Breitkreuz starts with a 'Gordie'

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

He scored a goal, picked up an assist and got into a fight.

And that was just in the intrasquad game.

Tomorrow the Edmonton Oil Kings are hoping Brett Breitkreuz continues to play that way at their preseason tournament.

"That's exactly what we're expecting out of him this year," said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau. "That was his game to a T. He had the Gordie Howe hat trick.

"He's a tough kid and he has to be physically involved all the time. We don't expect him to get a Gordie Howe hat trick every night, but we need him to play well. He has pro potential, but consistency is the key with him."

Breitkreuz, 19, scored 15 goals and added 19 assists in 70 games with the Oil Kings last season. The year before he had eight goals and six assists in 58 games with the Kelowna Rockets.

He's was a bright spot at training camp and has high expectations heading into the team's second year in the Western Hockey League.

"It been going pretty good so far," Breitkreuz said.

"It's been a grind, so I'm happy that we're through that (training camp) process. It'll be nice to get some rest and focus on the tournament weekend and build on that."

The Oil Kings are hosting their second preseason tournament at Servus Place in St. Albert starting tomorrow against the Swift Current Broncos. The Medicine Hat Tigers and Regina Pats are also in the tournament.

Breitkreuz wants the type of start he had last season.

"I had a really good start to the season last year and then I just really faded off, fell off the map," he said. "Then I picked it up at the end of the year.

"But I really tried to work hard this summer on my conditioning and my mental game to try and stay away from things like that.

"As much as I love Edmonton and I love the team, I don't want to be here next year. I want to be playing pro hockey somewhere. That's my expectations, that's my goal, that's what I'm working towards."

Breitkreuz, a native of Springside, Sask., was originally selected by the Rockets in the second round - 40th overall - of the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft. The six-foot-one 202-pound winger was then taken by the Oil Kings in the expansion draft.

"He's come into camp in very good shape," Pleau said. "He's really working on that, he's improving. He still has a way to go with it, but give him credit - he's really worked hard."

Breitkreuz actually had the best score on the bike during the fitness testing portion of training camp. The performance earned him an autographed Montreal Canadiens jersey from Georges Laraque.

"I tied his record what he set on the bike in the calorie burn," Breitkreuz said.

"So I got an autographed Montreal Canadiens jersey, his No. 17. He said I was the first one to see it, the first one to get one. I also got an autographed stick."

His performance during fitness testing and training camp have the Oil Kings excited about the upcoming season.

Breitkreuz is among a core group of players back from the team's inaugural year.

"We're going to make the playoffs this year, no excuses," he said.

"That's what we're looking for ... It's not something you just do, you have to learn how to win, how to play well on a consistent basis every night."

It all starts for real on Friday Sept. 19th at home against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

"It has shown already with some of the older guys, even at fitness testing," Breitkreuz said.

"We have a different attitude this year from the top down. It's business this year. It's more like a pro atmosphere and they're not going to expect anything less than our best effort every night."


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