The Brandon Wheat Kings have been officially sold to a new owner, but Wheat City hockey fans don’t have to worry — their WHL team is staying put.
Wheat Kings owner and governor Kelly McCrimmon — who also currently serves as general manager of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights — announced Tuesday that the team has been purchased by Brandon’s Jared Jacobson of the J&G Group of Companies, with the franchise formally changing hands Sept. 15.
“This was an extremely difficult decision for our family,” said McCrimmon, whose history with the team dates back to the 1980s, as a player, coach, general manager, and eventually owner.
“The Wheat Kings have been our life, from playing here for two years and then operating the team for 31 years, 28 of those as an owner.
“There have been so many incredible moments, the victories, the people, the staff and of course the many players over the years that have worn our uniform. I started as GM when I was 28 years old. Brandon became our home, we love the city and we love Manitoba.”
McCrimmon said the new owner is a strong, local leader, and that the J&G Group has been a longtime supporter and partner of the team, so he’s happy to turn the team over to someone who understands its importance to the city.
“The game has been so good to my family, I am fortunate now to be part of a great organization in Las Vegas with the Knights, and it became apparent a succession plan was needed,” he said.
“I feel good for people in Brandon and western Manitoba that the Wheat Kings will be in great hands with Jared and will always be a big part of the City of Brandon.”
WHL commissioner Ron Robison said Tuesday that McCrimmon’s leadership of the Wheat Kings helped turn the entire league into a world-class operation, and that the team’s new owner will continue on that path.
“We are fortunate to have a prominent member of the Brandon business community take over the operations of the Wheat Kings, as local ownership will provide the continuity and stability that this franchise will require in the future.
“I know Jared is very excited to have the opportunity, and we look forward to working with him.”