Wheat King Eric Fehr goes to Capitals

By Brendan Macgranachan

The Washington Capitals chose Brandon Wheat Kings winger Eric Fehr with the 18th overall pick in the 2003 Entry Draft.

“I had no idea where I was going to go today. Being
picked 18th is actually quite a surprise for me. I didn’t think I’d be going that high,” said Fehr, a native of Winkler, MB. “There’s a lot of great players here. It’s kind of hard to judge yourself. You don’t want to think you’re going too high and get down on yourself.”

Fehr is one of many who have been picked out of the Western Hockey League by the Caps in the last three years. Most noteably is Red Deer Rebels forward Boyd Gordon and Moose Jaw Warriors blueliner Nathan Paetsch. Fair commented on the Capitals connection, saying “(I know) Boyd Gordon with the Red Deer Rebels. There’s Nolan Yonkman, I played with him for a while. There’s a couple other guys (I know from around the league).”

In 70 games, Fehr netted 26 goals combined with 29 assists to make 55 points for Brandon in 2002-03. Then in the playoffs, he finished second in team scoring with 4 goals and 12 points, including beating Regina Pats goalie and Wild prospect, Josh Harding and Warriors netminder Steve Belanger in OT. Fehr is a good both offensively and defensively and has helped Brandon to back-to-back East Division titles.

“I’m a two-way player, I like to score goals. I’m not a real physical player but I like to have a lot of offensive chances and I think I create a lot offensively,” he said. “I do need to get a lot stronger. Be harder on the puck. If I were bigger and stronger I’d be able to handle this game a lot better. I think skating is a factor. The NHL is a real quick league and you need to be a quick skater. I really need to be working on that this summer.”

Fehr was the first of three Wheat Kings to be drafted in Nashville. He along with forward Ryan Stone (32th overall, Pittsburgh Penguins) and forward Rick Kozak (95th overall, Philadelphia Flyers) were drafted.

“We talked about it (the draft), I thought we’d go in the same area. Kozak was rated pretty high,” Fehr said. “It’s a huge thing for the Brandon Wheat Kings.”

Fehr was ranked 16th in the mid-term rankings and 15th in the final rankings among North American skaters. Hockey’s Future ranked him #25 overall.