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 Brandon Wheat Kings

Hyland Named 41st Captain in Wheat Kings History

February 20, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Brandon Wheat Kings News Release

If you've watched the Brandon Wheat Kings play very much this season, you've regularly season Brett Hyland personify leadership with his determined, relentless style of play. Now he's got a letter on his jersey to match his approach to the game.

The 2003-born forward, who recently celebrated his 21st birthday, was named the 41st captain in Wheat Kings history today. Hyland takes the "C" from his longtime teammate Nate Danielson, who was traded on January 10 to the Portland Winterhawks.

"I felt pretty honoured," Hyland said. "I was hoping to get this sometime in my career, especially in a place like Brandon where they play hard and the culture here fits my leadership style. I feel like I can uphold it. I felt honoured."

That leadership style revolves around leading by example more than verbally, though Hyland is not by any means shy to speak up in the room. His hard work in all situations earned him the trust of his coaching staff, who have relied on him throughout the season.

"Everybody that watches the Wheat Kings recognizes Brett works extremely hard," said Wheat Kings head coach and GM Marty Murray. "He leaves it all on the ice every time he steps out there. For us, Brett was an easy choice."

Danielson had been the team's captain for two seasons (he served as co-captain with Nolan Ritchie in 2022-23) before his trade to Portland, and after he was moved, the Wheat Kings' coaches waited to see who would emerge. Hyland was the player who willed his way to the head of that conversation.

"We wanted to give it a little time after we moved Nate to make sure whoever we chose could handle it, it's a big responsibility," said Murray. "We've kind of talked internally in the coach's office for a little while now. We feel that it's the right time to name somebody. Down the stretch here, it's important to have someone to lead the way."

Hyland leads the team in goals with 30, but his value on the ice comes from so much more than that, with his willingness to battle in all three zones, finish checks, and make opponents miserable in any way he can. In that way, he's a reflection of the captains who helped him through the earliest years of his own career.

"I had Braden Schneider my first year," he said. "It was a short year, 24 games, but he's played in the NHL and he's unreal player. He did things the right way day in and day out. Then we get to Ridly Greig, he's a popular guy right now, he had a unique style. He played hard on the ice, I couldn't say enough good things about him."

Hyland was quick to point out that the locker room dynamic for the Wheat Kings doesn't leave leadership solely on the veterans, as the young players are able to hold older players accountable just as much as the other way around. Those younger players still see his leadership qualities, however.

"With (Danielson) being gone, we haven't had that one guy as our leader," said forward Caleb Hadland. "Brett shows every quality of being a captain. He knows how to play the BWK Way. I think it's a perfect fit, and we're all so proud of him."

Hyland's first game as captain will come on Thursday, February 22 against the Prince Albert Raiders.

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