While many youngsters in Westman grow up wanting to play for the Brandon Wheat Kings, with a lucky few realizing that goal, the chance to play in the Western Hockey League scatters others across Western Canada and the Northwestern United Sates to fulfil their hockey dreams.
After looking back at the 2013-14 for each of the Wheat Kings last week, today the Sun is casting the spotlight on local players plying their trade in other WHL cities:
• Reid Gow, Spokane Chiefs — Gow, a 19-year-old from Killarney, was named the Chiefs’ captain, filling the shoes of graduated Winnipeg Jets prospect Branden Kichton. Gow was one of the WHL’s top offensive defencemen, with six goals, 56 assists, 77 penalty minutes and a superb plus/minus of +31 in 65 games. He added a goal and an assist in four playoff games, but was -8 as the Chiefs were swept from the first round by the Victoria Royals.
• Travis Sanheim, Calgary Hitmen — The 6-foot-3 defenceman from Elkhorn had a fine rookie season, scoring five goals and adding 24 assists in 67 regular-season games with a plus/minus of +25. The Hitmen were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, but Sanheim went +5 to go along with a goal and an assist. Called on to play in the world under-18 championship, Sanheim, who has been quickly rising in the rankings for June’s National Hockey Leauge draft, tied for the team lead in scoring with six assists in seven games. He also was a team-best +5 as Canada won bronze.
• Landon Peel, Kootenay Ice — Brought back to the WHL from the Junior A ranks by Kootenay in 2012-13, the 19-year-old defenceman from Virden saw steady action with the Ice, scoring four goals and adding 16 assists in 63 regular-season games. He added two goals and two assists in 12 playoff games as the Ice upset the Hitmen in the first round before falling to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
• Landon Cross, Kootenay Ice — The Brandonite came to the Ice in the same trade that netted high-scoring forward Tim Bozon from the Kamloops Blazers. Cross, a 19-year-old defensive-minded blue-liner, finished the campaign with two goals and nine assists in 67 games, adding 82 penalty minutes. He was limited to eight playoff games, recording an assist.
• Carson Perreaux, Prince Albert Raiders — A two-way forward from Brandon, Perreaux set career highs with 18 goals and 29 points in 72 games as a 19-year-old. He had one assist in the Raiders’ four-game first-round playoff loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
• Meyer Nell, Red Deer Rebels — A 16-year-old WHL rookie, the Boissevain centre started his season playing midget hockey with Saskatchewan’s Notre Dame Argos before getting called up by the Rebels. He finished with a goal and six assists in 49 games with Red Deer, which missed the playoffs.
• Rylee Zimmer, Regina Pats — A 16-year-old centre from Russell, Zimmer played sparingly as a rookie with the Pats. Zimmer played 44 games with no points and eight penalty minutes, and did not dress during Regina’s first-round playoff loss to the Wheat Kings.
• Jordan Thomson, Saskatoon Blades — The 17-year-old from Wawanesa started the season playing with Cross in Kamloops, but left the team, eventually being traded to the Saskatoon Blades at the deadline. Thomson, who also logged time with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Dauphin Kings, played 29 games overall in the WHL, providing a goal and 12 assists from the blue-line.
AROUND THE WHL: Former Wheat King Corbin Boes has been named the Canadian Hockey League goalie of the week. Boes posted a 1.50 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage to backstop Portland to wins in the first two games of the WHL final against Edmonton. Game 3 of the series was in progress as of press time last night … Saskatoon sent G Alex Moodie, 19, to Spokane the day following the WHL bantam draft for a fourth-round bantam pick in 2016. Moodie joins Garrret Hughson, 18, to give the Chiefs two veteran goalies plus prospect Tyson Verhelst of Brandon, who will be 17 next season. "We feel Garret Hughson has earned the opportunity to be a starter in the WHL and if Alex Moodie can regain the form he showed as a young goaltender, we’ll have two capable starting goaltenders," Spokane GM Tim Speltz told Chris Derrick of the Spokesman-Review. "We also expect Tyson Verhelst is ready to make the jump to the WHL, so we have good depth and competition for our goaltending position." … Moose Jaw has acquired D Cole Wedman, 20, from Spokane for a conditional fourth-round pick in next year’s bantam draft. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Wedman had 13 points and 67 penalty minutes in 62 games this season.