Whether it be for the Brandon Wheat Kings or another team, David Toews wants to play in the Western Hockey League next season.
A third-round National Hockey League draft pick of the New York Islanders, the Winnipegger has decided to leave the University of North Dakota after two seasons with the NCAA's Fighting Sioux.
"I know Brandon has my (WHL) rights. I haven't talked to the coaching staff there yet, so I'm not sure what their roster's looking like next year and if they have a spot for me or not," Toews, who will turn 20 next month, said via cell phone on Monday. "But I do want to come play in the WHL, whether Brandon is where I end up next year or not, if they have a spot for me or if they have to trade me."
Just how, or if, the5-foot-11, 185-pound centre might fit in with the Wheat Kings' plans next season is unclear. The team already has 10 players eligible to return and compete for three overage spots next season, although there's a good chance that at least four of them could graduate to the professional ranks next season.
Wheat Kings head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon declined to comment on Toews on Monday.
The younger brother of Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, David Toews said he was disappointed with his progress and playing time through two seasons at UND, where he had four goals and 15 points in 32 games as a sophomore this season, after recording five goals and 11 points in 23 games as a freshman.
"Halfway through the season, I was having a pretty good year and putting up a decent amount of points and I was progressing pretty well and then the second half I didn't get as much ice time and didn't have as good of a second half as I wanted to have," he said. "... I've learned a lot in the last two years, but when it comes down to it, I just need to be somewhere where I'm going to play more."
Toews admitted to being disappointed with his first season at UND but decided to give it another go, despite the possibility of coming to Brandon and playing for the Memorial Cup.
"It would have been nice to play for a Memorial Cup, but I had a commitment to my team here," he said "... I didn't want to leave my teammates hanging halfway through the season."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 11, 2010 B1