Credit Quintin Lisoway with being persistent.
Reassigned early in the season after making the Brandon Wheat Kings out of training camp, Lisoway didn’t give up on his Western Hockey League dream easily.
Instead, the 17-year-old centre from Neepawa went to work with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Steinbach Pistons, earning three separate call-ups to Brandon before the Wheat Kings opted for a longer term relationship following last week’s trade deadline, bringing Lisoway in for the rest of the season.
"It’s really nice to know that I’m here the rest of the year," Lisoway said following Tuesday’s practice at the Sportsplex, which is serving as the Wheat Kings’ temporary home during Ag Days. "I really thank the management here for giving me a second chance and I’m hoping to prove myself here."
A ninth-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft, Lisoway was a training camp standout and found himself in Brandon’s opening night lineup, earning an assist in his WHL debut. But a glut of young talent at forward pushed Lisoway out of the picture and he was sent to Steinbach after playing in just three games with the Wheat Kings.
With the Pistons, Lisoway scored seven goals and added 14 assists in 27 games, and he notched his first WHL goal on Dec. 30 as an affiliate player while the Wheat Kings were thin up front. But it was a responsible two-way game that helped him earn additional looks from the Wheat Kings and eventually a regular spot after the club traded away veterans Alessio Bertaggia and Mike Ferland and moved rookie Kord Pankewicz back to the blue-line.
"I think in the few months that I was in Steinbach I matured a little bit more," said the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Lisoway, who didn’t turn 17 until November. "I really take pride in the defensive zone and I think that’s really helped me get up here the rest of the year, just because of my defensive awareness."
Lisoway had an assist in his first game back as a full-time Wheat King. With a goal and two assists in 12 WHL games this season, he said he’s willing to do whatever is necessary to show the Wheat Kings made the right choice by bringing him back.
"I just want to do whatever it takes to help the team win," he said, "just put my effort out there and that’s all I can really do."
ONE-TIMERS: After winning back-to-back games over the weekend, the Wheat Kings (16-25-2-2) are off until Friday when they host the East Division-leading Prince Albert Raiders (26-15-0-3) at 7:30 p.m., at Westman Place.