Kaspick hoping to stick with Wheat Kings next season


By: Lanny Stewart


Tanner Kaspick is hoping he'll be with the Brandon Wheat Kings on a full-time basis next season.

Kaspick, 16, who was considered the top Western Manitoba prospect heading into the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft last May, wound up getting selected in the second round (25th overall).

He ended up playing in one game with the Wheat Kings this season, showing his potential in the process, as the forward netted a goal in a game against the Edmonton Oil Kings on New Year's Eve.

The majority of the season however, the Brandon native was with his hometown AAA midget Wheat Kings, where he wound up netting 28 goals and 63 points in 40 games, helping lead the club to the regular season pennant in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League. It was Kaspick's second season with the club as the youngster played with the AAA team as an underage player in 2012-2013.

"This year, I was fortunate to play on a very talented team with a good group of guys," said Kaspick, whose parents are originally from Neepawa. "I feel it really helped me with my personal development over the course of the year to be able to practice and play at such a high level."

Despite losing in a semifinal to the Eastman Selects in the playoffs, Kaspick looks back on this past season with the AAA Wheat Kings as a learning experience.

"We had really good, experienced coaches that provided me with insight to help me improve. We also had a lot of fun on and off the ice; it was a great team to be a part of.

"This year’s playoffs were a perfect example that anything can happen," he continued. "We had high expectations going in that unfortunately weren’t realized. We suffered key injuries throughout that whole series and I think that definitely played a part."

As for next season, Kaspick is focused on making the Wheat Kings and understands what lies ahead if he's to fulfill a dream of playing in the WHL.

"I realize it will take a lot of hard work this off-season to achieve that goal and I am looking forward to the challenge. If that doesn’t work out, I will have to assess the situation in the fall and decide where it would be best for me to play."

Kaspick began playing hockey at the young age of four and remembers learning how to skate in a backyard rink. He began organized hockey at the age of five in Brandon and enjoys all sports, including the professional ranks, which he enjoys on television. He plays high school baseball and is an avid golfer in the summer.

Kaspick also took part in a mentorship hockey camp in Mississauga, Ont. last October which was put on by the National Hockey League. It included some of the best players in his age group across the country.

Photo courtesy of AAAwheatkings.com