Thursday, 10 September 2015

Pre-Season Set to Start for Wheat Kings

Connor Gutenberg
  It's another step for Wheat Kings' rookies on Friday night as Brandon opens their pre-season schedule by hosting the Regina Pats (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  Brandon's lineup is expected to be a pretty even split between first-year and returning players, with several set to make their unofficial Western Hockey League debuts.

  "We've had a week of practice, we've now got two games which are really important.  They're tremendously valuable for our staff in terms of evaluating," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Thursday, "So much of it is about which players can continue to adapt and elevate their level of play as the level of play in the games increases."

  Among the rookies expected to play on Friday is Brandon product Connor Gutenberg, a fifth round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.

  Gutenberg says he has mixed emotions about putting on the Wheat Kings' uniform for the first time in his hometown, saying it's both comforting and a little nerve-wracking.

  "A little bit of both.  You go to games as a kid all the time so it helps a little bit because you know the rink and you know you're going to have some friends and family out there," said Gutenberg, "That just pushes you to go even hard."

 "You've been working to this moment for a while now," added Gutenberg, who had 47 points in 42 games with the AAA Midget Wheat Kings last season, "Getting drafted last year, that's what you work to now is the next step and that's getting into those exhibition games and then eventually playing in regular season so this is the first step to that."

  The Wheat Kings are a little short on the blueline for their first weekend of the pre-season so expect veteran forward Quintin Lisoway to play as a defenceman in Friday's contest.

  He practiced in the position on Thursday.

Chaff...F Tyler Coulter, who missed the last couple of days of training camp with a minor ailment, was practicing on Thursday...Brandon season ticket holders can pick up their tickets packages Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the south parking lot at the Keystone Centre...the Wheat Kings' pre-season games will be broadcast on 880 CKLQ and online at www.cklq.com.

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