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Shew's Views

About James Shewaga:

James Shewaga is the Brandon Sun’s sports editor.

  • Hawrysh staying on track despite skeleton setbacks

    She is ranked in the top 20 in the world and is the defending national champion, but Cassie Hawrysh will have to find a way to overcome a painful foot injury to get back on the Canadian skeleton team. The 30-year-old Brandon native begins the national championships and World Cup team trials on Saturday at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. It’s the first of two weekends of competition as she looks to get back on track to chasing her dream of making it to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
  • Brandon exquisite on offence but defence needs work

    It’s time for a quick track of trends a dozen games into the season for the Brandon Wheat Kings: Offence: No problems here. With 66 goals scored in 12 games, the Wheat Kings (9-2-1-0) lead the WHL, averaging an impressive 5.5 goals per game. And that’s despite missing one of their top scorers, centre John Quenneville, for the past six games due to an upper-body injury. His return at some point on this road trip will provide yet another boost for Brandon, which also has forwards Reid Duke (two goals, five points in his last two games) and new captain Peter Quenneville (three goals, 11 points in his last six games) going now after slow starts to the season.
  • Shew's Views: Canada calls on Krzyzaniak for Four Nations Cup

    From a future Olympian to future bestsellers, there’s a lot of ground to cover this week. Let’s start with the pride of Neepawa: At the age of 19, Halli Krzyzaniak is continuing her remarkable rise with the national women’s hockey team program, with the Neepawa native named to the 23-player roster for next month’s Four Nations Cup. The 5-foot-9 defenceman — the Brandon Sun’s H.L. (Krug) Crawford award winner as southwestern Manitoba’s athlete of the year in 2013 — will join many of the best women’s hockey players in the world at the tournament in Kamloops from Nov. 4-8.
  • McCrimmon makes first big bold move of the year

    Kelly McCrimmon has never been shy about pulling off blockbuster trades. However, it isn’t often that he pulls the trigger on a major move this early in the season.
  • Six storylines for premiere performance

    The stars of the WHL come out to shine tonight —well, most of them, anyways. With a Sept. 19 start to the season — the earliest opening night since Sept. 18 in the 2009-10 season — most WHL teams will be missing some top players away at NHL training camps. The Brandon Wheat Kings are no exception, with three of their top six forwards — Jayce Hawryluk (Florida), John Quenneville (New Jersey) and Richard Nejezchleb (N.Y. Rangers) — missing for opening night. Interestingly, Brandon was without six players to open that 2009-10 season — Matt Calvert (Columbus), Brayden Schenn (Los Angeles), Scott Glennie (Dallas), Colby Robak (Florida), Toni Rajala (Edmonton) and Alexander Urbom (New Jersey).
  • Pre-season prognosticators set the bar high for Brandon

    At the risk of drawing the ire of Brandon Wheat Kings diehards, it’s a little early to plan the championship parade, despite what the CHL’s pre-season rankings might suggest. Just to be clear, the Wheat Kings are certainly a team on the rise with a talented group of 18 veterans and some of the most highly regarded rookie talent in the WHL. But plenty of things have to fall in place yet for the Wheat Kings to live up to the lofty ranking of No.3 in the country — and No.1 in the WHL — as the CHL’s panel of NHL scouts pegged Brandon in the first rankings of the season.
  • Onyshko will take on the world

    Serving up some news, notes and quotes as the Brandon Wheat Kings prepare to hit the ice for their first pre-season test tonight at Westman Place: • Brandon gymnast Isabela Onyshko is preparing to step into the international spotlight again for the biggest competition of her young career. Fresh off a pair of top-10 performances last month at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, the 16-year-old star of the Brandon Eagles Gymnastics Centre has now been selected to represent Canada at the world championships from Oct. 3-13 in Nanning, China. “I’m really excited,” she said during a break in training on Thursday. “It’s sort of surreal right now, it doesn’t feel like (being selected) actually happened, but I’m very happy.” Onyshko will head overseas on Sept. 20.
  • Plenty of questions for a promising Wheat King season

