The 19-year old Calgary product was added to the Wheat Kings’ roster on Monday, helping to fill what is currently a depleted Brandon blueline that includes just five other defencemen.
Thom was originally a 9th round pick of the Wheat Kings in the 2011 Bantam Draft and played two games with Brandon early in 2013-2014 before spending the balance of the season with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs.
He was dealt to the Prince George Cougars in August of 2014 but, after starting the season with the Cougars, Thom left the team in early October and didn’t lace up the skates again in 2014-2015.
“I wasn’t having much fun and seemed like more of a chore for myself so I think, personally, I needed to not be it,” said Thom after Monday’s practice, “You know it’s hard when you wake up every day and something you used to love has turned into a chore. Now, I feel better than ever, I’m happy and smiling again.”
There is some irony in Thom’s addition to the roster in Brandon, as his arrival was only really necessary because of the sudden departure of Ryan Pilon earlier this month for what we can surmise are similar reasons to why Thom needed a break a year ago.
“I know exactly where he’s coming from. It took me quite a while to get over the slump of whether I wanted to get back into it and stuff like that,” said Thom, “When I was sure that I wanted to go back into it, I was trying to smile, trying not to be so hard on myself and, in turn, my play has been better.”
Thom had started the current season with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs, playing the first three regular season games this month where he was spotted by Wheat Kings’ Director of Scouting Wade Klippenstein.
Thom was approach by Klippenstein this past weekend about the possibility of re-joining the Wheat Kings and accepted the offer.
“It’s obviously pretty exciting. This is where it all started so it’s kind of ironic how I’m back here again but it feels right and I’m just happy to be back here,” said Thom, who admits the familiarity with the Wheat Kings’ organization helped in his decision, “If it had been another team, slim, but it’s hard to say. This team is that drop everything I want to go.”
Thom can make an immediate contribution to the Wheat Kings, as his one of six defencemen currently on the active roster with Monday’s reassignment of 15-year old Garrett Sambrook to the AAA Midget Southwest Cougars and Ivan Provorov away at the Philadelphia Flyers training camp.
“Dom has had a good start to the season in the AJHL,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, “He is a player we have history with and we are comfortable he is going to be a good addition to our blueline.”
The addition of Thom wasn’t the only roster move for the Wheat Kings on Monday.
The club also received forward Reid Duke, 19, was assigned back to the team from the NHL’s Minnesota Wild late Monday afternoon.
The Wheat Kings also assigned 15-year old forwards Caiden Daley and Rylan Bettens to the AAA Midget Winnipeg Wild, and released goaltender Josh Dechaine, 17.
Brandon’s roster sits at 25 players (16 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders), including the four players still away at NHL camps.
Chaff…Ivan Provorov made is unofficial Flyers’ debut Monday night in Philadelphia’s split squad pre-season game against the New York Islanders in Allentown…John Quenneville (New Jersey) and Jayce Hawryluk (Florida) both played in NHL pre-season games Sunday night. Both were pointless and had two shots on goal…the Moose Jaw Warriors released three players Monday including Russell product Rylee Zimmer, who’s expected to re-join the MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines.