Jayce Hawryluk will make his return to the Brandon Wheat Kings' lineup when they open the Western Hockey League playoffs on Saturday.
Hawryluk sat out Brandon's final four games of the regular season due to a league-imposed suspension that followed a charging major the Roblin took against the Edmonton Oil Kings on March 7th,
"I hate watching games, whether I'm injured or suspended," said Hawryluk after Tuesday's practice, "It sucks to watch games. I always want to be out there trying to help the team. Now I'm back, I've just got to watch it out there."
Hawryluk served three separate suspensions during the 2013-2014 games, sitting out a total of nine games for his transgressions.
The 18-year old knows he'll need to alter his game, but wants to retain his playing style as much as possible.
"I still want to work hard, my work ethic, I don't want to change that," said Hawryluk, who led Brandon in scoring with 64 points, "Just be a little more cautious when making hits or whatnot, but it'll be fine. I'm ready to play, be smart, be cautious, but play my game."
The Wheat Kings are continuing preparations for the start of their Eastern Conference Quarter-Final against the Regina Pats, with the Best-of-Seven series beginning with the opening two games in Regina this Saturday and Sunday.
Hawryluk is one of 15 Brandon players who could make their WHL playoff debuts this weekend, but he doesn't feel that'll be an issue.
"We've realized how far we've come this year as a team, and that we deserve this," said Hawryluk, "We're really excited for it, we've heard it's a great time from the vets, and we're excited for the challenge."
The first round matchup also features two teams that turned their fortunes around in 2013-2014.
Brandon finished 21 points better than they did in 2012-2013 while Regina finished 26 points ahead of where they were a year ago.
The Brandon Wheat Kings will be pulling for the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday.
The WHL will conduct its Bantam Draft lottery, with the Wheat Kings having the option to swap first round picks with Saskatoon this year as part of the trade that saw Brenden Walker sent to the Blades two years ago.
Saskatoon finished with the third-worst record in the WHL, giving them a 19 per cent chance of winning the lottery and having the first overall pick, which would then be transferred to Brandon.
The Wheat Kings have never had the #1 pick in the Bantam Draft.
If not #1, Brandon's pick will be either #3 or #4.
Chaff...former Wheat King Dakota Conroy had a goal and an assist to help Prince Albert beat Red Deer 5-3 Tuesday in the tiebreaker game for eighth-place in the Eastern Conference...former Wheat Kings' player and assistant coach Mike Vandenberghe won't be back with the Moose Jaw Warriors next season. He's leaving the team to focus on his business interests...the Pats are facing a fine from the WHL after the club broke league policy this week by closing their practices to the media.