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About James Shewaga:

James Shewaga is the Brandon Sun’s sports editor.

  • Plenty of questions for a promising Wheat King season

    As the Brandon Wheat Kings begin main camp today, we take a look at 10 questions for a team clearly on the rise: 1. How many 16-year-olds will make the cut? Brandon is blessed with some of the top blue-chip prospects in the league, including a bevy of 2013 WHL bantam draft picks led by centre Nolan Patrick (fourth overall), defenceman Kale Clague (sixth overall), centre Tanner Kaspick (25th overall) and forward Ty Lewis (47th overall). All four have a good chance to crack the lineup, although with as many as 12 forwards back, the competition for rookie roster spots up front will be intense. However, one thing head coach/general manager Kelly McCrimmon has always been known for is finding a way to make room for a young kid when he shows he’s ready to make the jump.
  • Wheat Kings set for competitive camp

    From the Wheat Kings to the worlds, it’s all about Wheat City connections this week: • We are just days away from what promises to be an extremely competitive camp for the Brandon Wheat Kings. With potentially 18 players back, roster spots will be at a premium this year, but you can certainly pencil into the lineup 16-year-old blue-chip prospects Nolan Patrick, Kale Clague and Brandonite Tanner Kaspick — three of the top 25 picks in the 2013 WHL bantam draft.
  • Westman athletes in the international spotlight

    From the Glasgow Games to Peru, Paris and Poland, Westman is well-represented on the world stage again this summer. Seven athletes from Brandon and Western Manitoba will take part in major international competitions, with a handful of hockey players also poised to represent our country in international exhibition action next month as some of our best and brightest step into the sports spotlight once again. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
  • Bauman, Idonije playing the waiting game

    While Landon Rice has answered the call, fellow Brandonites Chris Bauman and Israel Idonije are still waiting for the phone to ring. The latest Brandonite to make his mark in professional football, the 6-foot-6, 315-pound Rice has moved into the starting lineup on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive line in his second season in the CFL.
  • Bring on the draft drama

    It won’t quite match the prime-time exposure of the 2009 NHL draft when Brandon Wheat Kings standouts Brayden Schenn and Scott Glennie were selected fifth and eighth overall, respectively, but this weekend’s NHL draft certainly has plenty to offer for local hockey fans. The Wheat Kings are expected to have at least three players picked in Philadelphia, with centre John Quenneville and right-winger Jayce Hawryluk of Roblin projected to go in the top three rounds, while big Czech winger Richard Nejezchleb is slated to be a mid-round pick. Latvian winger Rihards Bukarts and young netminder Jordan Papirny also appeared late on NHL Central Scouting’s final draft ranking list and are long-shot possibilities.
  • The end of an era

    For 40 years, he has been an icon on campus, a legendary coach with a remarkable record of achievement. But on August 31, after four decades at Brandon University, former Bobcats men’s basketball coach Jerry Hemmings will leave work for the last time. It’s the end of an era as Hemmings has officially tendered his resignation at the school that he led into the national sports spotlight with four Canadian university championship titles and a record 734 career coaching victories. Hemmings’ tenure as Bobcats basketball coach ended a decade ago, but he never left the game, filling the mentor role on campus as Coach Emeritus, doing colour commentary on Bobcat broadcasts, working as a physical education professor and helping out coaching in the high school ranks. But at the age of 66, after 40 years of service, Hemmings says it’s time.
  • Wheat Kings work to build season-ticket base

    Kelly McCrimmon is hoping his team’s rise in the standings will be reflected in season ticket sales this year. Five p.m. today is the early-bird deadline for fans to purchase season tickets at a reduced price and be eligible for a big Blue Jays prize package, and the head coach, general manager and owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings is looking for a boost at the box office.
  • Sanheim hopes to ace NHL draft showcase

    It’s all a little surreal for Travis Sanheim. The 18-year-old Elkhorn native began the season just hoping to crack the Calgary Hitmen lineup, but finished it as a rapidly rising candidate for this year’s NHL draft. On Thursday, Sanheim and Brandon Wheat Kings forwards Jayce Hawryluk of Roblin and John Quenneville of Edmonton cracked the elite list of candidates selected to take part in the NHL draft combine in Toronto later this month, a collection of the top 119 young players in the game, handpicked by Central Scouting and NHL teams.
  • McCrimmon's move made two years ago pays off big

