He’s been with the team for a week and a half, but Chad Robinson won’t truly feel like a Brandon Wheat King until he takes to the ice tonight at Westman Place.
The 19-year-old centre from Minnedosa was acquired from the Red Deer Rebels last week, joining the Wheat Kings for the end of their West Coast road trip. Tonight, he’ll make his home debut with his new club when Brandon hosts the Moose Jaw Warriors and he believes when that happens, the trade will really hit home.
"It hasn’t actually hit me yet until the first game (tonight) I think," he said following Thursday’s practice. "Being in the building here, I’ve played here my whole life (in) minor hockey and stuff, and to put the Wheat King jersey on, it will be pretty special."
Now in his third Western Hockey League season, Robinson has only played five games at Westman Place during his career, scoring two goals and setting up another. His appearances are typically marked by a large and vocal Minnedosa contingent and if they’re half as pumped as he is, they’ll add more than a few decibels to the din tonight.
"I couldn’t be more excited for a game," he said. "Actually, it’s probably the most exciting game I’ve ever been involved in and I’m looking forward to it."
Tonight’s game is the first home game in three weeks for the Wheat Kings, who went 2-3-1-1 out west to sit in a tie for second place in the East Division with the Warriors at 7-6-2-1.
Robinson was on board for the last four games of the trip, seeing prime ice time and picking up a goal and an assist. He has two goals and four points in 13 games overall this season, after totalling 36 points in 67 contests with Red Deer last year.
He said the time he spent on the road with the club was a good way to get better acquainted with his new teammates and, after falling out of favour with the Rebels, he’s thrilled with the role he’s had with the Wheat Kings.
"They’ve given me a huge opportunity here and I need to grasp that and take full advantage if it," said Robinson, who practised on a line with veterans Nick Buonassisi and Jens Meilleur on Thursday. "I think I contributed a bit on the road trip and I’ve just got to take that and move forward."
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon D Tyler Yaworski serves the final game of his suspension tonight … LW Richard Nejezchleb, who didn’t play at all on the road trip due to a shoulder injury, is still practising in a non-contact jersey. He’s officially listed as day-to-day as he has been since he was first injured … D Rene Hunter sat out Thursday’s practice due to a lower-body injury after skating on Wednesday, while RW Jason Swyripa (wrist, week-to-week) is also sidelined … Brandon has set its lineups for Sunday’s Skills Day at Westman Place, putting ace D Ryan Pulock on one squad, while their top scorer, LW Alessio Bertaggia, is on the other. Admission is $2 for the skills competition, which begins at 2 p.m. … After sending D David Musil to Edmonton on Wednesday, Vancouver made another trade on Thursday, shipping C Austin Vetterl, 18, to Kootenay for D Kyle Krabben and LW Douglas Morris, a pair of 17-year-olds who have been playing Junior A this season ... NHLers Aaron Rome of Nesbitt and Mason Raymond skated with the Wheat Kings yesterday.