Thursday, December 20, 2012

REBELS: At The Half

Finally… I’ve made it back to the blogosphere that I’ve missed so dearly over these past few weeks.

Taking on the duties of News Director has had me running all over the place. I’ve tried on a few occasions to make time to write a new blog but haven’t been able to do so until now. Heck, even doing this write up is gonna take me the better part of two days, and not just because I’m a tad slow. I’ll admit that I’m a bit late in sharing my thoughts on some things, but what better time to get caught up than at the midway point of the season (or just past it, I suppose, as the Rebels have played 37 of their 72 regular season games).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jeff Truitt: The New Deputy

When Brent Sutter announced that he was stepping back behind the Rebels bench, he also announced that he was bringing another veteran coach with him.

Jeff Truitt brings to Red Deer a long and impressive hockey resume... [ via]... Assistant Coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes 1993-96... Head Coach of the Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL 1997-2000... Kelowna Rockets Assistant Coach 2000-03 and Associate Coach in their Memorial Cup winning season of 2003-04... Rockets Head Coach from 2004-2007.  The Rockets won the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL Champions in 2003 and 2005.... Assistant Coach with Springfield in the AHL in 2007-08, and then became the team’s Head Coach in 2008-09.  He was an Assistant Coach with San Antonio of the AHL in 2010-11, and held the same role with Texas (AHL) in 2011-12. Additionally, Truitt was the Moose Jaw Warriors Director of Hockey Operations in 2009-10.

Truitt has experience with Hockey Canada; in 2004 he was an Assistant Coach with the Canadian National Junior Team, where they won a silver medal.  Truitt was also an Assistant Coach with the Canadian National Under-18 Team at the 2007 World Under-18 Championship.

I had a chance to speak with Truitt following his first practice with the Rebels on Thursday afternoon...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Day After - Wallin Stands Tall

"I'm still a Red Deer Rebel, I always will be."

No hard feelings.

It would have been quite easy for Jesse Wallin to ride off quietly and leave us all wondering he was thinking. 

Instead, the now former head coach of the Red Deer Rebels invited the local media out for one last chat as his way of saying "thanks" and to share his thoughts on his dismissal.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rebels: Sutter Makes His Biggest Move Yet

If you thought the winds of chance had already reached gale force levels with the Red Deer Rebels this season... today's events turned things up a couple more notches.

Gone are Jesse Wallin and Charles Inglis.  In comes Jeff Truitt.

The reaction since the news came down at lunch time today has been both large and varied.  I'm not much of a gambler, but I'd be quite confident in wagering that today's events set a new Twitter record for use of the #Rebelshockey hashtag.

Here the "coles notes" version of how the Rebels coaching situation has played itself out...

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Working Class Hero Is Something [Rebels Players Want] To Be

[ Sorry for the long delay between write ups, folks.  The news end of my particular gig has been fairly hectic over the last couple of weeks. ]

It was back to basics for the Red Deer Rebels on Monday as they hit the ice for practice at the Red Deer Arena. 

The Rebels sauntered home over the weekend after going 2-3 on their five game western road trip which (for the record) covered over 2300 kilometres.  The final 700 of those km's were no doubt the most grueling being that they came after a difficult 8-1 loss to the Kelowna Rockets.

With a full week between games [next us is a Saturday night tilt at the Enmax Centrium versus Swift Current] the Rebels finally get a chance to do some real solid prep work for what will be an important stretch of games leading up to the holiday break.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Audio Blog (x2): Bill Ranford / Shane Bendera

Cam Moon can rest easy knowing he's paid his dues for his lifetime membership in the 'Goalie Guild'.

The former WHL netminder did a bang up job of snagging two other prominent former WHL goalies to be our intermission guest for Friday's Rebels/Rockets broadcast on 106.7 The Drive.

