Friday, 20 September 2013

Waltz Earning Respect, Icetime

Colton Waltz
  The Brandon Wheat Kings expect Colton Waltz to be a key part of their blueline this season.

  Waltz is entering his second full season with Brandon and, although not officially announced by the team, will be wearing an alternate captain's 'A' on his jersey during the regular season opener Friday night in Moose Jaw.

  "All the guys, we all get along in the room and everyone listens to each other so I don't think it's hard for anyone do that," said Waltz, "I like to lead by example.  I like to also be a bit vocal in the room and get the guys going when we do to but mostly it's leading by example and doing the right things."

  Waltz is quickly emerging as a potential shutdown defenceman, a role the 18-year old product of Vermillion, Alberta says he enjoys.

  "I want to be a physical d-man with lots of defensive responsibilities," said Waltz after practice on Thursday, "I also want to be a leader and show these young guys the ropes and get us back into the win column."

  The 6-foot-1, 187 pound Waltz will be leaned on heavily this weekend as the Wheat Kings open their season with a home-and-home series against Moose Jaw.

  Brandon is minus three returnees on the blueline, with Ryan Pulock still with the NHL's New York Islanders and Taylor Green and Nick Walters out indefinitely with injuries.

  He also has the extra motivation of being part of a Wheat Kings' team that experienced a down year in 2012-2013.

  "There's a huge opportunity ahead of us to show people what we can do," said Waltz, "Last year, we didn't have a strong season and we're looking to make up for that this year."

  Waltz is expected to be paired with 15-year old Kale Clague when Brandon opens the WHL regular season Friday night in Moose Jaw (7:40 p.m., 880 CKLQ).

Chaff...Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Pulock saw 18:23 of icetime in the New York Islanders 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils in NHL pre-season action Thursday night.  Pulock had one shot, a minor penalty and finished minus-one in his second game of the pre-season.  The Grandview product is expected to be returned to the Wheat Kings next week...former Wheat King Geordie Maguire scored both goals for Regina in the WHL's season opener on Thursday.  The Pats fell 7-2 to the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

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