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Shew's Views

About James Shewaga:

James Shewaga is the Brandon Sun’s sports editor.

  • SHEW'S VIEWS: McCrimmon makes major moves

    Brandon Wheat Kings general manager Kelly McCrimmon has pulled off some slick draft-day moves before, but Thursday may have been his best work to date. With some superb wheeling and dealing, McCrimmon managed to leave the WHL bantam draft table with what many scouts believe to be two of the top three players available in skilled Winnipeg power forward Nolan Patrick — whose father Steve was a Wheat King — and dynamic defenceman Kale Clague. Some scouts think Patrick has as much upside as No.1 pick Tyler Benson, while Clague was widely regarded on most scout lists as the No.2-prospect available after shattering NHLer Dion Phaneuf’s scoring records for a defenceman in Alberta.
  • Draft day opportunity for Wheat Kings to make hay

    In the cyclical world of junior hockey, there are a select few days that can be pointed to as turning points in the history of a franchise. Next Thursday is one of those opportunities for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
  • Former Wheat Kings chase playoff spots

    With a little over a week left in the regular season, it’s the final playoff push in the NHL. And the Wheat City’s Matt Calvert is one of a number of former Brandon Wheat Kings right in the thick of it. The 23-year-old left-winger has had a bounce-back season in the NHL to help the Columbus Blue Jackets move into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference in what promises to be a furious race to the finish.
  • Harding gets shot with prestigious boxing gym

    After so many setbacks, delays and disappointments, could this finally be the big break Noel Harding has been waiting for? The 33-year-old Brandon boxer made his professional debut with a victory on Oct. 10, 2010, but hasn’t fought since as pro events all but dried up in Manitoba and North Dakota.
  • Wheat Kings could make big changes

    They had a remarkable run of 12 straight playoff seasons, five East Division titles, five trips to the Eastern Conference final, one appearance in the WHL championship and another in the Memorial Cup final. But in a rebuilding year under a rookie head coach, it all came crashing down this season as the Brandon Wheat Kings finished dead last in the conference and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
  • Special teams surge too late for Brandon

    As the Brandon Wheat Kings finish a frustrating season with a bit of a flourish, the question has to be asked: Where was this effort before? Had the Wheat Kings played all season the way they have in the final month of March, they could be preparing for the playoffs for the 13th straight season, instead of preparing to take part in the WHL bantam draft lottery for the first time.
  • Box-office slump batters Brandon's bottom line

    It’s not just on the ice that the Brandon Wheat Kings have struggled this season. On pace to post their worst record in 21 years, the Wheat Kings have taken a big hit at the box office in 2012-13, down an average of more than 400 fans per game. Combined with the fact that the Wheat Kings are paying four times more on their new lease to the Keystone Centre and will pocket no playoff profit this season, the WHL club is taking a sizable financial hit.
  • BU chasing first CIS volleyball championship

    In a season of firsts, can the Brandon University Bobcats cap the year with the biggest of the bunch this weekend? In their first season under head coach Grant Wilson, the Bobcats men’s volleyball team played their first games in BU’s new Healthy Living Centre, won their first Canada West conference title and are now ranked No.1 in the country for the first time ever. Just one question remains: Can the Bobcats win their first CIS national volleyball title?
  • Viral video could help recruiting efforts

    Gil Cheung’s 15 minutes of fame actually stretched into about five days. In the end, the Brandon University Bobcats head coach’s half-court shot not only earned BU student Mason Kaluzniak free tuition for a semester, but also provided the university with a plethora of priceless publicity. Cheung’s dream shot at halftime of last Friday’s Canada West men’s basketball game ignited a media frenzy that found the coach interviewed live on CNN and CTV’s Canada AM, with stories and video highlights on the likes of ESPN, TSN and USA Today and more than two million hits on YouTube. When was the last time that happened for BU?
  • Trying Bobcat season quiets new BU gym

    They may have a shiny new facility in the Healthy Living Centre, but it won’t be the site of any playoff action for the Brandon University Bobcats this season. For the second straight year, the Bobcats men’s volleyball team was the only BU team to qualify for the post-season and will open the first round of the playoffs on the road tonight in Saskatoon against the Saskatchewan Huskies. It’s not exactly been a banner year for the Bobcats, but athletic director Russ Paddock isn’t about to clean house.
  • Brandon's young guns impressive

    It’s only a snapshot of the season, but the past two games have offered Brandon Wheat Kings fans a tantalizing glimpse of the future. Forget for a moment that the Wheat Kings (20-31-2-2) are nine points out of a playoff position, sport the WHL’s worst combined specialty teams (21st on the power play, 22nd in penalty killing) and have been a disaster defensively (surrendering the most shots against in the league at 36.38 per game). And let’s overlook the fact that Brandon’s 19- and 20-year-old players have been a bit of a disappointment overall, while the jury is still out on Dwayne Gylywoychuk’s first stint as a head coach.
  • Specialty teams struggle, but future bright

    From Brandonite Cassie Hawrysh to the Brandon Wheat Kings, we’re all over the map today with some news, notes and quotes: • How disastrous have the Wheat Kings’ specialty teams been this year? Brandon is now dead last in the WHL in both power play (14.0 per cent) and penalty killing (70.6 per cent). At this pace, they will be the first WHL team to finish worst in both categories since ... well, the Wheat Kings back in 2005-06. That season — rebuilding after losing the likes of Eric Fehr, Ryan Stone, Tim Konsorada, Lance Monych, Steven Later and Jakub Sindel from their run to the 2005 WHL final — Brandon’s power play clicked only 11.4 per cent of the time, while their penalty-killing percentage was 78.0.
  • Plenty to ponder during Wheat Kings' stretch run

