Brandon, MB. -- The Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings have announced plans to become active participants in the 2013 Brandon Tournament of Champions next month.
The Tournament, which will run through two weekends, will feature teams from across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northwest Ontario.
In addition to attending the event's kick-off Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, February 9th, the Wheat Kings have named sixteen of their players as "Honorary" coaches to the eight Brandon teams that will be competing in the annual event.
Among the players that have volunteered to assist in pre-tournament preparations are Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Pulock, goalkeepers Corbin Boes and Curtis Honey as well as 20-year old veterans Tyler Yaworski and Nick Buonassisi.
As Honorary coaches, the Wheat Kings will attend a team practice before the tournament as well as being on hand for some of their respective team's games in February.
Following is the list of teams and Wheat Kings participating in this year's program:
9A Wheat Kings Nick Buonassisi and Taylor Cooper
10A Wheat Kings Chad Robinson and Tim McGauley
11A Wheat Kings Eric Roy and Geordie Maguire
12A Wheat Kings Corbin Boes and Jack Palmer
Atom AA Wheat Kings John Quenneville and Ryan Pulock
Pee Wee Wheat Kings Jayce Hawryluk and Jens Meilleur
AA Bantam Wheat Kings Jason Swyripa and Quintin Lisoway
AAA Bantam Wheat Kings Curtis Honey and Tyler Yaworski
Of the Wheat Kings participating, several have participated in the City of Brandon Tournament of Champions in recent years, including Pulock (Grandview), Lisoway (Neepawa) and Robinson (Minnedosa).
The Atoms and Pee Wees will be hitting the ice during the Feb. 7th - 10th weekend while the Bantams will be skating from Feb. 14th - 17th. As well, Brandon's Keystone Centre will be hosting Hockey Manitoba's Bantam AAA Showcase during the second weekend. Twenty-four teams, including the AAA Bantam Wheat Kings, will be attending.
While this will be the third AAA Showcase of the 2012-13 season, it will mark the first time that it has been held in Brandon - as part of the annual Tournament of Champions.
The AAA Showcase, which is being presented in part by the WHL club, is one of many changes being made to the annual 2-weekend tournament, since Hockey Brandon took over operation of the event last summer. To check out all of the exciting changes planned for this year check out the official website located at www.tournamentofchampionsbrandon.ca
ABOUT BANTAM AAA SHOWCASE: Hockey Manitoba is pleased to continue the established Bantam AAA program that will see Regional Bantam AAA teams formed in the rural areas of Hockey Manitoba. This pilot project was set forth at the 2011 AGM in a continued effort to provide our athletes with elite competition amongst their peers throughout the hockey season in an event-based schedule open to all Bantam AAA teams in the province & Winnipeg. Hockey Manitoba hopes to continue to grow this program to one day feature an international club showcase at the Bantam category. For more information please visit www.hockeymanitoba.ca/bantam-aaa.php
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)