Tuesday, 27 December 2011

New Faces as Wheat Kings Return to Practice

Curtis Honey practiced with the Wheat Kings for
the first time on Monday
There were a couple of new faces on the ice for the Brandon Wheat Kings in their first post-Christmas practice on Monday night.

16-year old Tim McGauley has re-joined the team for the next week while goaltender Curtis Honey went through his first full practice with the team.

McGauley played the first two games of the season with Brandon before being assigned to Notre Dame of the Saskatchewan AAA Midget Hockey League.

There, the 16-year old has 22 goals and 35 points in 25 games and sit eighth in league scoring.

"It'll be really nice to see how far I've come and see how I would play in the WHL," said McGauley on Monday, "I have my scoring confidence back, I have confidence with the puck now and I feel really comfortable now."

McGauley's tenure with the Wheat Kings is expected to be just for this week while Honey decided just before Christmas to join the Wheat Kings for the rest of the season.

That move from the Wheat Kings' standpoint was precipitated by the broken hand suffered by netminder Corbin Boes on December 8th.

"I went home on a Sunday and just kind of thought about it with my family," said the 5-foot-11, 170 pound Honey after Monday's practice, "From day one, since I was a kid, I've always wanted to play in the Western Hockey League. There's a great organization here and it was a no-brainer. You just have to go with your gut feeling and that seemed to be it, so."

Honey was listed by the Wheat Kings shortly after being named MVP of the 2010 Mac's Midget Tournament, a tournament that saw him and fellow Wheat King Dakota Conroy help lead the SSAC Athletics to the title.

After attending Brandon's training camp this fall, Honey joined the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he was 12-4-1 with a 2.41 goals against average and .919 save percentage in 17 appearances.

"I don't think it could have played out any more perfect in that sense," said Honey, "I got a chance to go to the AJHL and really take a smaller stride before jumping right into it. I got to play some games there, which was nice, and I learned a lot of stuff on and off the ice. I'm going to take the stuff I learned there here and just see what happens."

Game action for Honey could be limited the rest of the season, especially after Boes' expected return from his injury in 5-6 weeks.

However, the prospect of watching more than playing doesn't seem to both Honey a lot.

"All I can do is do what I can control If that just means going to practice and working as hard as I can every practice and maybe seeing some games, then that's it," said Honey, "I just have to worry about what I can control. You have to start somewhere and hopefully I can gain a lot of experience this year."

There was another piece of good news for Brandon on Monday.

Second-year centre Tyrel Seaman also practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion on November 25th.

Brandon opens the second half by hosting Regina on Wednesday night (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Plae).

Chaff...Wawanesa product Jordan Thomson is set to make his WHL debut on Tuesday night. The fourth overall pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft will suit up for the Kamloops Blazers in their game in Vancouver and will stay with the team until January 2nd...Swift Current forward Adam Lowry is scheduled to have wrist surgery on Tuesday and will be out of the Broncos' lineup indefinitely...Wheat Kings' captain Mark Stone had a hat-trick in Canada's 8-1 victory over Finland to open the World Junior Hockey Championship on Monday. Meanwhile, Alessio Bertaggia and his Swiss teammates were all held off the scoresheet in a 3-0 loss to Russia on Monday night.

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