    Kelly McCrimmon made history on Thursday, on a day that was two years in the making. For the first time in franchise history, the head coach/general manager/owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings stepped up to the podium to pick first overall in the WHL’s annual bantam draft, selecting star forward Stelio Mattheos of Winnipeg.
  • Papirny proves worth with playoff performance

    Three years ago, Jordan Papirny became the first goalie ever picked by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round of the Western Hockey League bantam draft. This season, Wheat King fans are certainly seeing why.
  • Canadian stint worth its weight in gold for Gylywoychuk

    Dwayne Gylywoychuk won gold in Hungary and now he’s hungry for more. The former head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings returned home to the Wheat City on Tuesday after helping Canada win the world under-18 women’s hockey championship while serving as an assistant coach. For the former longtime member of the Wheat Kings organization, it was the experience of a lifetime and one that whet his appetite to coach full time once again.
  • A time for perspective

    Even in the midst of the intensity of the WHL playoffs, there are moments when we are reminded that hockey is, after all, just a game. Wednesday night was one of those moments.
  • WHL bungled bantam draft lottery presentation

    The WHL, which prides itself on being the best junior hockey league in the world, has made great strides in the past 48 years. But there are still days that leave you shaking your head and wondering what the heck they were thinking.
  • Walker deal continues to pay dividends

    It appears Kelly McCrimmon has done it again. No, the head coach, GM and owner hasn’t turned the Brandon Wheat Kings into a WHL champion — at least not yet — and his club still hasn’t locked up a playoff spot, as we enter the final weekend of the regular season.
  • Brandon faces challenge for playoff spot

    Some views, news and notes this week, with the WHL playoffs just two weeks away: • The Brandon Wheat Kings are advertising free tickets to the first two home playoff games this year for anyone purchasing season tickets for the 2014-15 season — a great idea, provided they actually make the playoffs, that is. With just five games left in the regular season, that is far from certain. The seventh-place Wheat Kings (31-27-6-3) sit just two points up on the Red Deer Rebels, with the ninth-place Prince Albert Raiders only four points back with a game in hand and a huge home date with the Wheat Kings on Saturday night. This battle is far from over.
  • Blame Brandon's fall from first on gruelling schedule

    A couple of points to ponder as we bask in the glow of a great golden Games for Canada at the Sochi Winter Olympics: • The WHL schedule didn’t do the Brandon Wheat Kings any favours in February. The Wheat Kings played a gruelling stretch that included eight games in 12 days, and a total of 16 games over 30 days from Jan. 28 to Feb. 26. That grind clearly took a toll on the club, which lost its top three scorers and four of its top five forwards at one point and slipped into an eight-game losing skid that dropped the Wheat Kings from second to seventh in the Eastern Conference. While they are finally getting healthy again, with only eight games left, that punishing schedule and resulting injuries may have cost them a shot at the East Division title and the coveted second seed in the first round of the playoffs.
  • Slumping Brandon still within striking distance

    Some news and views while wearing out the remote control watching the Winter Olympic Games: •The Brandon Wheat Kings are providing a perfect personality test for their followers this month. An optimistic observation is that despite their recent struggles, the Wheat Kings (28-22-6-1) are still only one win away from retaking first place in the WHL’s East Division and securing that all-important second seed in the conference and home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. However, the pessimist points out that the Wheat Kings have slipped to seventh place overall in the conference and are floundering after having lost seven of their last nine games. In either case, a realist will note that with 15 games left and just one point separating Swift Current, Regina and Brandon, the battle for the division title and a prime playoff seed looks like it is going to go right down to the wire.
  • BU basketball anniversary reminder of long-lost glory

    It’s been 25 years since the Brandon Bobcats were the dominant team in Canadian university men’s basketball, winning three straight national titles. Oh how times have changed.
  • Winter Games, Wheat Kings and playoff pictures

