Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hawryluk, Wheat Kings at Hockey Canada Camps

Jayce Hawryluk is one of several members of the Wheat Kings'
organization attending Hockey Canada Camps over the next few days.
  The Canadian National Junior Team’s Summer Development Camp gets underway this weekend in Calgary.

  It’s the second go-round at the camp for Brandon Wheat Kings’ forward Jayce Hawryluk as he tries to make a solid impression to begin his last season of eligibility to play at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

  “I’m definitely a lot more comfortable than I was last year.  I’ve been to this camp, I know what its about,” said Hawryluk earlier this week at the Wheat Kings’ Hockey School, “I kind of got my feet under me last year and I think that’ll just help me a lot going into this year and I think being older and more mature has helped me too.”

  The Roblin product is joined on the 40-player roster for the camp by Wheat Kings’ teammate John Quenneville and Elkhorn product Travis Sanheim of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen.

  Wheat Kings’ GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon will also have one of the sets of watchful eyes as an assistant coach to head man Dave Lowry for the Canadian Junior team this season.

  “Come this camp, it’s a whole other world.  The way I play in Brandon is not going to be the way I’d play for Canada at the World Juniors,” said Hawryluk, “I’d be a totally different player come that tournament for these guys.  Whatever they want me to do is what I’m going to do…the role I have to play is whatever they want me to do.”

  The camp is part of another busy summer for Hawryluk, who attended his second Development Camp with the NHL’s Florida Panthers earlier this month.

  Hawryluk was a second round pick of Florida in the 2014 NHL Draft, and after being a little awestruck in his first go-round with the Panthers last July, this month’s camp was a little more businesslike for him.

  “You just know what to expect.  You’re just so much more comfortable, you’ve met the whole staff, you’ve met everyone so it was just so much fun,” said Hawryluk, “I enjoyed my time while I was in Florida and had a great time.”

  Hawryluk has yet to sign with the Panthers could a big on his entry-level contract could come at some point in the next few weeks.

  The National Junior Team’s camp not only includes practices for Team Red and Team White, but the two squads will also be playing exhibition games against the Russian and Czech Republic junior teams next week.

  The Junior Team camp isn’t the only one being put on my Hockey Canada in Calgary this week as the Under-18 and Under-17 Camps are already underway.

  Nolan Patrick, Kale Clague and Tanner Kaspick of the Wheat Kings are participating in the Under-18 Camp as they try to secure a spot on the Canadian team for the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in August while Wheat Kings’ prospects Stelio Mattheos, Ian Mitchell and Jarrod Gourley are participating in the Under-17 camp that’ll help determine the three rosters for Canada’s teams for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge this fall.

NHLers Instructing at BWK Hockey School

The Wheat Kings' Hockey School is taking place this week at
Westman Communications Group Place
  Among the guest instructors at this week's Brandon Wheat Kings' Hockey School are Calgary Flames' forward Michael Ferland and Columbus Blue Jackets' forward Matt Calvert.

  Ferland has had an interesting few months.

  He became a cult hero in Central Alberta during the Flames' 2015 playoffs, particularly during their first round victory against Vancouver when he racked up a team-high 40 hits along with two goals and two assists.

  "I'm just trying to keep everything calm and not get too high and not get too low," said Ferland this week, "Just try to keep it as normal as I can.  The attention is nice, but it's not going to change who I am."

  Ferland also recently had a civil lawsuit dropped stemming from an incident outside an Alberta nightclub nearly three years ago.

  That means for the first time in his pro career, the 23-year old can simply concentrate on preparing for the upcoming season.

  "It's good.  It's nice to have it going with nothing hanging over my head," said Ferland, "Just having a good summer and looking forward to camp."

  The one thing Ferland will need to get out of the way first is a new contract.

  He became a restricted free agent on July 1st after his three-year, entry-level deal expired.

  Ferland did not file for arbitration, so there's no deadline for his next contract.

  A new contract isn't something Matt Calvert needs to worry about any more.

  He signed a new three-year, 6.6 million dollar deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this month.

  "It's definitely exciting and very comfortable too," said Calvert, "This is going to be my sixth year as a professional and I've been lucky enough to spend it with the same team.  It's going to be a big year, we made some  big moves this summer and the team is committed to winning so I know the boys are going to show up...we have a little bit to prove after last year."

