Jacob De Serres is in junior hockey purgatory.
The 20-year old goaltender continues to practice with the Brandon Wheat Kings but has yet to dress for a regular season game with the club.
"I knew, no matter what, he (Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon) was going to see what the young guys had," said De Serres after practice on Tuesday, "It's not the easiest but I was expecting it. It's not in my control right now, I'm just trying to practice hard and whatever does end up happening, whether its here or somewhere else, I just want to make sure I hit the ground running."
De Serres saw action in 32 games with Brandon last season after being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds in October.
He also started 12 of the club's 15 playoff games and four of their five games at the Memorial Cup in May.
De Serres saw 30 minutes of action in the pre-season but his last significant action with the Wheat Kings came in the Memorial Cup Final on May 23rd.
To his credit, he has continued to practice as diligently as always over the past few weeks despite not getting an opportunity to play in a game.
"I always practice hard, but I have to specifically practice with attention to detail here just because I'm not playing games," said De Serres, "I try to treat practices like it's a game mode, and I'm working out extra. I'm running stairs, riding the bike and doing everything possible so I can hit the ground running."
Just as importantly, De Serres has not been a distraction to the team, and has tried to be a good influence on rookie goaltenders Liam Liston, Ty Rimmer and Corbin Boes.
"I love (Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon) and I think, no matter what, he's going to do the best he can for me, and I like all the guys here," adds De Serres, "There is no bitterness here. There's a bunch of good guys, and as of now, I'm a Brandon Wheat King. That's how I treat it and all these guys are my teammates."
De Serres' fate could be decided by October 14th, although the injury to David Toews (high ankle sprain) could put a hitch in the 20-year cutdown deadline.
The Wheat Kings could place Toews on the 45-day injury list, which would allow Brandon to retain four 20-year olds on their roster for a period that would end two weeks AFTER Toews returned.
The one thing Toews injury does for sure is open up a 20-year old spot in the Wheat Kings' lineup for their two games this weekend against Red Deer and Tri-City.
It'll be interesting to see whether De Serres gets a chance to fill that spot in either contest.
Chaff... Heritage Co-op and the Brandon Wheat Kings are encouraging fans to bring a non perishable food donation to Friday’s game against the Red Deer Rebels. All donations collected will go to local food banks, through the annual Farm Credit Canada Drive Away Hunger campaign.
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