By Carter Brooks
Photo by Jeff Miller
The Brandon Wheat Kings kick off the 2018-19 Western Hockey League season with the very first contest of the schedule for the second-straight year.
Following annual bantam drafts, import drafts, rookie camps, fitness testing, training camp and a preseason schedule, the Wheat Kings are ready to battle with the Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday in the first game that really officially counts. The Warriors are in Brandon for the Wheaties' home opener Friday evening, before the teams make their way back to Saskatchewan for the second game of the season-opening home-and-home scheduled for Saturday evening.
After taking care of their goaltending situation on Wednesday with a trade that saw Winnipeg-born netminder Dylan Myskiw shipped to the Edmonton Oil Kings in exchange for a late round draft pick, the Wheat Kings had just one matter of business left to attend to before beginning their season.
On Thursday afternoon, the easternmost WHL team named its leadership team for the 2018-19 hockey season. Winnipegger, and former first overall pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft Stelio Mattheos will wear the 'C' for Brandon, making him the 62nd team captain in Wheat Kings' franchise history.
Since joining the Wheaties, Mattheos has gone on to put up 83 goals and 181 points in three seasons of WHL play. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound forward was also selected by the Carolina Hurricanes 73rd overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Forwards Linden McCorrister (Peguis) and Connor Gutenberg (Brandon), as well as defencemen Braden Schneider (Prince Albert) and Schael Higson (Grand Prairie) will serve as Mattheos' alternates for the coming season.
Friday night's puck drop is scheduled for 7:20 P.M. at Westoba Place following on-ice player introductions and a ceremonial face-off. Indoor tailgating will occur from 5:00 to 7:00 with activities for Wheaties fans of all ages.