Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Ryan Pulock hammers a slap shot during practice on Wednesday at Westman Place. Pulock is rated as an ‘A’ list prospect by Central Scouting. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Ryan Pulock projects a maturity that belies the fact that he won’t turn 18 for another couple of weeks.
That maturity on and off the ice led the Brandon Wheat Kings to name the third-year defenceman from Grandview as their captain for the upcoming Western Hockey League season.
"It’s an honour to me," Pulock said. "In the past years, there’s been quite a few very good captains and I have big shoes to fill, but I think I’m ready for it."
Overage defenceman Ryley Miller was named an alternate captain, along with forwards Jens Meilleur, 19, and Tyrel Seaman, 18.
Pulock was an Eastern Conference first-team all-star last season, finishing third among WHL defenders with 19 goals and 60 points in 71 games.
"He’s got a lot of good leadership skills," Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said. "I think a lot of those come naturally for him. I think he really dedicated himself over the summer to come in good shape — the best shape he could get in. He’s a premier player in our league and I think if you add all that together … he’s a guy that we feel is going to be able to lead the team on and off the ice."
Earning the ‘C’ at such a young age is a rare honour. The last player to captain the Wheat Kings in his 18-year-old season was Brayden Schenn, who split the responsibility with 20-year-old Calvert. To find the last full-time 18-year-old captain in team history, you would have to go back to Darren Van Oene in 1996-97.
For inspiration, Pulock said he will look to the captains he’s played with in his two seasons — Mark Stone and Shayne Wiebe.
"Those guys are well-respected guys," Pulock said. "They come to the rink ready to work every day and teach the young guys, and even the older guys, what they can teach them. They did a great job and hopefully I can follow that path."
ONE-TIMERS: A pair of former Wheat King captains, Calvert and Ryan Craig, will drop the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff prior to tonight’s Brandon Sun Home Opener versus the Regina Pats.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 21, 2012