COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Young hopefuls listen to their coach during afternoon workouts at the Brandon Wheat Kings rookie camp.
Branden Storey has had some pretty good role models as he pursues his dream to play for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The 15-year-old defenceman hails from Grandview, the same hometown as current Wheat Kings captain Ryan Pulock and only 15 kilometres from Gilbert Plains where another Brandon blue-line standout, Colby Robak, was raised.
Given that history, Storey was thrilled when the Wheat Kings chose him in the 10th round of this year’s Western Hockey League bantam draft, giving him a chance to follow in the footsteps of two of his idols.
"I was so happy when I saw my name come up, just to be close to home and (knowing) that those other two guys went through here and were really successful," Storey said following the opening scrimmage at the Wheat Kings’ rookie camp Wednesday at Westman Place, with Robak serving as his team’s guest coach.
"They’re huge role models in our small town. Everyone looks up to them and … they’re good guys," he continued. "If I see them around the rink, I’ll talk to them for a bit and they’ll tell me if I’m doing good or not, give me some pointers."
Storey isn’t eligible to play regularly in the WHL until next season. As a lower-round draft choice, he’ll have to beat the odds to get here, but that’s not unheard of either for a Grandview player. Pulock was a seventh-round bantam pick in 2009 and turned into a first-round NHL draft choice this year.
After playing for Parkland’s part-time Bantam AAA team last season and helping Grand Plains win the provincial Bantam AA title, the 6-foot-0, 179-pound Storey plans to play for the Midget AAA Parkland Rangers this season while he works on his game. In the meantime, he’s trying to put his best foot forward with the Wheat Kings this week.
"I just want to make a good impression to the coaches and make sure I get noticed out there," he said. "Just do what I do and hopefully I get noticed next year."
SCRIMMAGE STARS: Brandonite Tyler Coulter scored three goals and set up another as Team Gold beat Team Black 10-6 in the camp’s first scrimmage. Braylon Shmyr and Linden McCorrister both scored twice for Gold, with Braden Billaney of Boissevain, Dakota Boutin and Kale Clague adding singles ... In last night’s scrimmage, Ryley Lindgren scored three goals and Dylan Thiessen added a pair as Team White skated to a 6-0 lead and then held on for a 6-5 victory over Team Gold. Coulter replied with a pair of goals in a losing cause.
ONE-TIMERS: Among those missing from camp are RW Wade Allison, who has been skating with a team in Omaha, Neb., and Selkirk Steelers LW Dallas Starodub. Other absentees from Brandon’s protected list are C Brendan Harms, LW Rhett Gardner, C Joey Anderson and D Ryan Lindgren, who have all committed to NCAA teams … Kelowna head coach Ryan Huska has signed a three-year extension that will keep him with the Rockets through 2016-17 … The Regina Pats have signed C Sam Steel, who was the second overall pick in this year’s bantam draft.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 29, 2013