Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Season Tickets, Imports, Training Camp Addressed

Kelly McCrimmon speaks during Tuesday's media reception
  The Brandon Wheat Kings covered several different topics during a 'media reception' on Tuesday afternoon.

  The club will open training camp on September 2nd, with camp to include 19 players that finished last season with the Wheat Kings.

  "It really feels like its time to get to the rink," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "I know our players are back in town and they're anxious to get skating and get on the ice for camp.  Guys have high expectations for the season, they're anxious to get started and I would say I feel the same way."

  Three of the Wheat Kings' four import players will be at training camp in newcomer Dario Winkler and returnees Ivan Provorov and Rihards Bukarts.

  Flames' prospect Oliver Kylington is not expected to attend camp and will report directly to Calgary.

  Of course, Brandon can only have two import players on their roster when all is said and done but there's a lot of uncertainly surrounding all of them except Winkler.

  Provorov was the seventh overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2015 NHL Draft and signed with the Flyers during the summer and could, at the very least, begin the season in the NHL.

  "We hope he's back, I think it would be the right place for him to be but they'll be other people that make that decision," said McCrimmon,"Partly Ivan based on his play and Philadelphia, as a signed player with their organization, are going to make that decision ultimately."

  Provorov would have to be in the NHL or with the Wheat Kings this season, but the situation with Kylington is much cloudier.

  The Swede could play with the Flames, with one of Calgary's minor league affiliates or with the Wheat Kings this coming year.

  Bukarts could potentially play minor pro as well but could also return to the Wheat Kings.

  However, as a 20-year old player and an import, he wouldn't be guaranteed a spot on the Wheat Kings.

  There's no doubt that Brandon's import situation will be well-watched over the next few weeks.

  "It really could be a lot of different combinations," said McCrimmon, "I'm not putting a lot of time into sorting that our because we don't have all the information at our fingertips that we're going to need to make those decisions."

  Bukarts is one of ten members of the Wheat Kings headed to an NHL camp next month.

  The Latvian joins teammates Colton Waltz and Jordan Papirny with Oilers' prospects while two other undrafted Wheat Kings are also headed to camps in Macoy Erkamps (St. Louis) and Tim McGauley (Washington).

  The five drafted players headed off are Provorov (Philadelphia), Ryan Pilon (NY Islanders), John Quenneville (New Jersey), Jayce Hawryluk (Florida) and Reid Duke (Minnesota).

  Off the ice, the Wheat Kings also announced Tuesday that they've surpassed the 2,000 mark in season tickets sold for this coming season.

  That puts the club ahead of last year's pace, when they ended up with about 2,400 season tickets sold.

  Brandon's season ticket base has steadily declined since peaking prior to the Memorial Cup host season in 2009-2010.

  "We're on the right path, we are moving up.  We're trying to get back to those levels and, certainlly 2,500 is a realistic goal at this point," said McCrimmon, "That's what you want to start to build with and then your walkup traffic is a big part of the crowd for any team.  Our experience in the past is the higher our base has been, it translates into bigger numbers overall.

  The Wheat Kings averaged 3,895 fans per game during the regular season last year and 4,778 during their ten home games in the playoffs.

Tentative Training Camp Schedule

Rookie Camp

Tuesday, September 1st

Wednesday, September 2nd
Team White practice, 8:30 a.m.
Team Gold practice, 10 a.m.
Team White vs. Team Gold, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 3rd
Team White vs. Team Gold, 10 a.m.
Team White vs Team Gold, 6 p.m.

Main Camp

Friday, September 4th
Team White practice, 8 a.m.
Goaltenders session, 9:30 a.m.
Team Gold Practice, 10:30 a.m.
Team White vs. Team Gold, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 5th
Team White vs. Team Gold, 9:30 a.m.
Intrasquad Scrimmage, 6 p.m.

Sunday, September 6th
Annual Intrasquad Game, 2 p.m.

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