and I wasn’t used to that,” said Wheaton, “I didn’t know what to expect...it’s unbelievable and I’m going to miss this place.”

  Drafted by Detroit in 2013 but unsigned, Wheaton says he’ll take a few weeks to unwind and relax before deciding what he might do next season.

  To a man, the Wheat Kings players talked about the tightness and chemistry of this year’s team, something that was a key component of this championship season.

  “We had a special group this year and we were all best friends in there,” said Erkamps, “It’ll be hard to not come back next year but I’m real proud of what we did and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my last year of junior.”

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Wheat Kings' Dream Season Ends

Tim McGauley scored Brandon's only goal in his final
game as a Wheat King on Wednesday
  The Brandon Wheat Kings saw their season come to an end Wednesday night with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Red Deer Rebels.

  Evan Polei scored 3:50 into overtime for the Rebels, who extracted some revenge on Brandon after the Wheat Kings eliminated Red Deer from the WHL playoffs in the Eastern Conference Final.

  Brandon finished 0-and-3 at the Memorial Cup tournament, but the club did win their first Western Hockey League title in 20 years just under two weeks ago.

  “We have so much to be proud of.  I’ve never been part of such a close team and such a great team, we’ve accomplished so much.  I don’t think we were ever clear-cut favourites to win the league but we did and pushed through adversity all season long,” said Brandon centre Tanner Kaspick on CKLQ’s post-game show, “This week didn’t go the way we wanted to, we came up short for whatever reason...we just didn’t bring out best game.  That’s unfortunate but, at the end of the day, we have a lot to be proud of.”

  Tim McGauley scored Brandon’s only goal in his last game in a Wheat Kings’ uniform, giving Brandon a 1-0 lead at 11:26 of the second period.

  Adam Musil got the game-tying goal with 5:05 left in regulation to set the stage for overtime.

  Both goaltenders were solid with Jordan Papirny making 32 saves in Brandon’s net and Rylan Toth making 35 saves for Red Deer.

  McGauley is one of at least seven players that played their final game with the Wheat Kings on Wednesday, and the four-year forward says he’ll remember his time in the organization fondly.

  “It was an unbelievable experience.  The fans in Brandon, I can’t say enough about them...they’re unbelievable and they gave me a hell of a four years here,” said McGauley on CKLQ’s post-game show, “It’s hard to put into words, pretty emotional, but I’ll never forget this...never in my life.”

  Mitch Wheaton and Macoy Erkamps are Brandon’s other graduating 20-year olds while John Quenneville, Jayce Hawryluk, Ivan Provorov and Reid Duke are all expected to play professionally next season.

  Hawryluk missed what would have been his final junior game, being scratched because of a suspected upper body injury.

Chaff...F Garrett Armour replaced Hawryluk in Brandon’s lineup while F Caiden Daley and F/D Mark Matsuba were the Wheat Kings’ other scratches...Red Deer and now face Rouyn-Noranda in Friday’s semifinal, with the winner to then play the London Knights in Sunday’s final...former Wheat Kings and two-time Memorial Cup participant Michael Ferland was among the spectators at the game on Wednesday...Brandon is now 7-14 all-time at the Memorial Cup tournament...the Wheat Kings are expected to arrive back in Brandon at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.