Our 1st intermission guest, Bill Ranford.  The former Conn Smythe winner with the Oilers is a goaltending consultant with the Los Angeles Kings nowadays.  Yup, he's a Stanley Cup champion again.  Bill and I chatted about a few things ranging from his thoughts on current Rebels goalies Patrik Bartosak and Bolton Pouliot.  We also talked about his rare chance to spend some time back in Red Deer and check out some of his favorite locales.  LISTEN HERE

On any normal night, having one great guest in a broadcast would be fun enough.  Not this time around.  Mooner dipped into the goalie pool a second time to arrange a visit from Shane Bendera, the man who backstopped the Red Deer Rebels to their Memorial Cup title in 2001.  Friday marked the first time Bendera had been in the Enmax Centrium for a game since his playing days ended.  The game just happened to feature the two teams he used to play for (he was traded from Red Deer to Kelowna midway through the 2001-02 season).  Shane was a fun guy to chat with and definitely enjoyed his night at the rink with his family.  LISTEN HERE

COMING UP ON THE BLOG... Last Saturday, I chatted with Jamie Hislop who is a scout with the Minnesota Wild.  Of course, we talked about Mathew Dumba. Hislop also gave us an update on former Rebels netminder Darcy Kuemper.  Sounds like things are going pretty well for Kemps.  I'll try to get Jamie's comments posted in the next day or so.

ALSO... be sure to check out today's brand new episode of REBELS THIS WEEK featuring Brady Gaudet's "goal from the parking lot"


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Generals Briefing With Brandin Cote

Despite being the host team this time around, the road to the Allan Cup remains a long and eventful journey for the Bentley Generals.

The Generals, under the guidance of new Head Coach Brandin Cote, split their first two games to open the Chinook Hockey League season last weekend.

They have two more league games this weekend before heading to Saskatchewan for a two game trip next weekend.

Following that, they welcome their long time rivals, the Fort St. John Flyers, for a pair of exhibition games on the Remembrance Day long weekend.

On Thursday, I chatted with Cote about a number of topics concerning his club... including opening weekend, new faces on the Generals roster, and how he's settling into his new gig...

Audio Blog: Chatting With Brandon Sutter

(Trying to get back in the swing of things after taking a rare sick day yesterday...)

Just thought I'd share with you my recent interview with Brandon Sutter.  The Pittsburgh Penguins forward, and former Rebels captain, joined me on-air on 106.7 The Drive during the 1st intermission of Tuesday's Rebels/Pats game.

He's been spending quite a bit of time, both on and off the ice, at the Enmax Centrium as he toils through the NHL lockout.  Brandon says he has received interest from clubs in Europe but is still holding off when it comes to possibly making the jump overseas.

Anyhoo... I'll let you listen to his comments for yourselves (LISTEN HERE). 


(Thanks to Brandon for being a last second addition to our broadcast on Tuesday and for doing a great job of hitting my softball questions out of the park!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rebels - Special Teams... Special Indeed

'The killers' have definitely been 'Mr. Brightside' for the Red Deer Rebels.

Despite their penchant for taking some inopportune penalties, the Rebels penalty killing unit has been nothing short of superb in recent games.

Heading into tonight's game at the Enmax Centrium versus the Regina Pats, the Rebels have killed off 66 of their 79 shorthanded situations.  A success rate of 83.5% (one tenth of a percentage point behind fourth place Kelowna.).  Even more more impressive is the fact that the Rebels are 29/30 on the PK over their past 7 games (thanks to Mooner for pointing that out to me).  The team's record over those games... 4-2-1-0, 9 points out a possible 14.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Down In A Blaze of Glory... err... Gory

To steal from a line from beloved former NFL Head Coach Dennis Green... "The Rebels are who we thought they were."

So too, for that matter, are the Kamloops Blazers.

In a dominating 4-0 win last night at the Enmax Centrium, the WHL's top team showed the Rebels just how far they have to go in order to reach the league's upper echelon... and, yes, there is a long way to go.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blazers Blank Rebels

A Tuesday night tilt at the Enmax Centrium versus the league’s hottest team.  The Rebels faced quite a challenge in taking on the Kamloops Blazers.


