Brandon, MB. – Expect to see a good number of new faces in the lineup this weekend as the Brandon Wheat Kings kick off their 4-game Western Hockey League pre-season schedule against the Winnipeg Ice.
The two teams square off tonight at 7:30pm at Westoba Place, before traveling to Portage la Prairie for a second weekend test on Saturday.
Among the newcomers expected to hit the ice this weekend is 16-year old blueliner Jacob Hoffrogge of Saskatoon.
A second round draft choice of the Wheat Kings in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, Hoffrogge can’t wait to get into a game against another club.
“It’s really exciting,” Hoffrogge told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun. “Last year I thought I might get a pre-season game but this year I know that I’m going to so I’m going to try to make an impact and show the coaches that I can play in this league.”
After reassigning two players to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League on Thursday, the Wheat Kings currently have 27 players in camp as veterans Jiri Patera (Vegas), Ben McCartney (Philadelphia) and Luka Burzan (Colorado) are off to their respective National Hockey League training camps.
Among the other prospects expected to get a chance to strut their stuff this weekend are defencemen Logan Hammett and Jack Zayat as well as forwards Bode Hagan, Brett Hyland, Jaxon Dube and Jake Chiasson, Brandon’s first selection in last year’s bantam draft.
Meanwhile three 15-year olds – Rylan Roersma, Tyson Zimmer and Nate Danielson – who were all selected in the first round of this year’s draft, remain in camp and could see action as well.
All three are ineligible to play in the WHL this season but are expected to be key contributors down the road.
The Wheat Kings, who sent Davis Chorney and Drayson Collyer to Nipawin and Flin Flon respectively on Thursday, will close out their pre-season schedule with a weekend home and home series against Moose Jaw on September 13th and 14th.
Brandon brings the curtain up on their 2019-20 regular season on Friday, September 20th against the Ice.
Tickets to both pre-season games as well as the Brandon Sun Home Opener are on sale now at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling (204) 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com
Speaking of tickets, Friday is “Season Ticket Pick up Day” in the Keystone Centre’s south parking lot. Fans can pick up their 2019-20 ticket packages between 10am-7pm and enjoy refreshments from Tim Hortons, Montana’s BBQ and Bar, The Chip Truck and Superstore.