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Shew's Views

About James Shewaga:

James Shewaga is the Brandon Sun’s sports editor.

  • 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.
  • Winter Games, Wheat Kings and playoff pictures

    Here’s some news and views while gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday, not to mention two wild weeks of Olympic overload overseas with the Sochi Winter Games just one week away: • Westman will be front and centre on the first day of action at the Winter Olympics as Virden pairs figure skaters Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers represent Canada in the new team competition on Thursday (9:30 a.m., CBC), with the opening ceremonies officially getting things underway on Friday. Sportsnet will televise the pairs team competition free skate on Feb. 8, as well as the regular pairs short program on Feb. 11, with TSN slated to show the free skate on Feb. 12.
  • Coaching decisions doom Montgomery, Hawrysh

    Russell’s Jon Montgomery and Brandon’s Cassie Hawrysh may be two of the top athletes in the world in the sport of skeleton, but they won’t be competing for Canada in next month’s Sochi Winter Games. In the end, a combination of complicated qualifying criteria, questionable coaching decisions, equipment issues, illness and ill-timed subpar performances conspired to keep the two Westman Olympic hopefuls from going to Russia.
  • Olympic skeleton hopefuls on slippery slope

    If Cassie Hawrysh’s Olympic journey ends this weekend, it will be with the knowledge that she did all she could in her final chance to qualify. The 29-year-old Brandon native finalized her case for representing Canada in women’s skeleton at next month’s Sochi Winter Games by capping the Intercontinental Cup season with back-to-back gold medals last weekend in Park City, Utah.
  • Olympic spots on the line for Westman athletes

    From Olympic hopefuls to WHL wheeling and dealing, we’re all over the map today, starting with the Sochi Winter Games: • Tomorrow night, Virden pairs figure skaters Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers can become the next Westman Olympians. The Saskatchewan natives, who have lived and trained full time in Virden for the past three years under local coach Patty Hole, are in Ottawa competing in the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. The dynamite duo has finished third in each of the past three nationals and another top-three finish this weekend will qualify them for next month’s Winter Games in Russia, now just 28 days away. You can watch Lawrence and Swiegers skate their senior pairs short program tonight (6:30, TSN) and wrap up the competition with the Olympics on the line when they take to the ice for their free skate Saturday (5:55, TSN).
  • January is jumping on the local sports scene

    The new year kicks off with a jam-packed January for local athletes and teams, including four still chasing Olympic spots with the Sochi Winter Games now only 34 days away: • Brandon’s Cassie Hawrysh and Russell’s Jon Montgomery, who still have a chance to qualify for the final spots on Canada’s skeleton team, are back in action on Sunday in Whistler, B.C., on the Intercontinental Cup tour. With four races remaining before the Jan. 19 deadline to finalize the Olympic squad, both Hawrysh — now ranked 20th in the world — and 2010 gold medallist Montgomery — ranked 25th in the world — are looking to medal this weekend to keep their hopes alive.
  • Midget AAA Wheat Kings putting on a show

    Some news and views as we count down the days until the jolly old guy in the red suit with the reindeer arrives: • Off to an impressive league-leading 25-2 start, the Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings will be gunning for a 17th straight victory tonight when they face the Yellowhead Chiefs at the Sportsplex. The AAA Wheaties’ 16 straight victories has beaten the mark of 15 in a row that Brandon won under former coach Tom Skinner to start to the 1991-92 season in a year when they were an impressive 22-0-1 at one point and finished the season 31-3-2. With the WHL’s Wheat Kings idle, Friday is a good opportunity to check out this year’s Midget AAA squad, which features five of the league’s top six scorers in Duncan Campbell (25-33-58), Jordy Stallard (15-32-47), Tanner Kaspick (18-23-41), Josh Kobelka (11-23-34) and James Shearer (9-25-34).
  • Hawrysh, Montgomery need final push

    Cassie Hawrysh and Jon Montgomery have the chance to settle it on the track this week, but their Olympic fates will most likely be decided in the boardroom next week. Westman’s two Olympic skeleton hopefuls will race today and tomorrow on the Intercontinental Cup tour in Altenberg, Germany in their last chance to impress the brain trust of Bobsleigh-Skeleton Canada before the Olympic team is named on Wednesday.
  • Former Brandon athletes set sights on Sochi

    Some news, notes and quotes while pondering a pair of countdowns — 70 days until the Sochi Winter Olympics and 26 days until Christmas. • Speaking of the Olympics, as crazy as it sounds, a trio of former Brandon residents could potentially clinch spots in the Winter Olympics by the end of next week. Brandonite Cassie Hawrysh begins the World Cup skeleton season today in Calgary, with Race 2 next week in Park City, Utah. While she is already a leading candidate to crack the Canadian team, a pair of top-six finishes for Hawrysh would officially qualify her for her first Olympics. Meanwhile, in Winnipeg, curlers Mike McEwen and Nolan Thiessen — who grew up in Brandon — and Jill Officer — who lived here from 2001 to 2006 — will be chasing Olympic berths in the Roar of the Rings starting Sunday at the MTS Centre.
  • Rice soaks up Cup hubbub

