January 9, 2014, Brandon, MB. (ISN) – The Brandon Wheat Kings and Prince Albert Raiders face off this weekend in what could be described as a pivotal 2-game Western Hockey League series at Westman Communications Group Place.
Winners of the first two of their current 5-game homestand, the Wheat Kings enter the weekend with a record of 22-16-4-0 and sit alone in fifth place in the Eastern Conference – three points back of fourth place Medicine Hat in the 12-team conference and just two behind the Eastern Division leading Swift Current Broncos, who will visit Brandon next Friday.
While Brandon eyes first place, a quick look at the WHL’s Eastern Conference standings sees a slim six point margin separating fifth and ninth place. Entering weekend play, the Regina Pats sit one point back of Brandon, Kootenay is three behind and the Raiders are only four points off the pace, with a game in hand.
Needless to say, these two games are big for both teams.
“I think the biggest goal for us is making the playoffs and it’s pretty tight,” Brandon captain Ryan Pulock told CKLQ’s Bruce Luebke this week. “We have talked that if we start getting on a streak here and we’re close to first place…that’s definitely a goal for us and a very reachable goal as well.”
Brandon has just one regulation loss in its last eleven home games, going 8-1-2 in that stretch while outscoring their opponents 54-32. Tuesday night’s win over the visiting Red Deer Rebels was Brandon’s thirteenth on home ice this season, matching last year’s entire win total at Westman Place.
While the Wheat Kings have been climbing the standings in recent weeks, the Raiders are 4-6-0 in their last ten. However, Prince Albert has played well on the road this season (8-10-1-0) and in games against the Wheat Kings, Prince Albert is 3-0-0, including a come from behind overtime victory in Brandon on November 30th.
Friday’s game is a presentation of Super Thrifty Drugs while Saturday night’s game – 80’s Retro Night – presented by the Victoria Inn will feature the Cameron Hughes Experience.
Who is Cameron Hughes? He’s 42 years old and he makes a living as North America’s Super Fan. In fact, he may be the only man or woman known to be paid to be a fan. Although he has the energy and flair of an all-star, he was never much of an athlete. In high school growing up in Ottawa he was 6-feet tall, yet he got cut from the basketball team four straight years. Since then he’s found a way to stand out from the crowd while standing in it.
He’s cheered for teams from the minor to the mighty including the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm and the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL. Others include the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors, the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils, the Cleveland Cavaliers fo the National Basketball Association as well as both the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers. As well, he was a fixture at the hockey venue during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
To date he’s been paid to attend well over one thousand games in 36 states, five Canadian provinces and four countries. More than 10 million fans have seen his work.
In addition to Saturday’s appearance of Hughes, western Manitoba hockey fans will be transferred back in time to the eighties when the Keystone Centre came alive to the sounds of Van Halen, Journey, AC/DC and others during Wheat Kings home games. The hockey club promises to turn back the clock and go “retro” throughout the night – both in the music and on the video scoreboard.
Tickets to both weekend games are on sale now at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at wheatkings.com
ABOUT SUPER THRIFTY DRUGS: Super Thrifty Pharmacies was founded in 1977 right here in Brandon. It started with 5 stores and now has 17 stores operating under the Super Thrifty banner. ‘We care…your family drug store” is not just a slogan, our customers are our main focus and exceptional customer service is the most import objective of the chain.
ABOUT THE VICTORIA INN: Experience quality, comfort and more in Brandon Manitoba, Canada at the Victoria Inn. With our well-appointed guestrooms, host of in-room amenities, indoor pool, specialty suites, on-site dining and 20 000 sq feet of convention space, the Victoria Inn Brandon has set a new standard for hospitality in the Westman area.The Victoria Inn Brandon features full dining and leisure facilities. Relax in the comfortable surroundings of the 34th Street Bar and Grill, where you can join us for breakfast and lunch, or an evening of great dining.