Brandonite Tyler Coulter is hoping for a roster spot. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Tyler Coulter hopes having an extra step on the ice will allow him to make the next step in his hockey career.
Coulter and his fellow Brandonite and best buddy Brett Kitt are both trying to earn spots on the Brandon Wheat Kings as 17-year-olds, with rookie camp ice sessions starting today.
Passed over in the Western Hockey League bantam draft, Coulter was listed by the Wheat Kings and signed with the team last year, playing three regular-season games. What he learned from those games was that he was capable of playing at the WHL level but needed to work on his speed, leading to a busy summer working out in the gym with Wheat Kings’ strength coach Jim Frederickson and on the ice, powerskating with local hockey coach Dave Lewis.
"I thought just having that extra step in my game would be huge," Coulter said.
"We took my times of sprints down the ice and even just over a couple months, I was … just a ton faster out of the gate."
Getting up to speed was key for Coulter, who has shown he can score, finishing second in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League with 33 goals and tying for fifth in points with 61, in 43 games last season. Kitt, a fifth-round selection of the Wheat Kings in 2011 was not far behind, with 25 goals and 51 points in 42 games, and Coulter said although they’ll be in competition in camp, they hope they can make the jump together.
"We’ve trained together and we’ve been pushing each other the whole way and I think we both have a great shot coming into the camp," he said.
BLADES BUYER: A week from now, the Saskatoon Blades could have a new owner.
The WHL has scheduled a meeting of its board of governors for next Wednesday when it will review an application for the team to be sold by the Brodsky family to Mike Priestner. If the name sounds familiar, it may be because the Edmonton car dealer is the father of goaltender James Priestner, who played with the Wheat Kings in 2008-09 among his three WHL stops.
Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that an anonymous source pegs the value of the deal at "around $9 million."
AROUND THE WHL: The Kootenay Ice have hired Mike Dyck, who played briefly for the Wheat Kings in 1986-87, to join their coaching staff on a part-time basis. Dyck, who coached the Lethbridge Hurricanes from 2005-09, will make periodic visits to Cranbrook, B.C., early in the season then will join the Ice for a month when head coach Ryan McGill leaves to serve as an assistant with Canada’s world junior team … Edmonton LW Stephane Legault has opted to forego his overage season with the Oil Kings in favour of attending the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Legault totalled 80 regular-season points and 36 more in the playoffs over the past two seasons … The Moose Jaw Warriors and Swift Current Broncos opened the WHL’s pre-season schedule Tuesday night in Swift Current, Sask. … Elkhorn D Travis Sanheim, whose brother Taylor is in camp with the Wheat Kings, opened the scoring in the Calgary Hitmen intrasquad game on Tuesday …G Tyson Verhelst of Brandon was busy in the Spokane Chiefs’ intrasquad game on Sunday, playing the second half of his team’s 4-2 loss and stopping 22 of the 23 shots he faced …F Brendan Kokorudz of Brandon scored to help his team win the Oil Kings’ rookie camp title on Sunday. He scored another goal Monday on the first day of Edmonton’s main camp.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 28, 2013