Friday, 14 March 2014

Last Hurrah for 20-Year Olds

Chad Robinson
  Chad Robinson has played in over 250 regular season games during his four-year Western Hockey League career.

  This weekend, the Minnedosa product will play in his final two.

  Robinson is one of three 20-year olds who will graduate from the Wheat Kings once the season is over.

  "I think just being with the guys, getting to know a lot of different guys, meeting new people," said Robinson after practice Thursday, "All the experiences on the road and on the bus and in the hotels, it's been a pretty sweet ride."

  Robinson is only one of the three Brandon 20-year olds that didn't spend his entire WHL career with the Wheat Kings.

  Brandon acquired him in October of 2012 after he had spent his first two WHL seasons with the Red Deer Rebels.

  "It was awesome being close to home like this, growing up watching the Wheat Kings," said Robinson, "I've said it before, it's been awesome.  Kelly (McCrimmon) been great here, and so have Darren (Ritchie) and Dave (Anning) so it's been an awesome experience here in Brandon."

  Meanwhile, Jens Meilleur will get a chance to play in the final regular season games of his WHL career this weekend.

  That didn't seem to be possible earlier this week, as Meilleur had missed five straight games with a lower body injury and had yet to practice fully with the Wheat Kings.

  That changed on Thursday, and it appears the Elie, Manitoba product will be in the lineup this weekend.

  "It's huge going into this weekend.  We have a lot of big points on the line here.  At first, I thought I was going to be watching but I worked really hard the last two weeks to get myself in the lineup and I'm really excited to be part of something big."

  Meilleur spent his entire four-year WHL career with the Wheat Kings, beginning in the 2010-2011 season.

  "I think I grew as a player and especially a person," said Meilleur, "I'm really honoured to come out of such a great organization."

  Robinson indicated he's leaning toward using his WHL Scholarship and playing CIS hockey next spring; Meilleur is not only exploring the CIS option but also obtained his German passport last spring and could use it to play overseas and fellow 20-year Rene Hunter is expected to try playing professionally next season.

  Brandon is still vying for a playoff spot as they go into the final weekend of the WHL regular season.

  The Wheat Kings can clinch a spot outright by sweeping the Regina Pats in their home-and-home series that begins Friday night in Regina.

  Brandon is tied with Red Deer for seventh-place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of ninth-place Prince Albert.

  All three teams have two games left in the regular season.

Chaff...the Pats need one more point or a loss by the Swift Current Broncos in one of their remaining two games to clinch first-place in the East Division...the Lethbridge Hurricanes had to postpone Friday's home game against Medicine Hat due to a water-related state of emergency in that Alberta city.  It'll be played Sunday instead...Kootenay Ice forwad Tim Bozon remains in critical condition in a Saskatoon hospital, but a statement by the Saskatoon Health Region indicates he's stable and improving.  Bozon was admitted and placed in a medically induced coma on March 1st after being diagnosed with Neisseria Meningitis.  The WHL has established a trust fund to assist the Bozon family with medical and rehabilitation costs.  More details on the Tim Bozon Trust are to be released soon.

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