    One year, one trip to the Grey Cup. Not a bad start to his CFL career for Brandon’s Landon Rice. Although the 6-foot-6, 315-pound Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive lineman is not expected to be in the lineup — barring injury — on Sunday in Regina, the graduate of the Crocus Plainsmen high school program will be on the sidelines as a non-roster player when the Tiger-Cats clash with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 101st Grey Cup game. While he would rather be on the field, of course, the 25-year-old Brandonite is certainly looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere as 45,000 rabid fans pack into Mosaic Stadium for the CFL’s championship game.
  • Westman fighters ready to get in the ring

    From Natasha Armstrong to Curtis (The Demon) DeMarce to Noel Harding, Westman’s top fighters are ready to swing into action once again. Armstrong, the talented 16-year-old boxer from Boissevain, heads to Quebec City next week to fight for a Canadian title in the national junior amateur championships. The Brandon Boxing Club standout sports an impressive 35-5 amateur record after beating Wisconsin state champion Olivia Hendrickson in a unanimous decision in a featherweight bout last month in New Town, N.D., and hopes to add a national female youth division title to her ring resume.
  • Westman's Olympic candidates head overseas

    Some random thoughts, news and notes as the countdown continues to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games — now 90 days away. • Five of Westman’s top Olympic hopefuls are currently in action overseas. While Canada’s 2014 Olympic skeleton team won’t be finalized until Dec. 17, some of the country’s top candidates, including Brandon’s Cassie Hawrysh and Russell’s Jon Montgomery, are in Russia for training runs on the track this week. Meanwhile, Brandon’s Amanda Thornborough is in Europe suiting up for Canada’s senior women’s rugby team on an exhibition tour of France and England as she continues to work towards securing a spot on the national team for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And Virden pairs skaters Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers are halfway around the world competing for Canada on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit at the NHK Trophy event, which begins today in Tokyo. The Virden skaters will have a chance to crack Canada’s 2014 Olympic team at the national championships in January.
  • Brighter days ahead for BU basketball programs

    With two nationally ranked teams, Brandon University Bobcats volleyball continues to eclipse basketball as the sport in the spotlight on campus these days. But the Bobcats basketball teams are determined to restore some of that lost lustre to their programs this season.
  • Pieces in place for stellar BU volleyball season

    This could be a pretty special year for volleyball fans here in the Wheat City. Two top five teams in the country take to the court tonight at Brandon University’s Healthy Living Centre as the Bobcats open the Canada West conference regular season with high hopes and high rankings to start the year.
  • Dwindling ticket sales concern for Wheat Kings

    It’s a disturbing trend, and the Western Hockey League head office has certainly taken notice. For the fourth straight season, the Brandon Wheat Kings are struggling through a significant drop in season-ticket sales, with average attendance per game also taking a huge hit.
  • Season over before it even began for Bauman

    Brandon’s Chris Bauman had never had a knee injury or a broken bone before in his CFL career. He never imagined he would suffer both in the same season. In a terrible twist of fate, the 29-year-old receiver suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice Tuesday while preparing to finally make his season debut with the Calgary Stampeders this weekend after missing the first four months with a broken wrist.
  • Hawrysh on track for Sochi

    It’s 125 days until the 2014 Winter Olympics begin in Sochi, Russia, but the first big step is just two weeks away for Brandon’s Cassie Hawrysh. The 29-year-old Neelin High School graduate returned to the skeleton track at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary this week for her first runs of the season as she prepares for the upcoming national team trials hoping to earn a trip to her first Winter Games.
  • Encouraging signs in Brandon's 2-0 start

    It would be foolish to read too much into the Brandon Wheat Kings’ 2-0 start to the season. After all, we’re only a year removed from a Brandon team that started the season a perfect 4-0 before beginning a long slide into last place in the WHL’s Eastern Conference, and 16 of those same players are back this year. With five games scheduled over the next nine days, starting with a road doubleheader this weekend against the early East Division favourite Prince Albert Raiders, we should have a better indication of what this team is all about.
  • Six season-opening storylines for the Wheat Kings

    Ah yes, opening night when everyone is a contender and dreams of WHL glory have yet to be tempered by roster reality. Keep in mind that a year ago, a young, rebuilding Brandon Wheat Kings team under former coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk generated a buzz by starting the season 4-0, before beginning the long slide into last place in the Eastern Conference.
  • Football stars show way for next generation

    Brandon has always had its share of hockey heroes, with homegrown NHLers Matt Calvert, Ryan White and Bryce Salvador and a plethora of former Wheat Kings the latest in a long line of players for local youngsters to idolize. But Brandon is also making a name for itself once again on the football field, with the likes of Israel Idonije, Chris Bauman and Landon Rice the latest pro players produced right here in the Wheat City.
  • Plenty of positions still up in the air

    Call it a plethora of possibilities or an embarrassment of riches, but the real battle begins now for the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Wheat Kings open WHL pre-season play tonight with a whopping 21 forwards still on the roster in what is shaping up to be September’s most intriguing storyline.
  • McCrimmon looks to right the ship

    Numbers never tell the whole story, but here’s a few interesting facts as the Brandon Wheat Kings open main training camp today under head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon: 1 — The number of seasons the last three head coaches have been here after being hired by McCrimmon (Mike Kelly in 2003-04, Cory Clouston in 2011-12, Dwayne Gylywoychuk in 2012-13).
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