BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings defenceman James Shearer was called up for a pair of MJHL games over the Christmas break.
James Shearer went from one first-place team to another during the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League’s Christmas break.
The top defenceman for the Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings was called up by the Manitoba Junior Hockey League-leading Steinbach Pistons, suiting up for them in a pair of games, one before Christmas and one after.
Shearer’s Wheat Kings carry an 18-game winning streak and a league-best 27-2-0 mark into their first game after the break, slated for Saturday at the Sportsplex against the second-place Winnipeg Wild. He said he saw some similarities in the dressing room between the Wheat Kings and the defending MJHL champion Pistons.
"Both teams we get to have a lot of fun, (stay) a little more loose, but at the same time when it’s time to get down to it, we get a little more serious and bear down and play our best," he said.
Shearer is playing pretty well for the Wheat Kings this season. An all-star as a 15-year-old rookie last winter, the hard-shooting Shearer is the top-scoring defenceman in the league this season, with nine goals and 36 points in 29 games. As good as he is, Shearer said he came back to the Wheat Kings with the intention of continuing his development this season, and believes his stint with Steinbach will help him in that regard.
"(Playing with Steinbach is) just a great learning experience for myself, to see what the next level is, the next step up, and see what I’m going to be facing in the future," said the 5-foot-9, 178-pounder. "Just little things you can do to help yourself stay in better position and be able to keep up with everybody because the speed’s getting a lot faster in the game. And of course I can bring it back to Brandon … and try and help our team as well."
Chosen by the Calgary Hitmen in the ninth round of the 2012 WHL bantam draft, Shearer is now a free agent in the WHL. Clearly the Pistons would like Shearer’s junior career to take place in Steinbach, having played him in five games already this season, and that’s something he’s interested in as well, although for now he’s keeping his options open while he chases a Midget AAA title with the Wheat Kings.
"Right now I’m kind of more worried about this year and keeping every door open as long as I can and see what happens," he said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 31, 2013