Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Plenty of Familiarity for Hitmen, Wheat Kings

There’ll be plenty of familiarity when the Brandon Wheat Kings and Calgary Hitmen open the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Final on Friday night, and not just because it’s the fourth time in six years the club have met in the post-season.

The series will feature five players who were teammates with the Kamloops Blazers earlier this season before being trades, including Wheat Kings’ left-winger Shayne Wiebe.

The Hitmen feature four former Blazers in Tyler Shattock, Jimmy Bubnick, Zac Stebner and Giffin Nyren.

“It’s kind of exciting. I’ve known them for a few years now but there’s no friends on the ice. I’ll talk to them after the series of whatever but there’s no friends when you get on the ice,” says Wiebe, who was acquired December 13 for rookie Jordan DePape, “It’s quite the thing. I’m happy for everyone, for all the guys that moved on, that they’re having success. It’s going to be a good series and we’re hoping to come out on top.”

Wiebe had a highly successful series against the Saskatoon Blades in the Eastern Conference Semifinal, leading the Wheat Kings in scoring in the series with two goals and eight points in six games.

“Just the simple things, playing hard and making sure you’re doing the little things right and not trying to do too much, especially against a team like that that plays really hard, on the body and everything,” says Wiebe, “You just have to be sure to do the simple things and it’ll all come.”

Mark Schneider is also a former Blazer, being teammates with Shattock and Bubnick for the 1 ½ seasons he was in Kamloops and for just a few weeks with Nyren.

The familiarity doesn’t end with just the ex-Blazers connection.

Brandon Wheat Kings’ co-captain Brayden Schenn and Travis Hamonic were teammates with Calgary’s Brandon Kozun and Martin Jones on Team Canada at the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship.

Schenn also played minor hockey in Saskatoon with Jimmy Bubnick, including the 2006-2007 season with the AAA Midget Saskatoon Contacts.

And, of course, there’s the sibling rivalry as brothers Michael Stone of the Hitmen and Mark Stone of the Wheat Kings meet in the playoffs for the second straight year.

Chaff…D Ryley Miller practiced without restrictions on Wednesday and could be ready for Game #1. Miller has been sidelined since February 25 with a fractured jaw…D Darren Bestland missed practice again on Wednesday and is doubtful for the start of the series…the WHL will named the finalists for the WHL’s Player of the Year award on Thursday at press conferences in Calgary and Kennewick.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Del Cowan seems to be playing great, will be fun to watch him again. I also like that the series will be on Shaw.