Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Conrad Undecided About Future

Colt Conrad was playing in the Source for
Sports AAA Hockey Challenge in Brandon this
past weekend.
  Colt Conrad says he hasn't made any firm decisions about where he'll play next season.

  The Brandon Wheat Kings acquired the rights to the 17-year old Conrad as part of the Ryan Pilon trade last November, and the St. Alphonse product has verbally committted to Western Michigan University for the 2015-2016 season.

  Conrad was in Brandon this past weekend, participating in the Source for Sports AAA Hockey Challenge.

  "There's still a lot of deciding left to do here in the summer,"s aid Conrad, "I've got a lot of choices I have to think about over the next few weeks and, hopefully, I can come up with the best option for me and see where that leads me."

  Conrad played on the prep team at Shattuck St. Mary's in Minnesota last season, scoring 14 goals and 41 points in 45 games.

  He added three goals and seven points in five games while playing with Team West and the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge last winter, where his teammates included current Wheat King Jesse Gabrielle.

  "Growing up not too far from Brandon, I was always exposed to WHL hockey and that was always my dream and then a few years back, a few colleges started talking to me and I really started looking at their hockey and started realizing that it still good," added Conrad, "They're both great hockey and whichever one I choose, I'm sure it's fine and perfectly good."

  His USHL rights are held by Waterloo, while the Waywayseecappo Wolverines hold his MJHL rights.

Meilleur Headed Overseas

Jens Meilleur
  Former Brandon Wheat King Jens Meilleur has signed with the Kassel Huskies of the German Elite League.

  The 21-year old Meilleur applied for and received his German passport last year, giving him the ability to play in the German League as a non-import.

  In four years with the Wheat Kings, Meilleur had 32 goals and 72 points in 227 games including 11 goals and 26 points in 67 games last season.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Papirny Headed to Habs' Camp

Jordan Papirny
  Brandon Wheat Kings' goaltender Jordan Papirny is headed to the Montreal Canadiens' development camp this weekend.

  Papirny went undrafted in this past weekend's NHL Draft, so the invitation is a nice consolation prize for the 18-year old Edmonton product.

  "Every athlete goes through adversity at some time in their career and, unfortunately for me, it's at this time," said Papirny this week, "I'm lucky enough to be going to Montreal in a couple of days and I'll learn as much as I can and I think I'll really benefit from it."

  Papirny had a 3.28 goals against average and .900 save percentage in 46 appearances with the Wheat Kings in his rookie season in 2013-2014.

  "Probably about 20 minutes after the draft finished, I just got a call from my agent saying that Montreal will be calling soon and, sure enough, they did," said Papirny, " I waited around to see if I'd get any other calls and Montreal was the only one so I decided to go with them."

  A good performance could earn Papirny a return to invitation to attend Montreal's rookie camp this fall, and perhaps that same opportunity with another NHL team.

  "I've been picking a lot of people's brains about what goes on at these development camps and what to expect, and everyone has told me the same thing," said Papirny, "Just go work hard, take everything in and just really enjoy and learn as much as I can."

  Papirny would be eligible again for the 2015 NHL Draft unless he impresses enough to earn a contract.

Wheat Kings Prepare for CHL Import Draft

Rihards Bukarts will be one of the Wheat Kings'
Import Players in 2014-2015
  The crapshoot this is the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft takes place Wednesday, with the Brandon Wheat Kings holding the 30th overall pick.

  The CHL Import Draft is a different animal than nearly every other draft that is hold because it's not necessarily about taking the best available player or filling a hole in your roster, it's also about choosing a player that will report to your team AND will be released to do so by his own country's Ice Hockey Federation.

  "It's based on networking, dealing with player agents wil respect to availability, contract status in their home countries," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon this week, "Then, as well, dealing with NHL scouts in terms of getting some background on what type of player you might be considering so there's a lot that goes into it."

  Brandon already has the CHL limit of two import players on their roster in Richard Nejezchleb and Rihards Bukarts but because are allowed to pick on player Wednesday because Nejezchleb would be a 20-year old and is a possibility to play professional.

  "Now that he's been selected by a team (NY Rangers), it's going to depend on how he does on their development camp, their camp in the fall, what they do with signing him or returning to junior, those things have to play out," said McCrimmon, "Based on that, we'll proceed to do our homework on selecting a player here on Wednesday."

  McCrimmon also confirmed that Latvian forward Rihards Bukarts would return for a second season with the Wheat Kings after scoring 28 goals and 54 points in 65 games in his rookie season with Brandon in 2013-2014.

  If Nejezchleb does get returned to the Wheat Kings by the Rangers, if could create a logjam of imports for the Wheat Kings.

  Brandon would have to get down to the CHL limit of two, presumably within a two-week span of Nejezchleb being returned.

  You can follow the CHL Import Draft online at http://www.chl.ca/draft/chl

  The Wheat Kings' pick should take place around noon (CDT).

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Hawryluk, Nejezchleb Chosen on Day Two of NHL Draft

Jayce Hawryluk was all smiles after being
chosen by Florida in the second round of the
NHL Draft Saturday.
  Jayce Hawryluk didn’t have to wait long to hear his named called Saturday on Day Two of the NHL Draft in Philadelphia.

  The Roblin product and Brandon Wheat Kings’ forward was chosen by the Florida Panthers with the second pick of the second round, 32nd overall.

  “They contacted me and they said that I was their guy at #32 so they kept to their promise and I appreciate that, it means a lot,” said Hawryluk, who also acknowledged Wheat Kings’ GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon during his post-draft media rounds, “For Kelly to be there, it means a lot.  He’s helped me along my way.  He’s the reason I’m here today and getting picked so early.  I couldn’t have done it without him as my coach and GM.”

  The 5-foot-10, 190 pound Hawryluk led the Wheat Kings in scoring with 24 goals and 64 points in 61 games during the 2013-2014 WHL regular season and added five goals and 12 points in eight playoffs games.

  “It’s a dream come true.  You work your whole life to come to this moment,” added Hawryluk, “To hear your name called out, it’s hard to explain.  A lot of emotions right now, pretty jittery.”

  Ironically, Hawryluk has also the 32nd overall pick of the WHL Bantam Draft by the Wheat Kings’ three years ago (2011).

  Richard Nejezchleb was also chosen on day two of the NHL Draft, going to the New York Rangers in the fifth round, 122nd overall.

  Hawryluk, Nejezchleb and New Jersey first rounders John Quenneville make it at least three Wheat Kings being chosen in the NHL Draft in the same year for the first time since 2003.

  Hawryluk has also one of three Manitobans chosen, joining Philadelphia first rounder and Elkhorn product Travis Sanheim and Winnipeg product Brett Lernout of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, who went in the third round to the Montreal Canadiens.