KASPICK THRILLED TO WEAR THE “C”
(Courtesy of Perry Bergson, The Brandon Sun) — Tanner Kaspick will serve as captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings this season.
The Western Hockey League team announced on Thursday that the leadership group will also include alternate captains Kale Clague, Kade Jensen, James Shearer and Stelio Mattheos.
“It’s obviously a huge honour for me,” Kaspick said. “Leadership is always something that I’ve taken a lot of pride in and to honour me with naming me captain is something that I’m very proud of.”
Kaspick, 19, becomes the first Brandon product to receive the honour since Shayne Wiebe was captain for the 2010-11 season. He is the 60th captain in club history.
Head coach David Anning noted that Kaspick is in his fourth season with the team and understands what the organization and team culture is about.
“He’s an easy choice for us to be our captain,” Anning said. “He leads by example, he’s determined, competitive, he knows how to prepare like a professional whether it be practice days or game days. He handles himself the right way. The coaching staff has a lot of trust in him.”
Kaspick set career highs last season with 19 goals, 26 assists and 45 points in just 49 games as he served as an alternate captain to Nolan Patrick, who remains in National Hockey League camp with the Philadelphia Flyers.
In 193 career regulation and playoff games, he has 40 goals and 70 assists, along with 135 penalty minutes.
Kaspick said he knew coming in that he would be taking a leadership role and said the captaincy doesn’t change his approach.
He said former captains such as Peter Quenneville and Macoy Erkamps taught him a lot about leadership. But so did people outside the game.
“I think they just had a real mature presence in the room and I think just tried to be a guy that guys can look up to and feel comfortable around,” Kaspick said. “I’ve definitely been fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of leaders in my life, coaches, teachers, friends, whatever. I can definitely take experiences from all of those people and try to implement that in myself.”
Shearer also grew up a Wheat Kings fan. Although the overage defenceman is injured and will be out of the lineup likely for a couple more months, he said he can contribute right now.
“It was pretty exciting,” the Brandonite said. “I want to do everything I can to help everyone around here. I know I can’t do much on the ice right now but I’m going to do the best I can off the ice. I look around the group and I see a lot of leaders. There are lot more than just those who were named.”
Mattheos, 18, is in his third year with the team, while the 20-year-old Jensen joined the team at the trade deadline last January from Swift Current.
Clague is in his fourth year with the team, and currently remains at camp with the Los Angeles Kings.
Anning said it’s a well-rounded group.
“I like our leadership group,” Anning said. “I think they all bring different qualities. We have a lot of guys who have been around long enough to understand what we’re all about and I think they’re well-respected by the coaching staff and by their teammates.”
Kaspick and the Wheat Kings will be hoping for a weekend sweep when they travel to Regina Saturday night. Brandon opened the regular season Friday night with a convincing 8-1 victory at Westman Communications Group Place.