    As the Brandon Wheat Kings begin main camp today, we take a look at 10 questions for a team clearly on the rise: 1. How many 16-year-olds will make the cut? Brandon is blessed with some of the top blue-chip prospects in the league, including a bevy of 2013 WHL bantam draft picks led by centre Nolan Patrick (fourth overall), defenceman Kale Clague (sixth overall), centre Tanner Kaspick (25th overall) and forward Ty Lewis (47th overall). All four have a good chance to crack the lineup, although with as many as 12 forwards back, the competition for rookie roster spots up front will be intense. However, one thing head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon has always been known for is finding a way to make room for a young kid when he shows he’s ready to make the jump.
  • Wheat Kings set for competitive camp

    From the Wheat Kings to the worlds, it’s all about Wheat City connections this week: • We are just days away from what promises to be an extremely competitive camp for the Brandon Wheat Kings. With potentially 18 players back, roster spots will be at a premium this year, but you can certainly pencil into the lineup 16-year-old blue-chip prospects Nolan Patrick, Kale Clague and Brandonite Tanner Kaspick — three of the top 25 picks in the 2013 WHL bantam draft.
  • Westman athletes in the international spotlight

    From the Glasgow Games to Peru, Paris and Poland, Westman is well-represented on the world stage again this summer. Seven athletes from Brandon and Western Manitoba will take part in major international competitions, with a handful of hockey players also poised to represent our country in international exhibition action next month as some of our best and brightest step into the sports spotlight once again. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
  • Bauman, Idonije playing the waiting game

    While Landon Rice has answered the call, fellow Brandonites Chris Bauman and Israel Idonije are still waiting for the phone to ring. The latest Brandonite to make his mark in professional football, the 6-foot-6, 315-pound Rice has moved into the starting lineup on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive line in his second season in the CFL.
  • Bring on the draft drama

    It won’t quite match the prime-time exposure of the 2009 NHL draft when Brandon Wheat Kings standouts Brayden Schenn and Scott Glennie were selected fifth and eighth overall, respectively, but this weekend’s NHL draft certainly has plenty to offer for local hockey fans. The Wheat Kings are expected to have at least three players picked in Philadelphia, with centre John Quenneville and right-winger Jayce Hawryluk of Roblin projected to go in the top three rounds, while big Czech winger Richard Nejezchleb is slated to be a mid-round pick. Latvian winger Rihards Bukarts and young netminder Jordan Papirny also appeared late on NHL Central Scouting’s final draft ranking list and are long-shot possibilities.
  • The end of an era

    For 40 years, he has been an icon on campus, a legendary coach with a remarkable record of achievement. But on August 31, after four decades at Brandon University, former Bobcats men’s basketball coach Jerry Hemmings will leave work for the last time. It’s the end of an era as Hemmings has officially tendered his resignation at the school that he led into the national sports spotlight with four Canadian university championship titles and a record 734 career coaching victories. Hemmings’ tenure as Bobcats basketball coach ended a decade ago, but he never left the game, filling the mentor role on campus as Coach Emeritus, doing colour commentary on Bobcat broadcasts, working as a physical education professor and helping out coaching in the high school ranks. But at the age of 66, after 40 years of service, Hemmings says it’s time.
  • Wheat Kings work to build season-ticket base

    Kelly McCrimmon is hoping his team’s rise in the standings will be reflected in season ticket sales this year. Five p.m. today is the early-bird deadline for fans to purchase season tickets at a reduced price and be eligible for a big Blue Jays prize package, and the head coach, general manager and owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings is looking for a boost at the box office.
  • Sanheim hopes to ace NHL draft showcase

    It’s all a little surreal for Travis Sanheim. The 18-year-old Elkhorn native began the season just hoping to crack the Calgary Hitmen lineup, but finished it as a rapidly rising candidate for this year’s NHL draft. On Thursday, Sanheim and Brandon Wheat Kings forwards Jayce Hawryluk of Roblin and John Quenneville of Edmonton cracked the elite list of candidates selected to take part in the NHL draft combine in Toronto later this month, a collection of the top 119 young players in the game, handpicked by Central Scouting and NHL teams.
  • McCrimmon's move made two years ago pays off big