Not much in terms of scoring chances for either team in the opening few shifts of the game.  Neither Bolton Pouliot for the Rebels or Taran Kozun for the Blazers was overly busy in the first ten minutes or so.  For the most part, the Rebels did a good job of keeping Blazers forwards at bay.  Turner Elson created the best scoring chances for the Rebels, catching a piece of the goal post with a shot of his own while narrowly setting up Brooks Maxwell with a wide open net not long after.  There was a lot of ‘stop and start’ play in the first period, which probably worked out in favour of the home side.  No score after twenty minutes of play.  Neither side getting a powerplay.  Shots 11-9 favouring Kamloops.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The New Look Rebels - So Far, So Good

There is a long, long way to go before we're able to pass final judgement on Brent Sutter's work as Red Deer Rebels General Manager this season.

That being said, the early returns for his wheeling and dealing are looking good.  Very good.  And the possibility for long term benefits from these moves should have Rebels fans feeling pretty darn good about what the boss has been up to.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rebels Trade Kambeitz To Saskatoon

Adam Kambeitz
As soon as Brandon Underwood was acquired from Regina, the rumblings began.

The Rebels have four 20 year old's.  Who will stay?  Who will go?  Surely, they can't trade their captain?

In the end, that's exactly what they did.  Adam Kambeitz is now a member of the Saskatoon Blades.

In return for their fan favorite Captain, the Rebels get a forward whose potential upside is huge.  Christian Stockl put up huge numbers playing midget AAA in Winnipeg (36 goals, 68 points in 38 games last season) and, as GM Brent Sutter noted in the Rebels media release for the trade, addresses the Rebels lack of depth in the '95 age group.  Stockl was teammates with both Jesse Miller and Kevin Pochuk in Winnipeg.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thursday Thoughts - "Rebels Clip Blades"

First off, if for some reason you have not seen Mathew Dumba's "Goal of the Year" candidate from last night... get on it!  Dumba's beauty goal was good enough to earn TSN Highlight of the Night honours... which, by the way, is a first time occurrence for the Rebels franchise.


The Red Deer Rebels have earned points in three straight games thanks to their 5-3 win over the Blades last night in Saskatoon.  The Rebels are 2-0-1 to start their stretch of seven straight games away from the Enmax Centrium.  Some thoughts...

- SCORING BY COMMITTEE... Five different players, none of them named Charles Inglis, lit the lamp for the Rebels last night... which is a great sign for this club.

- GIANT DIVIDENDS... Matt Bellerive was acquired from the Vancouver Giants with hopes/intentions that his playmaking ability to jump start the Rebels sometimes stagnant offensive attack.  Bellerive is tied for the Rebels scoring lead with six points, including the three assists he had in last night's win.

- KEY MOMENT... Midway through the third period, with the Rebels on a 5-on-3 powerplay, Josh Nicholls found himself with a breakaway for the Blades.  Patrik Bartosak came up with a huge save for the Rebels.  Mere seconds later, Cory Millette scored for the Rebels to make it 4-1, essentially putting the game out of reach. (Although Saskatoon scored just 10 seconds later to set up an interesting finish to this one).  Both Bartosak and Bolton Pouliot, as advertised, have been outstanding in net for the Rebels so far this season.

- CAPTAIN'S CRUNCH TIME... Adam Kambeitz's assist on Tyson Ness' empty net goal was just his second point of the season.  With Inglis on a scoring tear, and Turner Elson still day-to-day with his lower body injury, Adam needs to seize the moment and start contributing offensively.  Only four games (max.) left until the Rebels overagers (20 year old's) situation will be dealt with.

- MILLER TIME?... Also waiting for Jesse Miller to make an impact in his first WHL season.  He got invovled physically last night with a third period fight with Jessey Astles but that's not why he's here.  The Rebels are banking on the 18 year old's offensive abilities to add some much needed scoring depth.

- MOON MAN... I don't always get to appreciate it while working at home games... but sitting in my living room last night while listening to Cam Moon's call of the game on 106.7 The Drive was a real treat.  Judging by a look at my twitter timeline... many of you agree with me that Mooner calls one helluva good game!

NEXT GAME... The Rebels continue their East Division tour tomorrow night by visiting the Regina Pats.  Game time is 7:00pm.  The aforementioned Mooner hits the air with the pregame show on The Drive starting at 6:50.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WHL Vice President Discusses Checking To The Head

It’s a bit after the fact now, but I wanted to make sure I shared this you incase you missed it (which if you were at last Friday’s Rebels/Tigers game you would have).

During the second intermission of our broadcast on 106.7 The Drive I had the pleasure of chatting with Richard Doerksen, Vice President of Hockey for the Western Hockey League.

Richard offered some great insight into the WHL’s recent stance on checking to the head, notably Mathew Dumba’s major penalty from opening night back on September 21st. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Rebels Score Four, Lose Third Straight

In their final game before a heading out on a seven game road trip, the Red Deer Rebels debuted a pair of new faces in their lineup.  Forward Matt Bellerive, who was brought in from the Vancouver Giants, and Brandon Underwood, who was acquired from the Regina Pats.

Rebels fans came into the game looking for a hot start from their club to match the hot summer-like weather outside, and that’s exactly what they would get.  Devan Fafard floated a wrist shot in from the point, Marc McCoy got a piece of the puck, pushing it toward the goal line.  It was a close play, the referee initially waved it off setting the stage for a lengthy video review.  The Rebels got the call, and the goal.  1-0 2:38 into the first period on McCoy’s first goal of the season, assisted by Fafard.

Not long after, the Rebels would go up 2-0 courtesy of Charles Inglis.  He got a piece Joel Hamilton’s sizzling wrist shot from high in the slot to beat Tigers goalie Dawson McCauley at the 4:05 mark.

The home side didn’t stop there, making it 3-0 just 57 seconds later.  Tyson Ness cashed in on his first of the season with Adam Kambeitz earning the lone assist.  Three goals on six shots for the Rebels was enough for the Tigers to replace McCauley with Marek Langhamer between the pipes.

The Tigers would get one goal back before the end of the period.  While shorthanded, Hunter Shinkaruk made a strong play toward the Rebels net.  The net came off of its supports but not before Dylan Bredo put the puck past Rebels goalie Patrik Bartosak for his first goal of the season at 16:20.  Spencer Jensen also earned an assist on the goal.  3-1 Rebels after the first period.  Shots on goal were even at 15 apiece.

Medicine Hat took the game over in the first half of the second period, thanks in large part to penalty trouble on the part of the Rebels.  With Adam Kambeitz in the penalty box for tripping, Trevor Cox tipped home his first of the season.  Kyle Becker and Tyler Lewington with the assists.  3-2 Rebels 3:32 into the middle frame.

Then with Stephen Hak banished for cross checking, Miles Koules with pull the Tigers even, firing home his own rebound short side past Bartosak.  6:27 into the second period, the Rebels three goal lead was gone.  Game tied 3-3.  That would be the score through 40 minutes.  Tigers outshoot the Rebels 16-11 in the second period.

Much of the same in the third period... another Rebels penalty, another Tigers powerplay goal.  Trevor Cox found the back of the net for his second ppg of the night, Boston Leier and Kyle Becker with the assists.  Medicine Hat takes the lead for the first time in this game, 4-3 at the 8:42 mark.

But the Tigers lead was short lived thanks in part, ironically, to a penalty of their own.  Chad Labelle was sent off for delay of game.  Charles Inglis would take advantage by firing home his second goal of the night.  It was also the Rebels second powerplay goal of the game.  Hamilton and Conner Bleackley with the assists at the 11:05 mark of the period.

Life on even terms would not last long for the Rebels.  Jayden Hart would score the Tigers’ first even strength goal of the night at 15:27 with a scorching wrist shot past Bartosak.  Cox earned an assist for his third point of the game.  Ty Stanton also assisted on the Tigers go-ahead goal.

The Rebels would come with a late push, with their net empty, in the final minute.  However, they were unable to score the equalizer.  Medicine Hat pulls out a 5-4 victory.


