Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stone Reflects on Four-Year Career

There are a lot of things Mark Stone can be proud of during his four year career with the Brandon Wheat Wings.

Stone had a chance to play in the 2010 Memorial Cup and over the last two seasons, recorded back-to-back 100 point seasons -- the first time that's happened in 15 years.

"There's so many great people coming in and out of this organization. Kelly (McCrimmon) brings in great people, and it's run with real high class," said Stone on Thursday, "You get to know everybody within the organization, your coaches and your teammates."

Stone served as Brandon's captain during the 2011-2012 season, a responsibility the Winnipeg product didn't take lightly.

"It's a pretty big responsibility, especially when you have a young team. Last year, we were quite young and this year, we were trying to mature as a team and that leadership role was there for the taking and I wanted to be part of it," said Stone, "It helped me in certain aspects of my game and in the dressing room."

Stone best performance came in the season's last two months when he willed the Wheat Kings out of their January doldrums and to a strong finish to the season.

Stone scored 46 points over the last 21 games of the regular season, helping Brandon to a 15-4-0-2 record in that span and turning a team on the verge of missing the WHL playoffs into a sixth-place club.

"When I came back from the World Juniors, I had a bit of a tough slide there and the team wasn't having success and I wasn't having much personal success," said Stone, "We went through a pretty big slide in January and as we got into February, it was almost like enough is enough. We needed to turn the season around or we could potentially miss the playoffs. We had such a good group of guys, a good hockey team, so much skill, we did what we needed to do."

Stone's season will also continue, albeit in a supporting role.

He's headed to Ottawa this weekend and will join the Senators for the remainder of their season although likely just as a practice player.

Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Binghamton closes out their regular season with two games this weekend but are going to miss the playoffs.

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