Wheaties' Stone sparkling

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:36 AM ET

WINNIPEG - The captain of the Brandon hockey battalion enjoyed the squad’s trip to the Canadian Forces Base in Shilo where they took part in a variety of military-related activities earlier this week.

“That was pretty sweet,” Wheat Kings forward Mark Stone said from Brandon on Wednesday. “We learned a lot from those guys and we really respect what they do … It is one of the cooler things we get to do.”

The Winnipeg lad is soldiering on this season after his most recent disappointment. After signing an NHL contract with the Ottawa Senators, Stone was sent back to junior to further hone his skills.

Some players in that situation would have to play themselves out of a funk. Not Stone. He has simply sparkled at the start of the WHL season. In fact, he led the league in scoring with 13 points after five games and was just named both the CHL and WHL Player of the Week.

“Obviously, it was disappointing to be sent down from Ottawa,” said Stone, 19. “Now, I’m just trying to improve on last season and so far, so good.”

The 6-foot-3, 196-pound veteran scored 39 goals and 106 points last year, which tied him for third in the WHL.

“They (Senators) just said it was good time to go down and dominate juniors,” he said.

It was a little easier to take because the Senators did sign Stone to an NHL pact.

“Obviously, they were showing interest in me,” he conceded.

Stone did take a passing interest in the fact that the Winnipeg Jets recently signed 18-year-old Mark Scheifele to an NHL contract, with indications that they do not plan to send him back to junior.

“Obviously, he’s playing well and no, that doesn’t bother me at all,” Stone said. “I know I’m going to be here in Brandon and I’m going to concentrate on what I have to do here, and I think we’ve got a pretty good team here.”

Stone has already started working on his skating.

“Skating’s been an issue for me for a number of years, and I’ve been given the tools to work on it by Ottawa,” Stone said. “It’s always been a flaw of mine that I need to improve on.”

The Senators set Stone up with Mark Power, a power skating instructor, over the summer.

“I believe that I’m already faster and a little bit quicker,” Stone said.

That should bode well when Stone takes another shot at cracking the national junior squad. He already spent time at their development camp during the summer and hopes to be invited to the tryout camp.

“I did really well there, I scored a lot of goals,” he said.

Brandon was in second spot in the East Division of their conference before last night’s games with a 3-1-01 record.

“We had a great stretch at the end of last year and I think we’ve carried that momentum into this year,” Stone said.


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