If Mike Ferland has his way, he’ll be back in the black and gold of the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night.
The 20-year-old power forward from Brandon rejoined his old junior team for their first practice following the Christmas break on Wednesday at Westman Place.
Frustrated with the start of his professional career in the Calgary Flames’ system this season, Ferland said it’s his desire to return to Brandon and finish the season in the Western Hockey League, starting with Friday’s game against the Moose Jaw Warriors.
"I hope Calgary and my agent figure it out and hopefully I’m able to play here on the 28th against Moose Jaw," Ferland said.
Chosen by Calgary in the fifth round of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Ferland has played only seven games this season with the Flames’ top affiliate, the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Heat, failing to register a point and earning 10 penalty minutes. He’s also played in three games with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies, picking up one assist and five penalty minutes.
Ferland, who has 180 points in 185 games as a Wheat King — including 47 goals and 96 points last season — believes that getting into more games is the best thing for his development.
"I’ve only played (seven) games so far this season and it’s only going to get harder to crack Abbotsford’s lineup with the team they have," the 6-foot-2, 225-pound left-winger said. "So I’m just excited to start playing some hockey games here."
Should the reassignment go through, the move would leave the Wheat Kings with four 20-year-old players, one over the WHL limit, with Ferland joining forward Nick Buonassisi as well as defencemen Ryley Miller and Tyler Yaworski. The Wheat Kings would have two weeks to move one of the players, but could only dress three of the four in any given game.
Charged with assault after an alleged bar fight in Cochrane, Alta., in July, Ferland said he takes the role of being a leader seriously on a young Wheat Kings team that enters the second half of the season tied for 10th in the WHL’s Eastern Conference at 13-19-2-2.
"Obviously I want to be a leader on and off the ice," said Ferland, who has a trial date set for June 24. "There’s a lot of young guys in that room. I’m a 20-year-old guy this year; I’ve got to take care of them off the ice and on the ice and just be a better person."
ONE-TIMERS: LW Jack Palmer, who has yet to play in December due to an upper-body injury, practised with no restrictions, while the team has called up LW Quintin Lisoway of Neepawa from Steinbach of the MJHL … Still absent is C Tyrel Seaman, who has a suspected concussion.