Thursday, 8 August 2013

Wheat Kings Ink Prospect Trio

Prospects Tanner Kaspick (left), Nolan Patrock (centre) and Kale Clague (right) have
signed their standard WHL Player Agreements with the Brandon Wheat Kings
  They might be 1,700 kilometres from Brandon this week but prospects Nolan Patrick, Kale Clague and Tanner Kaspick highlighted a media conference put on by the Wheat Kings on Thursday.

  As the trio attend the AllState All-Canadian Mentorship Camp in Mississauga, Ontario, the Wheat Kings announced that they've signed their top three picks in the 2013 Bantam Draft to Standard Player Agreements.

  Brandon chose Patrick fourth overall, Clague sixth overall and Kaspick 25th overall in the Draft on May 2nd.

  "We're not a team that aggressively signs our young players, and we're not a team that usually makes big announcements when we do that," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Thursday, "I really felt from that day that these guys are special players and we're proud to have them commit to the next step of their careers as being a Wheat King."

  Patrick scored 33 goals and 75 points in 19 games with the Winnipeg Hawks; Clague broke Dion Phaneuf's scoring record for defencemen in the AMBHL, notching 35 goals and 77 points in 33 games with Lloydminster while Kaspick played in his hometown of Brandon with the AAA Midget Wheat Kings, scoring eight goals and 38 points in 42 games.

  "In the case of Kaspick and Patrick, both players were drafted to the major junior franchise in their home province and in the case of Kale Clague, he was a guy that was going to play in the Western Hockey League," said McCrimmon, "He knows its the next step for his development in terms of the best place to play.  There wasn't really a whole bunch of back-and-forth or hesitation.  It was really in the best interest for all of us."

  Patrick, Clague and Kaspick aren't eligible to play in the Western Hockey League on a full-time basis until the 2013-2014 season but it wouldn't be surprising to see each of them get in a few games this year as affiliate players with the team.

  Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings also announced on Thursday that 'the paperwork appears to be in order' for Latvian Rihards Bukarts to join the team this season.

  Bukarts was the seventh overall pick in June's CHL Import Draft and should be at Brandon's training camp when it opens on August 27th.

  "He was a player that, right from the outset, it appeared pretty positive that he would be coming to play and that his release wouldn't be an issue, and we haven't had anything unfold since that time to suggest otherwise," said McCrimmon, "We're optimistic, we're hopeful and, yet, that was our expectation all along."

  The Wheat Kings also did some housekeeping at Thursday's media event, announcing the hiring of Josh Guenther as their new therapist / trainer and former Wheat King Scott Hlady as their equipment manager.

  The club also announced that a total of 1,855 season tickets have been purchased for the 2013-2014 season, about 100 fewer than at this same time last year.

  The one thing that wasn't addressed at the media conference was the team's vacant Director of Player Personnel position, but I did ask McCrimmon about it afterward.

  "I've talked to a number of good candidates and, to be honest, I thought I'd have that position filled by now," said McCrimmon, "Just with some of the different things that are going on, it's taking a little bit longer than what I would have anticipated but we'll be making a final decision here shortly."

  The Director of Player Personnel spot was left vacant when longtime head scout Al MacPherson retired last month.

Chaff...Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Pulock had an assist as Canada's National Junior Team picked up a 7-3 win over Sweden Thursday at the exhibition series taking place in Lake Placid, New York.  Pulock has two assists in two games at the event.  Canada's next action is Saturday against the United States...the Kamloops Blazers announced Thursday that Mark Ferner is the club's new Associate Coach...former Wheat Kings' captain Shayne Wiebe donated some brand new sets of hockey equipment to Westman KidSport this week.  More at that story here...don't forget, the Calder Cup, the American Hockey League's Championship trophy, will be at Source for Sports in Brandon Friday from 12 - 1:30 p.m..

No comments: