Winnipeg, MB. – The Brandon Wheat Kings are pleased to announce that two members of the National Hockey League’s Jets will be on hand to perform the ceremonial opening face-off Sunday night at MTS Centre when the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinals come to Winnipeg.
Performing the face-off will be Jets’ captain Andrew Ladd and Winkler, Manitoba product Eric Fehr - two WHL graduates. While Fehr is a former member of the Wheat Kings, Ladd played two seasons with the Hitmen, including the 2004-05 campaign when Brandon beat Calgary in one of the most memorable playoff series in Wheat Kings’ history.
Trailing the best of seven Eastern Conference Semi-Finals three games to one, the Wheat Kings staved off elimination with a home ice win in game five, scored an upset victory in game six and then downed the Hitmen in the seventh and deciding game before close to 6,000 fans at Brandon’s Keystone Centre.
This year's best of seven opening round playoff series is deadlocked at one game each after the Hitmen blanked Brandon 4-0 in game two Friday night. Due to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon, games three, four and five will be played at MTS Centre. This marks the second straight year that the annual Fair has forced the Wheat Kings to play their first round playoff home games in Winnipeg.
A former WHL Player of the Year, Fehr played 279 games with the Wheat Kings, scoring 146 goals (9th in club history) and 277 points. In 265 career NHL games, the former Washington Capitals’ right-winger has 48 goals and 96 points.
A native of Maple Ridge, B.C., Ladd is a former Stanley Cup winner and is currently among the Jets’ leading scorers entering the final three weeks of the 2011-12 campaign. A former member of both the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks, Ladd currently has 24 goals and 44 points in 74 games this season. In 476 career NHL games, the fourth player chosen in the 2004 Entry Draft has scored 252 points, including 116 goals.
Ladd and the Jets scored a dramatic 4-3 Overtime victory over the hometown Capitals Friday night and will close out a pivotal 3-game road trip Saturday night in Nashville against the Predators.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)