Brandon Wheat Kings Are WHL Champs!

Wheat Kings clinch WHL Title with 8-4 win in Seattle –

The 20-year wait is over for the Brandon Wheat Kings and their fans throughout western Manitoba.

The Brandon Wheat Kings captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup Friday night, doubling up on the Seattle Thunderbirds 8-4 to become the 50th Western Hockey League Champions.

The win was Brandon’s third WHL Title since joining the League in 1967 and their first since 1996.  All three titles, including 1979 have come on American soil.  In addition to Seattle Friday night, the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Chiefs in Spokane in ’96 and the Winterhawks in Portland in 1979.

The Wheat Kings, who finished as runners-up to the Kelowna Rockets last season, clinched the best of seven WHL Championship Series in five games and finished the post-season with a record of 16-5.

Brandon will now represent the WHL as Champions at the MasterCard Memorial Cup, scheduled to begin next weekend in Red Deer, Alberta.  The Wheat Kings will open up the ten-day event with a game against the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Saturday, May 21st.

This will mark the Wheat Kings fifth appearance at the Cup, since joining the Western Canada Hockey League in 1967 and sixth overall. In addition to facing Montreal in 1949, the Wheat Kings have appeared in the ’79 (Montreal), ’95 (Kamloops), ’96 (Peterborough) and 2010 when they hosted the prestigious event at Westman Communications Group Place.

Joining the Wheat Kings, Rebels and Huskies at the Memorial Cup later this month will be the London Knights, Champions of the Ontario Hockey League. London will face Red Deer in the Tournament’s opening game Friday night.

As for Friday’s series clincher in Kent, Roblin’s Jayce Hawryluk – who scored the overtime winner in game two last weekend – scored three times and added two assists to pace the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Brandon_Wheat_Kings_win_WHL

Rounding out the scoring for the WHL Champions were Captain Macoy Erkamps, John Quenneville, Tyler Coulter, Stelio Mattheos and 17-year old center Nolan Patrick, who finished the 21-game playoff run with a league leading 30 points, including thirteen goals. Four of his goals turned out to be game-winners.

Patrick, who is not eligible for the 2016 National Hockey League Entry Draft, was named the WHL Playoffs MVP, joining former Wheat Kings’ Brian Propp and Bobby Brown as winners of this prestigious award.

Patrick is one of two connections to the ’79 WHL Champions. His father Steve, a former first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, was a member of the ’79 club that lost out to the Peterborough Petes in the Championship Final. Brandon coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon meanwhile was also a player on that team.

“I give our guys so much credit for that because it’s a real sign of maturity, poise and confidence as well,” McCrimmon told CKLQ’s Bruce Luebke. “This team very rarely gets rattled … they just keep playing.”

“This feels pretty good to me,” says Brandon captain Macoy Erkamps. “We had a good group of guys this year….last year paved the way.”

“So happy to share this with these guys, this coaching staff and the city of Brandon,” the 21-year old Delta, B.C. product said after accepting the Cup from WHL Commissioner Ron Robison and joining the on-ice celebration with the other players.

Erkamps was one of only a handful of Wheat Kings to have been born before May 1996 when Brandon last won the Cup.

Among the others were overagers Tim McGauley and Mitch Wheaton, who becomes the first Wheat King in WHL history to win back to back Championships. A Sherwood Park, Alberta native, Wheaton was a member of the 2015 Kelowna Rockets that defeated Brandon in the Final.

Capturing the Title was an especially good feeling for local product and former AAA Midget Wheat King Tyler Coulter.

“There’s no words for us right now,” Coulter told CKLQ.  “It’s been a lifetime thing watching the team every day and being a part of it is really special but doing this … this is really special.”

The Wheat Kings will be returning to Brandon as WHL Champions for the first time in twenty years late Saturday afternoon.

As for the MasterCard Memorial Cup in Red Deer, please visit mastercardmemorialcup.ca for more details. All games will be televised nationally on Sportsnet.

Courtesy of WheatKings.com

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