Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Ferland's Last Stand

It could be a final farewell for forward Michael Ferland on Tuesday night when the Brandon Wheat Kings host the Calgary Hitmen (7:05 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  Ferland is expected to return to the Brandon lineup after missing three games with an upper body injury and could, quite likely, be playing his final game in a Wheat Kings' uniform.

  The 20-year old is a prime candidate to be moved by the Wheat Kings prior to Thursday's Western Hockey League trade deadline.

  "Been thinking about it a lot lately," said Ferland after participating fully in Brandon's practice on Monday, "It's something that happens in this business.  Whatever happens, I'm looking forward to it."

  Ferland's name has been out on the WHL trade market virtually from the time in became apparent he was returning to the junior ranks from the AHL's Abbotsford Heat on Boxing Day.

  However, that doesn't mean the Brandon product is trying to force his way off a team that is 14-24-2-2 this season and eight points out of a playoff spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference.

  "I'm just kind of 50-50 with it.  I'd love to stay here and just be a part of the Brandon Wheat Kings.  I started my career here and I'd love to finish it off here," said Ferland, "But, there's another part of me that wants to do what's best for my career and I think going to a Memorial Cup team or a contending team would be the best thing for me right now after leaving pro."

  Ferland seems to be genuinely split on his future, considering he's a young man that grew up in Brandon and spent many days on the outdoor rinks in the Wheat City dreaming of playing for the Wheat Kings.

  "I'm not going to be upset either way," said Ferland, "If nothing happens and after trade deadline I'm still here, I'm not going to hang my head.  I'm just going to be a leader on and off the ice for the young guys here and help them as much as I can for the rest of the season."

  The Western Hockey League trade deadline is 4:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

  Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings will welcome leading scorer Alessio Bertaggia back to their lineup on Tuesday night.

  Bertaggia has missed the last ten games while playing for Switzerland at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

  Bertaggia had two goals and four points in six games at the World Juniors, helping the Swiss to a sixth-place finish.

Chaff...rookie F John Quenneville (groin) didn't practice Monday...F Jayce Hawryluk (ankle) was also given the day off Monday while D Ryley Miller was also absent from practice...Calgary acquired D Jesse Zgraggen, 19, from the Victoria Royals for a 2013 fourth-round bantam draft pick Monday....the Swift Current Broncos got F Jay Merkley, 17, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Josh Derko, 19, and a 2014 third-round pick.

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