    Kelly McCrimmon made history on Thursday, on a day that was two years in the making. For the first time in franchise history, the head coach/general manager/owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings stepped up to the podium to pick first overall in the WHL’s annual bantam draft, selecting star forward Stelio Mattheos of Winnipeg.
  • Papirny proves worth with playoff performance

    Three years ago, Jordan Papirny became the first goalie ever picked by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round of the Western Hockey League bantam draft. This season, Wheat King fans are certainly seeing why.
  • Canadian stint worth its weight in gold for Gylywoychuk

    Dwayne Gylywoychuk won gold in Hungary and now he’s hungry for more. The former head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings returned home to the Wheat City on Tuesday after helping Canada win the world under-18 women’s hockey championship while serving as an assistant coach. For the former longtime member of the Wheat Kings organization, it was the experience of a lifetime and one that whet his appetite to coach full time once again.
  • A time for perspective

    Even in the midst of the intensity of the WHL playoffs, there are moments when we are reminded that hockey is, after all, just a game. Wednesday night was one of those moments.
  • WHL bungled bantam draft lottery presentation

    The WHL, which prides itself on being the best junior hockey league in the world, has made great strides in the past 48 years. But there are still days that leave you shaking your head and wondering what the heck they were thinking.
  • Walker deal continues to pay dividends

    It appears Kelly McCrimmon has done it again. No, the head coach, GM and owner hasn’t turned the Brandon Wheat Kings into a WHL champion — at least not yet — and his club still hasn’t locked up a playoff spot, as we enter the final weekend of the regular season.
  • Brandon faces challenge for playoff spot

    Some views, news and notes this week, with the WHL playoffs just two weeks away: • The Brandon Wheat Kings are advertising free tickets to the first two home playoff games this year for anyone purchasing season tickets for the 2014-15 season — a great idea, provided they actually make the playoffs, that is. With just five games left in the regular season, that is far from certain. The seventh-place Wheat Kings (31-27-6-3) sit just two points up on the Red Deer Rebels, with the ninth-place Prince Albert Raiders only four points back with a game in hand and a huge home date with the Wheat Kings on Saturday night. This battle is far from over.
  • Blame Brandon's fall from first on gruelling schedule

    A couple of points to ponder as we bask in the glow of a great golden Games for Canada at the Sochi Winter Olympics: • The WHL schedule didn’t do the Brandon Wheat Kings any favours in February. The Wheat Kings played a gruelling stretch that included eight games in 12 days, and a total of 16 games over 30 days from Jan. 28 to Feb. 26. That grind clearly took a toll on the club, which lost its top three scorers and four of its top five forwards at one point and slipped into an eight-game losing skid that dropped the Wheat Kings from second to seventh in the Eastern Conference. While they are finally getting healthy again, with only eight games left, that punishing schedule and resulting injuries may have cost them a shot at the East Division title and the coveted second seed in the first round of the playoffs.
  • Slumping Brandon still within striking distance

    Some news and views while wearing out the remote control watching the Winter Olympic Games: •The Brandon Wheat Kings are providing a perfect personality test for their followers this month. An optimistic observation is that despite their recent struggles, the Wheat Kings (28-22-6-1) are still only one win away from retaking first place in the WHL’s East Division and securing that all-important second seed in the conference and home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. However, the pessimist points out that the Wheat Kings have slipped to seventh place overall in the conference and are floundering after having lost seven of their last nine games. In either case, a realist will note that with 15 games left and just one point separating Swift Current, Regina and Brandon, the battle for the division title and a prime playoff seed looks like it is going to go right down to the wire.
  • BU basketball anniversary reminder of long-lost glory

    It’s been 25 years since the Brandon Bobcats were the dominant team in Canadian university men’s basketball, winning three straight national titles. Oh how times have changed.
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