  Among the new additions for the Blue Jackets is Stanley Cup winning forward Brandon Saad, who was acquried from the Chicago Blackhawks.

  Saad joins what Calvert considers to be a young but now experienced core of players with the Jackets.

  "Our team has kind of grown together.  We were one of the youngest teams two years ago and now we're kind of getting into mid-age, that core of the Blue Jackets," said Calvert, "We've been there (the playoffs) once and that was two years ago.  We were disappointed with our season last year and that's our main goal is to get to playoffs and after that, you never know what can happen."

  Calvert had 13 goals and 23 points in 56 games last season, and has 42 goals and 86 points in 209 career NHL games.

  The Wheat Kings' Hockey School continues at Westman Communications Group Place through Friday.

Kylington Moves Closer to Being a Wheat King

  Import Oliver Kylington is another step closer to putting on a Brandon Wheat Kings' uniform this fall.

  The defenceman has been given permission by his Swedish professional team (AIK) to play in North America this coming season.

  "We do not stop Oliver from the opportunity he has been given," said AIK general manager Anders Gozzi on the team's website.

  Kylington was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft in June, and by the Wheat Kings in the first round of the CHL Import Draft just four days later.

  "I want to thank the team and the club because they took me into the club that I love," said Kylington in the release, "I would like to extend a special thanks to all AIK fans who have supported me."

  Kylington signed an entry-level contract with Calgary shortly after the team's summer development camp earlier this month but had already agreed to a two-year pact with AIK this past spring.

  Because he was drafted out of Europe, the 18-year old Kylington is eligible to play with the Flames, their minor league affiliates on the Wheat Kings this coming season.

Chaff...the Swift Current Broncos have named former MJHL Coach of the Year Ryan Smith an their new associate coach...the Saskatoon Blades acquired defenceman Bryton Sayer, 19, from Victoria Wednesday for a fifth round pick in the 2017 Bantam Draft.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Lisoway's Rehab Progressing Well

Quintin Lisoway tends a little goal during a ball hockey
session at the Wheat Kings' Hockey School this week.
  Quintin Lisoway hopes to be ready to go by the time the Brandon Wheat Kings open training camp in early September.

  The Neepawa product suffered ACL and MCL damage in his left knee during a game against Lethbridge on March 4th and underwent season-ending knee surgery in late March.

  "Things have been coming along great so far," said Lisoway at this week's Wheat Kings' Hockey School, where he's serving as one of the instructors, "Stepped on the ice for the first time in about 4 1/2 months two weeks ago...that was a great feeling, being back out there."

  Lisoway had nine goals and 20 points in 64 games with Brandon last season while also serving as an alternate captain.

  "I feel it's close to 100 per cent.  It's never going to be 100 per cent of what it was, but it's going to be 100 per cent of what it's going to be now," added Lisoway, "That's the main goal is to just try to get it as close as I can to being 100 per cent."

  Overcoming the knee injury is just one of the challenges ahead for Lisoway this coming year.

  He's also one of five 20-year old players currently on the Wheat Kings' roster.

  "I have to kind of mount a comeback here.  Going into my 20-year old year, I'm fighting for a spot so I think that's the biggest part, just knowing that I'm going to have to battle," said Lisoway, "With me coming back from injury, it's going to be tough but I've been doing everything I can to help with my situation."

  Lisoway joins Tim McGauley, Rihards Bukarts, Colton Waltz and Macoy Erkamps as the current 1995-born players on the Wheat Kings' roster that could fill the three 20-year old spots for the 2015-2016 season.

  Waltz, by the way, is headed to an NHL camp in September.

  He's been invited to the Edmonton Oilers' rookie camp and to play in the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton in mid-September.

Chaff...former Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill has been named the new head coach of the OHL's Owen Sound Attack...Buffalo, Chicago, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa have been named finalists to host 2018 IIHF World Juniors.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Fehr Signs 3-Year Deal with Pens

  The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed former Brandon Wheat King Eric Fehr to a three-year, six million dollar contract.

  Fehr had 19 goals and 33 points in 75 games with Washington last season and has spent most of his ten-year NHL career with the Capitals.

  The 29-year old Fehr may not be ready for the start of the 2015-2016 season.

  He underwent elbow surgery on June 3rd and is expected to need 4-6 months of recovery and rehabilitation time.