WHEAT KINGS AT THE MEMORIAL CUP
Winners of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in the spring of ’49, the Wheat Kings defeated the Port Arthur Bruins to earn the right to play the Calgary Buffaloes for the Abbot Cup for western Canadian supremacy. After upsetting Calgary, Brandon moved to the best of seven Memorial Cup final against the Montreal Royals. Since each team won three and tied another in the first seven games, the CAHA ruled that an eighth game be played in Winnipeg. Led by Dickie Moore, Montreal came from behind to beat the Wheaties in the deciding game.
One of the best teams to ever come out of the WHL, the ’79 Wheat Kings were led by coach Dunc McCallum, defenceman Brad McCrimmon and the exposive line of Brian Propp, Laurie Boshcman and Ray Allison. After posting a record breaking 58-5-9 record during the regular season, they defeated Portland in six games to capture their first ever President’s Cup. Brandon finished the three team round robin with a 2-3-0 record. The Wheat Kings then dropped the sudden death final 2-1 to the Peterborough Petes in overtime. Members of that team included Propp, Allison, Boschman, McCrimmon, Bart Hunter, Kelly McCrimmon, Dave Stewart, Steve Patrick, Greg Mann, Brad Kempthorne, Darren Gusdal, Wes Coulson, Don Dietrich, Don Gillen, Brant Kiessig, Dave McDonald, Dave Chartier, Tim Lockridge, Larry Roberts, Kelly Elcombe and Rick Knickle.
Since the city of Kamloops was hosting the ’95 Championship, the Wheaties earned the right to attend when they lost out to the Blazers in the league final. Brandon wound up dropping a 2-1 decision to Detroit in the semi-final. On the ’95 Mem Cup team were Bryan McCabe, who led the team with three goals and 7 points in four games, Mark Dutiaume, Mike Dubinsky, Wade Redden, Darren Ritchie, Peter Schaefer, Colin Cloutier, Darren Van Oene, Justin Kurtz, Marty Murray, Kevin Pozzo, Mike Leclerc, Byron Penstock, Brian Elder, Kelly Smart, Jeff Staples and Alex Vasilevski.
After losing just two games in winning their first three best of seven playoff series, the Wheat Kings carried that momentum into the ’96 league finals, defeating Spokane four games to one. At the Memorial Cup in Peterborough, the Wheaties roared out to a 2-0 record before losing out to the host Petes in the sudden death semi-final. Members of the ’96 club included captain Chris Dingman, Mike Leclerc, Wade Redden, Justin Kurtz, Bobby Brown, Peter Schaefer, Dorian Anneck, Dan Tetrault, Kelly Smart, Darren Van Oene, Mark Dutiaume, Cory Cyrenne, Darryl Stockham, Vinnie Jonasson, Andrei Lupandin, Sven Butenschon, Burke Henry, Ryan Robson, Stefan Cherneski, Brian Elder, David Haun and Jody Lehman.
The Wheat Kings and the City of Brandon played host to the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship in May and after losing to the Calgary Hitmen in the Western Hockey League best of seven Eastern Conference Final, the host team had the chance to experience sweet revenge. After going 1-2-0 through the 4-team round robin, the Wheat Kings scored a stunning 5-4 come from behind overtime victory over the Hitmen in Friday’s Sudden Death semi-final before close to 6,000 excited fans in Westman Place. Jay Fehr, on a set up from Finnish right-winger Toni Rajala beat all star goalkeeper Martin Jones for the game winner that sent the arena, the city, the province into a frenzy. In Sunday’s Championship, the defending champion Windsor Spitfires built up a 3-0 lead en route to a 9-1 win over their Manitoba hosts.
Brandon’s last trip to the Memorial Cup came in 2016 after capturing its third WHL Championship Title, defeating the Seattle Thunderbirds four games to one in the league Finals. As WHL Champion, the Wheat Kings opened up against the Ontario Hockey League champion London and following back to back losses to the Knights and the QMJHL Champions, Brandon went up against the host Red Deer Rebels in a do or die game. The Rebels, who lost to the Wheat Kings in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Final three weeks earlier manged to score a dramatic overtime win, advancing to the Semi-Finals. Prior to the Cup, Winnipeg’s Nolan Patrick was named the WHL Playoff Most Valuable Player after scoring thirteen goals and 30 points in 21 playoff games.