1. Trevor Cox MH

2.  Joel Hamilton RD

3.  Charles Inglis RD

Next Game... The Rebels visit the Calgary Hitmen for a game Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.  Game time is 7pm.  Cam Moon has the Worley Parsons Cord pregame show on 106.7 The Drive starting at 6:50pm.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Two Game Suspension: Lesson Learned For Dumba?

Amongst his long list of impressive attributes, Mathew Dumba's maturity goes somewhat unnoticed.

His booming shot, offensive prowess, and thunderous hitting power are what steal the headlines most often.  But between the ears, he is just as impressive.  Case in point, his handling of his bit of controversy.

Dumba has been suspended two games by the Western Hockey League for the checking to the head major penalty and game misconduct he incurred Friday night versus the Calgary Hitmen.  (If you haven't seen the hit yet, CLICK HERE!  Dumba sat out Sunday's game in Edmonton and will also sit out Friday's home game versus Medicine Hat.  He will return to the Rebels lineup Saturday night in Calgary.

Not only is he taking things in stride, Dumba also realizes there is a lesson to be learned here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Giant Trade Sees Bellerive Join Rebels

Brent Sutter wasted little time in following up on his promise to make the changes he feels are needed to improve his hockey club.

He has pulled the trigger on a deal with the Vancouver Giants to acquire RW Matt Bellerive from the Vancouver Giants in exchange for the Rebels 3rd round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.

Bellerive has 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 98 career regular season games with the Giants.  He was their 2nd round selection in the 2009 bantam draft.  He had apparently requested a trade from Vancouver.  In their official release, Giants Executive VP and General Manager Scott Bonner said "Matt was a good kid whom wanted a fresh start with another team.  We wish Matt all the best with his hockey career and thank him for the contributions he's made to our franchise over the years.”

Matt Bellerive
Hometown - North Vancouver, BC
D.O.B. - December 7, 1994 (18 years old)
Height - 5'11"  Weight - 188lbs.

"He's still a younger guy that we think has lots of potential to break out," said Rebels Head Coach Jesse Wallin at today's media scrum.  "He's a guy that we hope can find his way a little bit with a fresh start and a new environment."

It's pretty clear as to why Bellerive is on his way to Red Deer (he will arrive here on Tuesday and will be in the lineup Friday night versus Medicine Hat).  Wallin and Sutter see the potential in him to kick start the Rebels apparent lack of depth when it comes to scoring.

"He was a good scorer at the bantam and midget level," noted Wallin.  "We're hoping that with a change of scenery here, and a fresh start, that he can start to produce and be a guy that can certainly be a top six forward for us and provide some offense."

Bellerive recorded 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 35 games with the Vancouver NW Giants (Midget AAA) and was a member of bronze medal winning Team Pacific for the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in the 2010-11 season (recording 2 points in 6 games).

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hitmen Spoil Rebels Home Opener Party

It’s the night the Rebels, and their loyal fans, had been waiting a long time for.  A chance to turn the page on a very long, difficult, injury-riddles 2011-2012 season.  And what better way to get things going than by taking on one of their arch rivals, the Calgary Hitmen, in their home opener.

The Hitmen came out quick, recording the first six shots on goal, but it was the Rebels who would open the scoring in this one.  A turnover at the Calgary blue line allowed Turner Elson to set up Colten Mayor.  He beat Hitmen goalie Chris Driedger with gloveside wrister to kick start the hometown fans and give the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 6:54 of the first period.

The lid came off the Enmax Centrium a few minutes later when Mathew Dumba lit up Joe Kornelson with a massive open ice hit at the Rebels blue line.  Unfortunately, Dumba was assessed a five minute major penalty for checking to the head and a game misconduct.  He also incurred a second major penalty after dropping the mitts with Darian Henry, who took obvious offense to the huge hit on his Hitmen teammate.

Calgary would take full advantage of their five minute powerplay.  Cody Sylvester would score with just 29 seconds left in the opening period to tie the game 1-1.  Brady Brassart and Pavlo Padakin with the assists.  Shots in the first period were 19-11 in favour of Calgary.

