Brandon centre Duncan Campbell leads the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League in scoring and is Brandon’s captain. (FILE PHOTO)
The Brandon Wheat Kings will bring in a significant chunk of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League’s top talent when they’re short-handed following the Christmas break.
The Western Hockey League club will be joined by Duncan Campbell and Tanner Kaspick of the Midget AAA Wheat Kings as well as top draft pick Nolan Patrick of the Winnipeg Thrashers in time for Brandon’s next game, Dec. 27 against the Regina Pats.
Following that home game against the Pats, the Wheat Kings will head out on a four-game road trip and they expect to be short three forwards, with leading goal-scorer Richard Nejezchleb currently preparing for the world junior championship with Czech junior national team, while rookies Jesse Gabrielle and Braylon Shmyr will play in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Nova Scotia.
All three of the call-ups got a long look from the Wheat Kings in the fall, playing WHL pre-season games, and Brandon head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon said the stint should be beneficial for both the team and the players.
"All three players were around our team long enough in September that they’ll have a good understanding of how we want to play and what we want them to do," he said. "… They’ve all had real good first halves to their season, so it’s good recognition of that and it will be good experience for them to be with our team for five games."
Patrick (first round, fourth overall) and Kaspick (second round, 25th overall) are 15-year-olds who were the first two forwards chosen by Brandon in this year’s WHL bantam draft. Campbell, 17, was listed by the Wheat Kings in the fall and is the leading scorer in the Midget AAA league, entering Wednesday’s game against the Parkland Rangers, with 24 goals and 31 assists in only 26 games. Kaspick had 16 goals and 22 assists in 23 contests to sit third in league scoring, while Patrick was tied for sixth, with 14 goals and 17 helpers in 22 games.
Nejezchleb could miss Brandon’s first seven games after the break, while Gabrielle, who is playing for Team West at the Challenge, and Shmyr, who will suit up for Team Pacific, will miss six games. While they’re gone, the Wheat Kings will be down to 11 forwards, meaning the team will have to dress at least one of the call-ups if they plan to play with four full forward lines.
ONE-TIMERS: The Wheat Kings entered the break with an 18-14-3-0 record … Patrick and Kaspick will be the second and third 15-year-olds to log time with Brandon this season as D Kale Clague, chosen sixth overall in this year’s bantam draft, started the regular season with the Wheat Kings, playing two games … Shmyr will have a rare 15-year-old teammate on Team Pacific at the Challenge as LW Tyler Benson, chosen first overall by the Vancouver Giants in this year’s bantam draft, will join the team as an injury replacement.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 19, 2013