A familiar face is back in the fold with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Brandonite Mark Johnston, who has been a player, a coach and a scout with the Wheat Kings, has returned to the Western Hockey League club as its head scout.
The news follows on the heels of Thursday’s announcement of the hiring of Wade Klippenstein as the Wheat Kings’ director of scouting.
Faced with the retirement of director of player personnel Al Macpherson over the summer, Wheat Kings head coach/ general manager Kelly McCrimmon said the new additions bring a tremendous amount of experience to a scouting staff that is respected around the league.
“Mark has a great eye,” McCrimmon said. “I think that’s his real strength as a scout is the evaluation and selection of players and at the end of the day that’s a pretty big piece of what you’re looking for in a scout. He’s experienced, Wade’s experienced. I think with (Manitoba scouts) Gary Michalick, Frank Harding, those guys are 20-year-plus scouts in our organization. I think (Alberta scout) Mike Fraser’s been eight years.
“Our staff has a lot of experience and I think that really puts us in a good position in terms of monitoring our prospects and preparing for the upcoming draft.”
A former Wheat Kings defenceman in the 1970s, Johnston served a dozen years with the Wheat Kings as a scout and assistant coach, leaving the team during the 2000-01 season. Since then he’s scouted for the Kelowna Rockets and was also the head coach/general manager of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Swan Valley Stampeders in 2001-02.