May 26th, 2020

Wheatcroft commanding attention

By Woodard, Dale on September 13, 2019.

Dale Woodard

Lethbridge Herald

It’s never too early in the hockey season to start turning heads.

Two games into the Lethbridge Hurricanes exhibition season, Chase Wheatcroft has already made caused a few double takes and craned necks.

As the Canes skate into their third game of the Western Hockey League preseason tonight as they host the Swift Current Broncos at 7 p.m. at the Enmax Centre, the 17-year-old from Calgary leads the team in exhibition points with one goal and two assists.

Heads were turning Saturday night against the Red Deer Rebels as Wheatcroft scored the game-tying goal with a little under three minutes to go and then helped set up Zack Stringer’s game-winner in overtime in a 3-2 victory.

With the Hurricanes season-opener one week away, Wheatcroft seeks to keep making his mark the same way his father, Jim, did with the Canes in the late ’80s.

“It’s been really cool to come out here and showcase my talents a little bit,” said Wheatcroft as the team wrapped up practice Thursday afternoon at the Enmax Centre. “I worked on it a lot this summer, a lot of hard work and hours went into this. It feels really good here. I’ve gotten an opportunity and made the most of it. So it’s been really good so far.”

Wheatcroft, who turned 17 on New Year’s Day, was undrafted in the WHL bantam draft and signed by the Hurricanes to a WHL Standard Player Agreement in December.

Last season with the Calgary Royals of the Alberta Midget Hockey League he scored 20 goals and 33 points in 33 games.

He also played nine games with the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, scoring two goals and three points.

“I think he’s just been getting better and better,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio. “I think he’s been one of the real bright spots from training camp. Right from the start you can tell he really worked on his skill this summer and obviously his strength and speed and I think it’s shown on the ice. He’s a guy who (when) he came in we hoped he had a good summer and he’s probably surpassed what we thought he would have done.”

The Hurricanes wrap up the preseason Saturday night in Swift Current.

Their season opener is next Friday against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

“We thought we had two good games last weekend and obviously this week was getting our structure and trying to play a little bit fast,” said Kisio. “We’re just trying to get as close as we can as a team for the start of the season.”

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