Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Wednesday Ramblings

- The Western Hockey League will dish out its 2010-2011 awards today in Calgary. No members of the Brandon Wheat Kings are finalists for any of the awards that are slated to be handed out. For the first time ever, the annual event will be available, free of charge, via LIVE webcast available at http://www.whl.ca/.

- The WHL Championship Series between the Kootenay Ice and Portland Winterhawks will feature four Manitobans. The Ice roster has three Winnipeggers in forward Cody Eakin, and defencemen James Martin and Luke Paulsen. The Winterhawks have Winnipeg forward Brendan Leipsic in the lineup. Game #1 goes Friday night in Portland.

- The WHL Bantam Draft is set for tomorrow in Calgary, an anxious time for all the '96-born players across Western Canada and the Northern United States. There's no doubt the draft is important for WHL teams, but I think it's also a good time to point out the success some players passed over the WHL Bantam Draft have eventually had. From Brandon's standpoint, Peter Schaefer, Andrew Clark, Matt Calvert and current Wheat Kings Michael Ferland, Paul Ciarelli and Rene Hunter are among those that were not chosen in the draft.

- The 2011 WHL Bantam Draft will see the Calgary Hitmen select first overall. It marks the first time since their inaugural Bantam Draft in 1995 that the Hitmen will have the first overall pick. Their choice that year was Goodlands, Manitoba product Chris Nielson.

- Wawanesa, Manitoba product Jordan Thomson is expected to be a first round pick in tomorrow's WHL Bantam Draft. I had a chance to talk to Jordan for a few minutes this morning, and will be posting a story later today.

- I'll be attempting to Tweet (www.twitter.com/wheatkingsvoice) Brandon's selections in the WHL Bantam Draft tomorrow along with posting them on this blog.

- The Gatineau Olympiques completed a stunning comeback in their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal series last night, advancing to the league final with a 5-2 win over the Quebec Remparts. Gatineau will now face former Wheat King Jacob DeSerres and the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL Final, which begins Thursday at Harbour Station in Saint John. For more on the Sea Dogs, as always, I'll refer you to http://stationnation.blogspot.com/

- Former Wheat Kings' assistant coach Mike Vandenberghe will be holding a Female Skills Camp in Brandon on July 18-22 at the Sportsplex. Talked to Mike earlier this week and he still had eight spots open in the camp, which is for girls aged 12-16. According to Mike, "Our skills camps are a great way to learn the proper techniques with low player to instructor ratios. Small groups allow for maximum reps during training and covering a variety of skills in a short period of time. Agility and puck skills, as well stick handling, shooting and passing, are the foundation of our skills training program. Open To forwards and defensemen." For more information on the camp, visit http://www.redgoatsports.com/. Email inquiries to redgoatsports@yahoo.ca or call 306-536-3234. Registration deadline is May 15th.

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