Ryan Pilon informed the team earlier this week that he's stepping away from the game for personal reasons.
Pilon was expected to be one of the mainstays of the defence core this season after scoring 52 points and finishing among the league-leaders with a plus-36 rating last season.
The surprising part of Pilon's decision was that he was chosen by the New York Islanders in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft and was slated to attend his first NHL training camp later this month.
“Ryan came to me this week and told me that at this time he has lost his passion to play hockey and will be leaving the team,” said Brandon Coach and General Manager Kelly McCrimmon in a release, “We had a number of discussions, but his final decision was that this was what he felt he needed to do.”
Pilon's departure leaves the Wheat Kings with six returning defencemen including Ivan Provorov, who's not at training camp this week because of visa issues in his home country of Russia.
Provorov was the seventh overall pick in the NHL Draft in June and is expected to make a push to be a full-time member of the Flyers this fall after signing with Philadelphia in July.
20-year olds Colton Waltz and Macoy Erkamps and second-year men Kale Clague, Mark Taraschuk and Mark Matsuba round out the returning blueliners on the Wheat Kings' training camp roster.