(Courtesy of Rob Henderson, The Brandon Sun) -- While Brandon didn’t select any Westman players in last month’s bantam draft, Dakota Boutin is ready to declare the Wheat Kings as his local team in the Western Hockey League.
Boutin hails from Moosomin, just on the other side of the Saskatchewan border, and the 15-year-old made his allegiances clear at the Wheat Kings’ prospects camp over the weekend at Westman Place.
"Brandon’s the closest team to where I live, so I was really hoping I’d get a chance to play here," he said.
"Lots of family can come watch sometimes. It’s an easy drive."
The 5-foot-11, 157-pound right-winger was chosen in the third round, 50th overall, and was the first of two Moosomin-raised players tabbed by the Wheat Kings in the draft.
The club used its sixth-round pick, 100th overall, to take 5-foot-10, 184-pound left-winger Jesse Gabrielle, who moved to Minnesota a few years ago, but still returns home from time to time.
"I see (Gabrielle) at Moosomin lots," Boutin said.
"A couple weekends he comes down and we go skating and hang out. I was happy I had someone here I knew."
That probably eased the pressure of the prospects camp for Boutin, who acknowledged having some butterflies going into the weekend. "I was nervous for sure," he said.
"I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how I’d fit in with the other guys. It’s relieving just to get the first skates in and see where I place with the other guys."
Boutin was a big-time producer with the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League last season, finishing ninth in league scoring with 48 points, including 24 goals in only 19 games, while piling up 96 penalty minutes.
Not old enough to play in the WHL in the coming season, Boutin is planning on joining the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Generals this fall and he’s excited about jumping up to the next level.
"We have a lot of (1997-born payers) there this year so it will be a good young squad," he said.
"My whole line I played with this year is going there."
ONE-TIMERS: The Wheat Kings had four prospects from Western Manitoba in the camp — forwards Tyler Coulter and Brett Kitt of Brandon, Jayce Hawryluk of Roblin and Quintin Lisoway of Neepawa … The camp wrapped up with an intrasquad game on Sunday morning … Veteran Wheat Kings goalie Corbin Boes got in some ice time with the prospects on the weekend as he prepares to take part in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence camp this week in Calgary.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 4, 2012