    Here’s some news and views while gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday, not to mention two wild weeks of Olympic overload overseas with the Sochi Winter Games just one week away: • Westman will be front and centre on the first day of action at the Winter Olympics as Virden pairs figure skaters Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers represent Canada in the new team competition on Thursday (9:30 a.m., CBC), with the opening ceremonies officially getting things underway on Friday. Sportsnet will televise the pairs team competition free skate on Feb. 8, as well as the regular pairs short program on Feb. 11, with TSN slated to show the free skate on Feb. 12.
  • Coaching decisions doom Montgomery, Hawrysh

    Russell’s Jon Montgomery and Brandon’s Cassie Hawrysh may be two of the top athletes in the world in the sport of skeleton, but they won’t be competing for Canada in next month’s Sochi Winter Games. In the end, a combination of complicated qualifying criteria, questionable coaching decisions, equipment issues, illness and ill-timed subpar performances conspired to keep the two Westman Olympic hopefuls from going to Russia.
  • Olympic skeleton hopefuls on slippery slope

    If Cassie Hawrysh’s Olympic journey ends this weekend, it will be with the knowledge that she did all she could in her final chance to qualify. The 29-year-old Brandon native finalized her case for representing Canada in women’s skeleton at next month’s Sochi Winter Games by capping the Intercontinental Cup season with back-to-back gold medals last weekend in Park City, Utah.
  • Olympic spots on the line for Westman athletes

    From Olympic hopefuls to WHL wheeling and dealing, we’re all over the map today, starting with the Sochi Winter Games: • Tomorrow night, Virden pairs figure skaters Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers can become the next Westman Olympians. The Saskatchewan natives, who have lived and trained full time in Virden for the past three years under local coach Patty Hole, are in Ottawa competing in the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. The dynamite duo has finished third in each of the past three nationals and another top-three finish this weekend will qualify them for next month’s Winter Games in Russia, now just 28 days away. You can watch Lawrence and Swiegers skate their senior pairs short program tonight (6:30, TSN) and wrap up the competition with the Olympics on the line when they take to the ice for their free skate Saturday (5:55, TSN).
  • January is jumping on the local sports scene

    The new year kicks off with a jam-packed January for local athletes and teams, including four still chasing Olympic spots with the Sochi Winter Games now only 34 days away: • Brandon’s Cassie Hawrysh and Russell’s Jon Montgomery, who still have a chance to qualify for the final spots on Canada’s skeleton team, are back in action on Sunday in Whistler, B.C., on the Intercontinental Cup tour. With four races remaining before the Jan. 19 deadline to finalize the Olympic squad, both Hawrysh — now ranked 20th in the world — and 2010 gold medallist Montgomery — ranked 25th in the world — are looking to medal this weekend to keep their hopes alive.
  • Midget AAA Wheat Kings putting on a show

    Some news and views as we count down the days until the jolly old guy in the red suit with the reindeer arrives: • Off to an impressive league-leading 25-2 start, the Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings will be gunning for a 17th straight victory tonight when they face the Yellowhead Chiefs at the Sportsplex. The AAA Wheaties’ 16 straight victories has beaten the mark of 15 in a row that Brandon won under former coach Tom Skinner to start to the 1991-92 season in a year when they were an impressive 22-0-1 at one point and finished the season 31-3-2. With the WHL’s Wheat Kings idle, Friday is a good opportunity to check out this year’s Midget AAA squad, which features five of the league’s top six scorers in Duncan Campbell (25-33-58), Jordy Stallard (15-32-47), Tanner Kaspick (18-23-41), Josh Kobelka (11-23-34) and James Shearer (9-25-34).
  • Hawrysh, Montgomery need final push

    Cassie Hawrysh and Jon Montgomery have the chance to settle it on the track this week, but their Olympic fates will most likely be decided in the boardroom next week. Westman’s two Olympic skeleton hopefuls will race today and tomorrow on the Intercontinental Cup tour in Altenberg, Germany in their last chance to impress the brain trust of Bobsleigh-Skeleton Canada before the Olympic team is named on Wednesday.

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