Chad Robinson can’t wait to don Brandon Wheat Kings colours for the first time tonight.
The 19-year-old centre from Minnedosa is expected to make his Wheat King debut in Victoria against the Royals (8:35 p.m., pre-game, CKLQ) after being acquired from the Red Deer Rebels on Monday in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2014 WHL bantam draft. With the Wheat Kings down to only four veteran forwards at the moment, Robinson will provide some much-needed experience to the lineup.
"I think I can bring some leadership and be a contributor to this team, so I am looking forward to that," said Robinson yesterday afternoon before heading to Winnipeg to catch a flight to Victoria. "I’m absolutely thrilled. I couldn’t be more excited to be a Brandon Wheat King and I’m looking forward to playing for the Wheat Kings moving forward here … Growing up watching the Wheat Kings as a younger guy, it will be pretty special."
The 5-foot-11, 181-pound Robinson had one goal and one assist in nine games this year and eight goals and 36 points in 67 games last season with the Rebels, who have made a number of roster changes as of late.
"It was sort of a mutual agreement, I guess you could say," said Robinson, a graduate of the Yellowhead Midget AAA Chiefs and a 2008 sixth-round bantam pick by Red Deer. "I just wasn’t in the team’s plans for this year and moving forward I thought it would be more beneficial to ask for a trade out of there and move on … And absolutely, (Brandon) was at the top of the list."
Robinson joins the Wheat Kings on Game 4 of their seven-game West Coast road trip, and Wheat Kings general manager Kelly McCrimmon said Robinson will get a chance to contribute immediately with the injury to Jason Swyripa and the loss of fellow veteran forward Daniel Asham, who quit the team last week.
"I think he will get a good opportunity with us, based on fit," McCrimmon said. "We have lost Swyripa long-term and Asham’s decision to quit hockey obviously played into this as well. So it’s a chance to add a 19-year-old player with experience playing centre ice who is from our area, I think all of those things made it a good decision to bring him in."
The trade was well-received in the Robinson household in Minnedosa, and as a Westman-area player, Robinson is already familiar with a number of players on the team.
"It’s not the reason we traded for him, but at the same time, I think he knows some of our guys and I think it will be a pretty smooth transition for him in joining our organization," McCrimmon said.
Meanwhile, new assistant coach David Anning joined the team in Victoria on Sunday, was on the ice for his first practice on Monday and will work his first WHL game tonight against the Royals as the Wheat Kings try to improve upon their 6-5-1-0 record and 1-2-0-0 mark on this road trip.
ICINGS: McCrimmon said Swyripa will have his injured left wrist/hand examined by a specialist today in Calgary. "We will know more then, but we have been told to expect it to be two months," McCrimmon said ... Czech RW Richard Nejezchleb (undisclosed upper-body injury) practised Monday, but is not expected to play tonight. "I am very skeptical that he will play this trip, that is my opinion watching practice here today, but I have been wrong before," McCrimmon said ... The Kelowna Rockets have picked up RW Cody Fowlie, 20, off waivers from the Everett Silvertips ... Kamloops Blazers C Colin Smith has been named WHL player of the week. He had three goals and 10 points and a +7 plus/minus rating in four games last week ... Former Wheat King Derek Laxdal, head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings, will serve as an assistant to head coach Don Nachbaur on the WHL team for the Subway Super Series on Nov. 14-15 in Vancouver and B.C.