Brandon, MB. – With the Western Hockey League Trade Deadline eight days away, the Eastern Conference leading Brandon Wheat Kings have landed one of the league’s premier goal scorers.
Wheat Kings’ General Manager and Head Coach Kelly McCrimmon has announced the acquisition of 2-time 30-goal scorer Morgan Klimchuk from the Regina Pats in exchange for 17-year old left-winger Jesse Gabrielle.
A 6’ 185 lb left-winger from Calgary, Klimchuk was the Flames’ first round selection (28th overall) in the 2013 National Hockey League Draft after setting career highs in goals (36) and points (76) in 72 games during the 2012-13 season. Last season, he scored thirty goals and 74 points in 57 games.
In 27 games with Regina this season, the former first round bantam draft choice (5th overall in 2010) is averaging more than a point per game with fourteen goals and 30 points. Ten of those points, including five goals came in nine games last month and that was enough to earn him the Flames Prospect of the Month honour. He capped off the month by scoring the overtime winner in a 2-1 Regina victory over Moose Jaw on New Year’s Eve.
In 228 career games in the WHL, Klimchuk has scored 217 points, including 98 goals. In nine playoff games, he has three goals and six points.
“Klimchuk is an elite scorer who during his four years has developed into one of the top two-way players in the league,” says McCrimmon. “He will have an immediate impact on our team in many different situations.”
“The price for Klimchuk was a good young player,” he went on to say. “However, we felt the chance to acquire a player of his caliber made the deal affordable.”
A 4-year WHL veteran, the 19-year old forward joins the Wheat Kings having compiled an impressive resume. In addition to being chosen to play in the past two SUBWAY SUPER SERIES, including November’s game against Russia at Westman Place, Klimchuk has appeared in the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game and has won two gold medals with Team Canada – as a member of the U18 World Hockey Championships as well as at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in the Czech Republic.
A fifth round bantam draft choice of the Wheat Kings in 2012, Gabrielle is in his second WHL season and had thirteen goals and 25 points in 33 games this year.
“Jesse is a good young player,” says McCrimmon, “I think this trade will be good for the Wheat Kings and the Gabrielle family.”
Klimchuk is expected to arrive in Brandon later today and is expected to make his Wheat King debut Saturday night at Westman Place when the Wheat Kings host the Calgary Hitmen.
This is the biggest trade completed between these two teams since Brandon obtained all star netminder Josh Harding from the Pats in exchange for goalkeeper Dustin Slade and a prospect in 2004.
Tickets to Saturday’s game – which will feature the annual Home Depot Family Skate Night – are on sale at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com
Winners of four straight games, the Wheat Kings enter the weekend with a record of 28-7-3-1 and lead the second place Medicine Hat Tigers by six points.