Brandon Wheat Kings
Brandon, MB. — The Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings have announced plans to recognize veteran defenceman Brodie Melnychuk before Friday’s game against the visiting Swift Current Broncos at Westman Place.
A 20-year old native of Balgonie, Saskatchewan, Melnychuk became only the eighth player in franchise history to play 300 games in a Wheat Kings’ uniform when he took to the ice this past weekend in Swift Current.
The 5-year WHL veteran joins Randy Ponte (300), Ryan Craig (302), Dale McMullin (309), Aaron Goldade (310), Tim Konsorada (311), Lance Monych (319) and current assistant coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk (323) as the only players in team history to play 300 games.
The 6’3.5″ 205 lb defenceman, who wound up scoring the game winning goal in Saturday’s 6-3 victory over the Broncos, enters Wednesday’s game in Regina with four goals, 14 points and a +11 in 41 games. During his WHL career, the former third round bantam draft choice has scored 21 goals and 88 points.
Melnychuk won’t be the only Wheat King to be recognized for his outstanding achievement Friday night. The Brandon Sun will also be on hand to present the prestigious 2011 H.L. Krug Crawford Memorial Medal to Wheat Kings’ Captain Mark Stone during the first intermission. The award is emblematic of sporting excellence in southwestern Manitoba.
A sixth round draft choice of the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators, Stone is coming off an outstanding 2011 that saw him finish third in Western Hockey League scoring with 106 points, earn first-team league all star recognition, sign his first NHL Entry Level Contract, lead the Wheat Kings and the league in scoring for the first three months of the 2011-12 regular season as well as helping Team Canada capture a bronze medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Alberta.
“It’s been an action-filled year,” the 6-foot-3, 206-pound right-winger told the Sun when he learned about winning the award in December. “Getting the contract done in Ottawa, going to the summer camp for the world juniors, playing in the Super Series and getting to represent my country at the world juniors. I’m going to try and make a career out of hockey and this is just one of the first steps.”
Stone, who is coming off a 2 goal, five point performance against the Broncos on Saturday night is currently tied with Regina’s Jordan Weal for second place in the WHL scoring race. Entering tonight’s game against Weal and the Pats, the 19-year old Winnipeg product has 35 goals and 86 points in 48 games. During his 4-year career in Brandon, he has scored 100 goals and 259 points in 215 games.
By winning the 2011 award, Stone became the thirteenth Wheat Kings’ player to capture this prestigious honour, joining the likes of Brayden Schenn, Mark Derlago, Eric Fehr, Jordin Tootoo, Cory Cyrenne, Marty Murray, Trevor Kidd, Ray Ferraro, Glen Hanlon, Ron Chipperfield and Juha Widing.
As for tonight’s game, the Wheat Kings will be hoping to close the gap between them and the Pats in the Eastern Conference standings. At 26-25-1-2 on the year, Brandon trails seventh place Regina by five points.
Tickets to Friday’s game in Brandon between the Wheat Kings and Broncos are on sale at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at ticketmaster.ca