Brandon, MB (CKLQ) - We will not be outworked.
That was the message from new Brandon Wheat Kings Head Coach Dave Lowry as he was introduced to the local media on Thursday afternoon. The 19-year NHL veteran arrived in Brandon on Wednesday and met with the staff in preparation for training camp which opens on Wednesday August 29th at Westoba Place, a day that Lowry says can't come soon enough.
"Tyler Plante was joking about how when you can smell the horse show, it's time for hockey in Brandon," Lowry said with a chuckle. "When you are sitting and waiting and all you're doing is talking hockey you can't help but be excited."
Lowry comes to Brandon with an impressive resume as both a player and a coach. He played over 1000 games in the NHL with St.Louis, Calgary, Florida, San Jose and Vancouver before beginning his WHL coaching career with Calgary in 2005. The two time WHL Coach of the Year comes to the Wheat City after two seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Los Angeles Kings.
After missing the playoffs last year, the Wheat Kings are looking to bounce back and build on the young talented roster that includes Ridly Greig, Ben McCartney and potential first round NHL pick Braden Schneider.
"The biggest thing that is encouraging is that we have really good goaltending," said Lowry. "I really like the age of this group and I really like the skill level."
With as many as 18 veterans on the roster entering training camp, there will plenty of competition on the ice. Lowry says he has reached out to all of the players to share his expectations and suggests that a fresh set of eyes should mean a clean slate for many of them.
"I don't care who it is. You are going to play a certain way, you are going to work and you we're all going to do it together. When you do that it's a really easy game."
Other Important Highlights from Thursday's Media Reception
-Finnish import Marcus Kallionkieli has signed his transfer card and will play in Brandon this fall. The Vegas Golden Knights draft pick spent last season in the USHL.
"Marcus is a really talented player," said General Manger Darren Ritchie. "He is a big body, he skates well and has a heavy shot."
-Doug Gasper has been named the club's Assistant General Manager. Gasper spent the last two seasons as a Western scout for the Vancouver Canucks and was the Director of Scouting of the Moose Jaw Warriors from 2015 to 2017.
"We're really excited to add Doug to the staff," said Ritchie. "He's well respected in our league. He's hard working, and has an excellent eye for talent."
-William Sadonick-Carriere has been hired as the team's Athletic Therapist. He replaces Roman Kaszczij who was hired by the AHL's Utica Comets. Sadonick-Carriere spent last season with the AHL's Manitoba Moose.
-The hockey club has sold 2,020 season tickets for the 2019/2020 season. The club still has some work to do to reach the 2,600 seats that they sold last year. In 18/19 they Wheaties averaged 3,700 fans per home game.