Thursday, 18 February 2016

'Pink the Rink' Night is Here

  The Brandon Wheat Kings host the Edmonton Oil Kings Friday night for their annual 'Pink the Rink' night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  The Wheat Kings will be wearing pink-themed jerseys Friday, which will be auctioned off during the game in support of the Canadian Cancer Society.

  "It promotes a very good cause, and I think one of the things we've seen is how important it is for the people that have their names on the jerseys, and just the different memories that it brings back for those people," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Thursday, "Personally, that's what I find the most meaningful for the Wheat Kings. Obviously, it's a lot bigger than just that but I think that aspect of it has really been special."

  The jerseys are emblazoned with cancer victims' names, some of whom have close ties to the Wheat Kings' organization.

  Among the names appearing on the jersey this year are former Wheat Kings' coach Dunc McCallum, former athletic therapist Rob Stouffer, former player Darren Gusdal (a member of the '78-79 championship team), former education consultation Bob Hamilton and long-time off-ice official Rick Potter.

  "If you talk to anyone on our team, they can think of someone that has been impacted by cancer.  Personally, I lost both of my grandfathers to cancer," said Brandon captain Macoy Erkamps, "It's just a big night for this team, we want to get a 'W' on it and win it for our fans but also for the fighters and the people that have lost their lives."

  Brandon businessman Vince Crisanti, long-time Brandon University supporter Dick McDonald and Jean Marie Millard, mother of Sportsnet's Daren Millard, are among the other names on the jersey this year.

  As for the game itself, the Wheat Kings will be looking to shake the Oil Kings' jinx in the battle of the crowns.

  Brandon has lost all three head-to-head matchups with Edmonton this year, all by identical 4-3 scores.

  "They've had the best of it so far of the season.  We're coming into it like a playoff game because they can potentially be the first team that we play," said Erkamps, "We're going to come out hard and, hopefully, things go our way."

  The Wheat Kings could get another player back from their injury list for Friday's contest.

  Reid Duke practiced without restrictions on Thursday and could return to the lineup this weekend.

  He's missed the last two games because of an upper body injury.

Chaff...bids on the pink jerseys will be taken during Friday's game, with bidding to close at the start of the third period...raffle tickets and special Pink the Rink t-shirts will also be on sale during Friday's game...F Connor Gutenberg (lower body) and F Linden McCorrister (upper body) were the only two players not to participate in practice on Thursday...a shot from James Shearer that ricocheted off the crossbar shattered a pane of glass in the viewing lounge Thursday...the Kamloops Blazers announced on Thursday that they'll wear CCM Propac full-length pants during the team's home game on March 4th...the WHL unveiled it's next five players on the Top-50 of all-time Thursday. They were Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tom Lysiak, Brad Moran, Shane Doan and Brendan Gallagher.

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