Wed Jan 16
Written By: Watts, Jesse

Jayce Hawryluk is one of the youngest players on the Brandon Wheat Kings’ roster this season.  However, judging from his play this year, you wouldn’t know the Roblin, MB, native was only in his first season in the Western Hockey League.

Drafted in the second round, 32nd overall, in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, Hawryluk, who just celebrated his 17th birthday, has not only held his own as a rookie, but become one of the Wheat Kings’ go-to guys for offense.  The 5’10”, 186-lb pivot has put up a decent nine goals and 25 points for the team, and also suited up for Team West at the recently-completed World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Quebec.

One of eight rookie forwards on a rebuilding Wheat Kings’ roster, Hawryluk has benefitted from the team’s youth  movement, and made the most of opportunities given to him.  A skilled shooter and passer, Hawryluk also plays a hard-nosed game and always puts in a solid effort which has helped him earn more and more responsibility as the season has gone on.

Though the Wheat Kings may endure their struggles this season with a younger and less experienced lineup, the future is indeed bright with players like Hawryluk ready to emerge as the next stars for the storied franchise.


On his first season in the WHL…
“It’s been a big jump coming from Midget AAA.  But, I think I have adjusted pretty well over the first half of the season.  The speed of the game is definitely the biggest adjustment, but also how quick the plays happen.  Everything is a lot smoother out there, and the intensity picks up a lot at this level.  I just hope to keep it up and keep improving over the second half of the season.”

On his play this season…
“I’ve tried to do whatever the coaches want me to do, and just do anything to help make the club a winning club.  I didn’t really have big expectations for the season.  I just wanted to weave my way into the League and do all the little things for the team.  As things unfolded this season, the coaches have been relying on me in certain situations, and I’ve been doing what I can to perform and help them out.”

On living away from home…
“It’s been a lot different, living away from home.  But, I’m really not that far from home, only two and a half hours or so.  But, it’s a bit different handling a new lifestyle.  I think I’ve handles it pretty well and haven’t gotten too homesick.  Lots of my family and friends come down to watch, and my mom and dad try and get to every home game.”

On the Wheat Kings’ veterans who have impacted him this season…
“All our veterans on the team have helped show me the ropes this season.  A guy like Ryan Pulock has been a really good leader.  He’s a dynamic player out there, and has been a great guy to look up to.  I try and follow in his footsteps a little because of what he’s done so far in this League.”

On his experience at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge…
“It was an experience that I’ll never forget.  I had a great time with my teammates.  Obviously we didn’t do as well as we wanted, but I had the time of my life.  As you get to that level for your age, you play a different role than you do on your club team, and maybe get to play a bit more and handle the puck more.  I think when you get that chance to play a bigger role, you get that confidence that you bring back to your club team.  It’s big help in getting confidence.”

On who he looks up to…
“Well, I always looked up to my older brothers, and wanted to be just like them.  I always looks up to my father and grandfather as role models, too.  In hockey, a guy like (former Wheat King) Colby Robak definitely was a role model.  He was from close by my hometown, and he was making it big when I was younger.  Ryan (Pulock) is another guy who I look up to.  We played a lot when I was growing up and it’s kind of weird that we are now playing together.”