It’s a return to a place they called home for several seasons for two members of the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night.
Macoy Erkamps and Reid Duke will face Lethbridge for the first time since being acquired by the Wheat Kings from the Hurricanes as part of a six-player trade on September 30th.
Brandon also got prospect Tak Anholt in the deal while sending a trio of 18-year olds to Lethbridge in F Ryley Lindgren, F Brett Kitt and D Kord Pankewicz.
“I’m pretty excited but pretty nervous at the same time,”said Erkamps on Thursday after the Wheat Kings arrived in Lethbridge after a lengthy bus trip from Vancouver, “I like the guys on that time and wish them all the best, but we’re playing against them so I’m hoping we’ll pull out a win.”
Erkamps and Duke aren’t the first former Hurricanes to return to Lethbridge as a member of the Wheat Kings in the last year.
Defenceman Ryan Pilon was booed as hard as any Wheat Kings’ player in recent memory in Brandon’s two visits to Lethbridge last season after leaving the ‘Canes and requesting a trade than eventually landed him in the a Wheat Kings’ uniform.
“He got it pretty hard, but I’m just going in there and I’m going to play my game,” said Erkamps, “If I get the some treatment, then oh well. I hope I don’t, but we’ll see at game time, I guess.”
Erkamps may have to take on a little extra responsibility this weekend as Pilon is expected to miss at least the next two games after suffering an upper body injury Wednesday in Vancouver.
Pilon had 18 points in 15 games and a +11 rating while playing on Brandon’s top defence pairing with import Ivan Provorov.
His absence will leave a void that Erkamps hopes to partially fill.
“With Pilon being hurt and everything, it might give me some more ice but I’m not expecting anything,” said Erkamps, who has seven points (all assists) and a +5 rating in 12 games with the Wheat Kings,“I’m still just easing my way in, playing with younger guys and I’m just trying to be a leader and a role model for them, help them improve and stuff but also helping my game improve.”
In recent games, Erkamps was paired with 16-year old Kale Clague while he took spins beside rookies Mark Taraschuk and Mark Matsuba in Wednesday’s 5-2 victory in Vancouver.
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