Brandon, MB (CKLQ) – The Brandon Wheat Kings have always been known as a top organization for developing talent on the ice, but the career advancement doesn’t just stop with the players.
Plenty of former Wheat Kings staffers have reached the pinnacle of the hockey world, including former equipment managers Darren Granger (LA Kings) and Craig Heisinger (Winnipeg Jets), former coaches Mike Kelly (Vegas Golden Knights) and Bobby Lowes (Vegas Golden Knights) and broadcasters Darren Millard (Sportsnet) and Darren Dreger (TSN).
Joining that list is Athletic Therapist Roman Kaszczij, who has signed with the Vancouver Canucks and will report to their American Hockey League club, the Utica Comets.
Kaszczij, who joined the Wheat Kings in the summer of 2018 has built an impressive resume in his young career. The Ontario native has worked with Hockey Canada, the CFL, the Toronto Blue Jays and won an OHL Championship with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 17/18.
His time in Brandon had him cover plenty of bases, including injury management, rehab, nutrition, and strength and conditioning. The transition to a professional organization will lighten the load and allow him to focus on his role as the Comets Head Athletic Therapist.
“The overall focus stays the same for me… to put a heavy emphasis on player health and well being,” said Kaszczij. “I try to come into work every day with the mindset of “how can I improve on yesterday to make this team better?”, and that definitely won’t change any time soon. Much like players in the WHL who are trying to make it to the pro ranks, players in the AHL are trying to make that jump to the NHL. Hopefully, I can continue to help these guys take the next step in their career by playing a positive role in their health management and education.”
Known as “RJ” around the rink, Kaszczij quickly made his home in the Wheat City and learned how passionate the fan base can be.
“The people in Brandon really helped to make the city feel like home to me. I had the absolute best partner in crime in Scott “Scooter” Hlady. From day one, he took me under his wing and really helped to get me accustomed to the Brandon lifestyle. He had my back the entire year and is one of my best friends. My billets Mike and Leanne, opened the doors of their home to me. Living with them for the year was an absolute treat. Lastly, the entire staff. from Management to Office Staff, to Coaching Staff, to the Support Staff, to the Players. Not only did they welcome me with open arms, but they also warmly welcomed my family and friends when they visited Brandon. That type of reception doesn’t go unnoticed and will truly stick with me forever.”
Kaszczij joined the Comets at the end of June and took part in Vancouver Canucks Development Camp at the University of British Columbia.