Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Newcomers Practice with Wheat Kings for First Time

Mitch Wheaton
  The two newest members of the Wheat Kings practiced with the team for the first time on Tuesday.

  Mitch Wheaton and Schael Higson were acquired by Brandon Monday from the Saskatoon Blades along with a second round pick in the 2017 Bantam Draft, with Colton Waltz and Braylon Shmyr headed in the opposite direction.

  Wheaton is in his fourth season in the WHL, having spent three seasons in Kelowna before being dealt to the Blades last off-season.

  The 20-year old says that winning feeling is something he's already sensed in his short time with the Wheat Kings.

  "It's kind of got the same vibe.  I was in Kelowna for a couple of years before I went to Saskatoon, but as soon as I walked in the room, you could just feel it," said Wheaton, "There's that presence of the only thing that's acceptable is winning, and that's something that I really like."

  Wheaton missed most of last season because of shoulder surgery but has played every game so far this season, recording ten assists and ten points in 38 games with tbe Blades.

  "I think it's been pretty good.  Last year, I got four games in and I went down with another shoulder surgery so it was a tough battle again," said Wheaton, "I remember my first couple of games in pre-season this year, it was like learning how to play hockey all over again.  Every day, I just had to battle through and I'm happy with where I'm at right now."

  While Wheaton adds experience to the Wheat Kings' blueline, Higson is still a younger player still cutting his teeth in the WHL.

Schael Higson

  The 17-year old said he was approached last week about waiving his no-trade agreement with the Blades and was happy with the outcome of doing so.

  "I just want come here and work as hard as I can everyday and just earn my spot," said Higson, "Eventually, as I gain some experience, move up in the lineup but for now fulfil whichever role I'm given."

  Higson had three goals and five points in 33 games with the Blades this season, and feels he can add a lot of different things to the Wheat Kings' blueline.

  "I'm a physical guy, I can lay the body, obviously, I'm a pretty big guy," said Higson, "I can shoot the puck pretty well and I can skate pretty fast...those are probably my strong points."

  The addition of Wheaton and Higson gives the Wheat Kings eight defencemen on their roster, although Ivan Provorov remains away from the team after participating at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

  The duo are both expected to make their Brandon debuts Friday when the Wheat Kings host Prince Albert (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  Meanwhile, the newest members of the Blades practiced in Saskatoon on Tuesday.

  You can check out what Colton Waltz and Braylon Shmyr had to say here.

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