    It’s starting to look like the Brandon Wheat Kings’ run of 12 straight playoff appearances will end this season. But there certainly are plenty of intriguing questions to be answered down the stretch. Here are 10 on my list:
  • Devil gets his due as Salvador named captain

    Two years ago, Bryce Salvador didn’t know if he would ever play in the NHL again. Now he has become the 10th captain in the history of the New Jersey Devils, the latest chapter in his remarkable recovery from a serious concussion that forced him to miss the entire 2010-11 season.
  • Trades make sense for Brandon

    With his team floundering well out of playoff position, Brandon Wheat Kings general manager Kelly McCrimmon bit the bullet and did what he had to do at Thursday’s WHL trade deadline. McCrimmon managed to overhaul his roster and stockpile a package of players, prospects and picks in a busy deadline day that featured a trio of trades by the Wheat Kings. It will be a few years down the road before we know just how well McCrimmon did in reshaping his roster, but on paper at least, the moves set the Wheat Kings up well for the future.
  • McCrimmon has two aces to deal at trade deadline

    If he hadn’t already made up his mind, Wednesday’s 10-2 thrashing at the hands of the Calgary Hitmen should have clinched it for Brandon Wheat Kings general manager Kelly McCrimmon, with the WHL trade deadline only six days away. It’s now 40 games into this WHL season, and the Wheat Kings (14-22-2-2) simply haven’t provided any compelling evidence that this is a playoff team. Particularly troubling is the fact that the Wheat Kings have given up more goals (170) than any other team in the league and are a disaster on specialty teams — 19th out of 22 teams on the power play (15.7 per cent) and dead last in penalty killing (a dismal 69.0 per cent). Those aren’t the kind of statistics that translate into playoff success.
  • Should the Wheat Kings trade their Swiss sniper?

    Has Alessio Bertaggia played his last game for the Brandon Wheat Kings? It’s a question that Brandon Wheat Kings fans — and GM Kelly McCrimmon — will likely be pondering over the Christmas break, with the WHL trade deadline just three weeks away.
  • McIntosh puts WHL scholarship into practice

    From Brayden Schenn and Matt Calvert to Travis Hamonic and Keith Aulie, there have been plenty of recent success stories of Brandon Wheat Kings moving on to the NHL. But there is another side to the WHL experience for the majority of players in the league who don’t sign million-dollar NHL contracts, but have gone on to do great things. Geoff McIntosh is one of those other success stories — a veritable poster boy for the WHL’s scholarship program.
  • Pulock fills void in Wheat Kings' lineup

    Some news, notes and quotes as the Brandon Wheat Kings prepare for the fur to fly in the annual Teddy Bear Toss tonight at Westman Place: • Captain Ryan Pulock may not be the magic solution to make all of the Wheat Kings’ problems disappear.
  • Westman schools make volleyball history

    We’re all over the map today, while wondering if the Brandon Wheat Kings have started the long slide into lottery pick contention. But more on that later. First, we take a look at a little high school history that was made on the volleyball court.
  • Bauman basks in CFL spotlight

    Brandon’s Chris Bauman will be part of CFL history this weekend. The 28-year-old Calgary Stampeders receiver is preparing for the biggest game of his career when the Stampeders face the Toronto Argonauts at Rogers Centre in Toronto in the 100th Grey Cup game.
  • Penalty killing not Brandon's specialty

    The statistical story never tells the whole story, but there certainly are some telling numbers when you look at this year’s edition of the Brandon Wheat Kings. Sporting a 9-9-2-1 record heading into tonight’s first of back-to-back games against the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C., the Wheat Kings have fallen out of a playoff position — keeping in mind it is only November — and into ninth place in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. When you break down the numbers, it’s easy to see the areas that need the most work for the Wheat Kings.
  • Perfect season 'surreal' for Thornborough

    It’s only November, but Christmas clearly came early for Brandon’s Amanda Thornborough this month. The 22-year-old Canadian sevens women’s rugby team member helped the St. Francis Xavier University X-Women cap a perfect season by winning the national championship last weekend in Antigonish, N.S., and now turns her attention to representing the country halfway around the world. In the final game of her university career, Thornborough scored a try and was named player of the game — and a tournament all-star — as she led No.1-ranked St.FX to a 37-0 triumph over Guelph to finish the season with a perfect 12-0 record.
  • Historic night for Bobcats

    It’s opening night for Brandon University’s new Healthy Living Centre and Brandonite Kellie Baker can’t wait to be a part of history. “We are pretty excited because it will be our first weekend in the new facility and it’s obviously going to be a pretty hyped-up weekend,” said Baker, the starting setter for the Bobcats women’s volleyball team that will officially play the first Canada West conference match in the new $20-million, 80,000-square-foot facility tonight against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.
  • Volleyball team in good hands with Wilson

    From Bobcats to Olympic hopefuls to a bad case of Perimeteritis, we’re all over the map today. But with the Canada West conference season opening tonight, let’s start on campus at Brandon University. In seven short seasons, Russ Paddock has taken the Bobcats from expansion team to national contender, with silver and bronze medals to the program’s credit. Paddock has passed the torch to longtime assistant Grant Wilson to serve as head coach this season while Paddock concentrates on his athletic director duties including overseeing the Bobcats’ move into the new Healthy Living Centre.

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