Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Nikkel Ready for Year Two

Ayrton Nikkel stretches after practice on Tuesday
Ayron Nikkel thinks he's a lot more prepared for year two as a Brandon Wheat Kings.

The 17-year old defenceman had a solid rookie season, notching three goals and ten points in 57 games even though he didn't see regular duty on the blueline until the second half of the season.

"Not being a rookie any more, you have a lot more confidence. You know the ins and outs of the league and you know the travel schedule and you know how to prepare yourself a lot better," said Nikkel after Tuesday's Wheat Kings' practice, "I've been having a lot more fun, being a vet now, and I'm looking forward to the season."

Nikkel also had a minus-13 rating in his 57 games a year ago -- a number he'll be looking to improve upon this year.

The 6-foot-1, 201 pound product of Kelowna, British Columbia admits he wants to take on more responsibility even though the Wheat Kings have six returnees on their blueline.

"We've got a lot of good vets still that are older than me still but I'm looking forward to playing a bigger role on the team," said Nikkel, "I'm just excited."

Brandon has eight defencemen on their pre-season roster including rookies Colton Waltz and Riley Van Horne.

The Wheat Kings will continue their pre-season schedule Friday when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Former Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Craig, who resides in
Brandon in the off-season, has helping out at practice Tuesday
Chaff...former Wheat Kings' goaltender Tyler Plante has been offered a tryout invitation with the St. John's IceCaps, the AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets...Brandon head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk away at the WHL coaches’ meeting in Calgary Tuesday so assistant coach Darren Ritchie ran practice, with the assistance of former Wheat King captain Ryan Craig helping out...prohibition still exists, at least inside the Interior Savings Centre in Kamloops. Kamloops City Council voted 5-3 Tuesday night against a proposal to sell beer in the standings during Kamloops Blazers' home games...former Wheat King Colby Robak has teamed up with SinBin Hockey Co to design a T-Shirt.

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