After being the guests of honour for the Moose Jaw Warriors’ home opener Friday night, the Brandon Wheat Kings get to host the party tonight.
The Wheat Kings entertain the Warriors at Westman Place at 7:30 in their second game of the Western Hockey League’s regular season.
With 11 rookies on the roster, there will be plenty of new faces for the introductions tonight, but Wheat Kings head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon believes having gotten through Friday’s season opener in Saskatchewan, the players should be better prepared to put away the jitters and focus on tonight’s game.
“I think in some respects it helps that we’ve played a game before we get to opening night in our own building,” said McCrimmon, who returned to the bench for the first time in three seasons last night in Moose Jaw after replacing Dwayne Gylywoychuk as head coach over the summer.
“I think sometimes nerves can be part of that experience and having a game under our belt will possibly make us be more prepared for Game 2.”
Starting the season well at home hasn’t been much of a problem for the Wheat Kings in the past. The club has won its home opener in 12 of the past 13 years, with the lone defeat in that span being two years ago, when Brandon fell 4-3 to Moose Jaw.
LEADERS OF THE PACK: Although captain Ryan Pulock is still with the New York Islanders, who chose him 15th overall in this year’s National Hockey League entry draft, the Wheat Kings named their leadership group on Friday. Overage forwards Chad Robinson and Jens Meilleur were both named alternate captains, along with 19-year-old defenceman Eric Roy and 18-year-old blue-liner Colton Waltz.
When he eventually returns from New York, Pulock will be the first player to captain the Wheat Kings in back-to-back seasons since Tim Konsorada held the honour in 2003-04 and 2004-05.
ONE-TIMERS: As of Friday at 5:30 p.m., nearly 2,000 seats were available for tonight’s home opener … There will be a tailgate party in the Keystone Centre’s Convention Hall beginning at 4 p.m.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 21, 2013