Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Wheat Kings' Roster Taking Shape

Reid Duke
  The Brandon Wheat Kings' lineup for Friday's home opener is slowly but surely taking shape.

  The club not only received defenceman Ivan Provorov back from the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, but the Washington Capitals also released sent centre Tim McGauley from his free agent tryout and he's expected to re-join the Wheat Kings on Thursday.

  The return of the duo leaves John Quenneville (New Jersey) and Jayce Hawryluk (Florida) as the only Brandon players still away with NHL teams.

  Earlier this week, Reid Duke was return to the Wheat Kings by the Minnesota Wild.

  He practiced with Brandon on Wednesday.

  I asked him what he most took away from his second go-round at an NHL training camp.

  "Just how hard you have to play.  The way they practice and the way they skate, it's why they're the best players in the world," said Duke Thursday, "They do everything at a high speed so if I can try and keep that pace and tempo, then I'll be fine."

A new season, and new gear for Wheat Kings' goaltender
Jordan Papirny
  Duke put up 20 goals and 51 points in 52 games with Brandon last season after being acquired in a late September traded with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

  While the bulk of his 2014-2015 campaign was spent with the Wheat Kings, he still feels it's important to be starting the year with the team he expects to finish the year with.

  "Last year was kind of a whirlwind with everything going on, even before the season," said Duke, "To come in here and just be comfortable with everybody and everything that they've got going on here, hopefully it'll help me out on the ice and translating into games."

  Duke played both wing and centre after joining the Wheat Kings last season but practiced in the middle during Wednesday's session at Westman Communications Group Place.

  Brandon opens their 2015-2016 campaign Friday by hosting the Swift Current Broncos.

  The pre-game festivities are scheduled to begin at 7:20 p.m.

Chaff...the Moose Jaw Warriors acquired a pair of 20-year old on Wednesday, picking up D Tanner Faith from the Kootenay Ice for a conditional fifth round pick in the 2016 Bantam Draft and grabbing forward Dryden Hunt from Medicine Hat for a second round pick in 2016 and a third round pick in 2018...the Wheat Kings announced Wednesday evening that former Wheat Kings Wade Redden and Geoff McIntosh will participate in the ceremonial opening faceoff before Friday's home opener.  Both players are recipients of WHL Alumni Achievement Awards, Redden in the Professional Hockey category and McIntosh in the Scholastic category.  Redden, of course, went on to play more than 1,000 games in the NHL while McIntosh is now Dr. Geoff McIntosh and runs a dental practice in Brandon.

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