Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Wheat Kings Going Camping

  The Brandon Wheat Kings' 2015-2016 season opens Wednesday with the official start of the club's training camp at Westman Communications Group Place.

  About 40 prospects will be involved in the camp for the next couple of days, with the returning players already having reported and going through fitness testing for a couple of days before hitting the ice for the first time Friday.

  The Wheat Kings have smaller numbers at training camp than most Western Hockey League teams, which GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon believes gives them the ability to make more concise evaluations.

  "We do it this way because we think it works best for us," said McCrimmon on Tuesday, "We think it allows us to get the opportunity to watch the players that we want to watch and, hopefully, it improves our opportunity to evaluate."

  Three of the Wheat Kings' picks from the 2014 Bantam Draft won't be at training camp this week in second rounder Ian Mitchell, third rounder Jarrod Gourley and eighth rounder Leif Mattson.

  All are in camps with AJHL teams.

  2013 fourth round pick T.J. Brown is also not attending camp for the second consecutive year.

  Despite returning 19 players from last year's squad, there are some openings for prospects to compete for.

  "Players that are 16 and 17, they're trying to make an impression to earn a longer look after camp, play in the pre-season and, hopefully, make our team," saids McCrimmon, "I always say with the 17-year old players, they should definitely be coming here to make the team...that should be their objective."

  After posting the WHL's best regular season record and advancing to the WHL Final in 2014-2015, there are high expectations for the Wheat Kings for this coming season.

  Those expectations were addressed by the coaching staff at a meeting with returning players Monday, and McCrimmon feels it's something they can't ignore.

  "It's really important for us to have perspective and not think that we're better than we are.  It's a lot of hard work, it's a process.  Every team runs its own race, every team is a new team, every team has to establish its own identity," said McCrimmon, "While we're encouraged with the season we had a year ago, while we're excited about the players we have returning and the comfort level we have with our personnel, there's a lot of hard work that has to happen between now and any of those expectations becoming reality."

  About 20 players from Rookie Camp are expected to be held over the Main Camp, which begins on Friday.

Wheat Kings' Training Camp Schedule

Rookie Camp

Tuesday, September 1st
Registration, 7 p.m.

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.


Anonymous said...

What's the story with TJ Brown, is he not part of Brandon's plans?

Luber said...

I think it's the other way around. The Wheat Kings aren't part of TJ Brown's plans.