Former Wheat Kings Named to Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
Winnipeg, MB. - Thursday was quite the day for Brandon Wheat Kings Owner and Governor Kelly McCrimmon.
In addition to being named the new General Manager of the National Hockey League's Vegas Golden Knights, McCrimmon headlined the list of 2019 Inductees to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.
Thursday's Hall of Fame announcement certainly had a Wheat King flavor as he was one of several with Brandon ties to be named as this year's inductees.
While McCrimmon, who joined the Wheat Kings in 1988 as an assistant coach before moving on to serve as coach, GM and owner, was one of two Builders named to the Hall, a total of four ex-Wheat Kings were also chosen. Among them former WHL Player of the Year Marty Murray, captain Terry Yake and all star goalkeeper Trevor Kidd.
They will joined by Larry Bolonchuk, Susana Yuen and Bob Fitchner, who played with the Wheat Kings from 1968-70, before embarking on a professional career that saw him play for several World Hockey Association clubs, including Edmonton, Indianapolis and Quebec.
Rounding out the list of Inductees this year are former Winnipeg Jets' owner Barry Shenkarow, official Rob Haithwaite, broadcaster Bob Holiday, Johnny Sheppard and the 1929 Elmwood Millionaires (Veterans Category) as well as three clubs - the 1965-66 Flin Flon Warriors, the 1972-73 St. Boniface Mohawks and the 1957-58 St. Boniface Canadians.
A former member of both the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Prince Albert Raiders and Wheat Kings, McCrimmon went on to play four years playing Division 1 hockey at the University of Michigan, serving as captain of the Wolverines during his final year in 1983-84.
As a player, coach and general manager, McCrimmon led the Wheat Kings to three WHL championships - 1979, 1996 and 2016. He also represented Brandon at five Memorial Cups, including 2010 when his franchise hosted Manitoba's first 4-team national championship.
Under his watch, the Wheat Kings won more games than any other team in the Canadian Hockey League. In 2017, he joined the expansion Golden Knights, helping the new entry to the Stanley Cup finals in their very first season.
Besides his outstanding achievements as coach and general manager, McCrimmon may be best known for providing a profound influence on helping many others reach their dream.
In fact, two of this year's Inductees - Kidd and Murray - played for McCrimmon in Brandon.
A 4-year member of the Wheat Kings, Murray joined the Wheat Kings in 1991 as a 16-year old rookie and after helping the club establish a CHL record for Most Improved Team in history, he won back to back gold medals with Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships and was instrumental in leading Brandon to the '95 Eastern Conference Title and its first appearance in the WHL Championship final in sixteen years.
Chosen by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Murray went on to play for both the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings, before retiring in 2010. The Lyleton, Manitoba product currently serves as head coach and GM of the Minot Minotaurs of the North American Hockey League.
An Oakbank, Manitoba native, Kidd arrived in Brandon as a 16-year old rookie in the fall of 1988. Not only did he establish himself as one of the league's best rookies, he went on to helping Canada win two gold medals at the World Junior Hockey Championships. He also captured a Memorial Cup following a blockbuster trade between Brandon and Spokane.
A former first round draft choice of the Flames (11th overall), "Kidder" went on to play eleven seasons in the NHL with stops in Calgary, Carolina, Florida and Toronto.
Born in New Westminster, B.C., Yake and his family moved to Mather Manitoba when he was seven years old. A scoring star with the Wheat Kings in the mid to late eighties, he was chosen by the Hartford Whalers in the fourth round (81st overall) in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft.
Yake would go on to play 403 games in the NHL, before closing out his professional career in Europe.
By being chosen Thursday, McCrimmon, Kidd, Yake, Murray and Fitchner join a select list of former Wheat Kings in the Hall.
The other Builders include Bob Cornell, Don Dietrich, Glen Lawson and Rudy Pilous while Andy Gurba was enshrined as an official.
Previous Wheat King players to be inducted include the likes of Ron, Dennis and Bryan Hextall Jr., Gord Lane, Dunc McCallum, Steve Patrick, Bill Mikkelson, Vaughn Karpan, Glen Hanlon, Bill Fairbairn, Bill Derlago, Rick Blight, Danny Bonar, Ron Chipperfield, Dave Semenko, Ted Taylor, Elliot Chorley, Bob Chrystal, Wally Hergesheimer, Del Topoli, Reg Abbott and Walter "Turk" Broda.
Broda and Pilous are also members of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The 2019 nominees will become official members of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame at the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Dinner to be held on Saturday, October 5th in Winnipeg at the Canad Inns Polo Park.
For ticket information visit www.mbhockeyhalloffame.ca.
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