Friday, 21 September 2012

Wheat Kings Set for Season Start

Dwayne Gylywoychuk will make his
Wheat Kings' head coaching debut Friday
  The Brandon Wheat Kings open their 2012-2013 Western Hockey League regular season Friday night as they host the Regina Pats (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  After nine years as an assistant coach, Friday's game marks the head coaching debut of Dwayne Gylywoychuk behind the Wheat Kings' bench.

  "I'm for sure going to have some butterflies when I walk out to the bench for the first time, but I think it's more the get going," said Gylywoychuk after practice Thursday, "You can say you've had this date circled on the calendar ever since (Wheat Kings' GM) Kelly McCrimmon told me I had the job but it's a little bit of anxiousness, get going and start playing for real."

  The Wheat Kings sported a 1-3-0-0 pre-season record and were outscored 18-10 in those four games but did dress lineups in those contests that featured 10 or more rookies each night.

  Gylywoychuk believes their overall team game is something they've started to develop over the week of practice, and is something that definitely needs to be better in the regular season.

  "I think we can play a better team game, a better 5-on-5 game and if you want to break that down more, you want to play better defensively than we did," said Gylywoychuk, "We need to get in a little bit more on the forecheck and play with a little more pace and tempo.  If we work hard, play good defence and play with pace and tempo, the natural skillset that we have on the team will take over."

  The Wheat Kings will likely dress at least six rookie forwards for Friday's contest including import Richard Nejezchleb, who tied for the team lead in goals during the pre-season.

  The Wheat Kings are nearly 100 per cent healthy heading into the season opener with rookie Jayce Hawryluk the only injured player.

  He missed the entire pre-season with a concussion but has skated in a no-contact jersey the past two days.

Chaff...Friday's game will be preceded by a Tailgate Party in the South parking lot at the Keystone Centre. It begins at 5:30 p.m....at 17 years, 11 months, 15 days, Ryan Pulock is the youngest player to don Brandon's captaincy since Terry Yake was named captain in 1986...former Wheat King captains Ryan Craig and Matt Calvert will perform Friday's ceremonial opening faceoff.

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