With Dumba’s penalty still on the clock to start the second period, Sylvester struck again to give the Hitmen their first lead of the night.  Brooks Macek and Chase Clayton assisted on the goal which came just 39 seconds into the middle frame.

Another Rebels penalty, another Hitmen goal.  With Turner Elson in the sin bin for tripping, Brady Brassart would put one past Patrik Bartosak.  Cody Sylvester, with his third point of the game, and Zane Jones with the assists.  3-1 Calgary at 6:44 period two.  The Hitmen would take their two goal lead into the final period.

The Rebels would get a powerplay of their own as they sought to overcome their deficit.  In fact, the Rebels found themselves with a pair of man advantages but would come up empty.  

In the final minute of the third period... Turner Elson gave the Rebels a glimmer of hope with his first goal of the season.  3-2 Calgary with 46.5 seconds remaining.  After a Calgary penalty, the Rebels would get two faceoffs deep in Hitmen territory but to no avail.  Final score - Hitmen 3, Rebels 2.  Final shots on net were 34-27 favouring Calgary.


1.  Cody Sylvester CGY

2.  Patrik Bartosak RD

3.  Brady Brassart CGY

Next game... the Rebels visit the reigning WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday afternoon.  Game time from Rexall Place is 2pm.  Cam Moon will be on with the pregame show on 106.7 The Drive starting at 1:50pm.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rebels: It's Show Time!

I have just one bit of advice for this year's edition of the Red Deer Rebels...

Win... and win often!

Easy to say, I know.  I say it not because I have the power to do anything if they don't... but because their General Manager does.

In an exclusive interview for our next episode of 'Southside Dodge Rebels This Week', Brent Sutter told be he isn't about to sit idly by the sidelines if this current assembled group struggles early.

WHL Central Division Preview

Here are the team previews for the WHL Central Division as compiled and released by the Western Hockey League...

Calgary Hitmen

General Manager: Kelly Kisio

Head Coach: Mike Williamson

2012 pre-season: 4-2-0-0

2011-12 Record: 44-25-2-1, 91pts (2nd in Central Div., 3rd in Eastern Conf.) GF: 273  GA: 221

2011-12 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 20.9% (12th); PK: 81.0% (4th)

2012 Playoffs: Lost in five games to Brandon in first round

2011-12 Top Scorers:

Jimmy Bubnick  72gp-36g-41a-77pts

Cody Sylvester  66gp-23g-45a-68pts

Victor Rask       64gp-33g-30a-63pts

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Playing For 'Keeps'

Joel Ward, Keith Hansen, Trevor Keeper
I will not use the obvious pun and say that RDC found a real keeper to coach their men's hockey program.

Whoops... I guess I just did.

Red Deer College President / CEO Joel Ward and Athletics Director Keith Hansen announced this morning that Trevor Keeper will be behind the bench when Kings Hockey returns to ACAC competition for the 2013-2014 season.

Keeper has a wealth of elite level coaching experience, including as an assistant coach with the Red Deer Rebels from 2003-07.  Trevor has also coached the Red Deer Midget AAA Rebels, at the World U17 and U18 championships with Team Canada, and various elite teams with Hockey Alberta.  Keeper coached the RDC Queens Hockey team this past season and will maintain those duties for the 2012-2013 season while building the Kings program at the same time.

For Keeper, the task is a daunting one.  To build a college men's hockey program from the ground up while also overseeing a women's program at the same time means he'll be busy to say the least.  But it's a challenge he's quite looking forward to.

"I relish that," Keeper said when asked about the pressure of making the Kings a contender in relatively short order.  "I want to be competitive right off the bat.  We have a plan for the first four or five years that we wanna be right at the top of the league."

Hansen echoed those sentiments.  He is fully confident that Keeper and his five year plan will have Kings Hockey where RDC wants it to be, at the top.

"There's no doubt in my mind about that.  I know Trevor feels the exact same way I do.  It is athletics and you play it to win, to be honest with you, and you play it to be as good as what you can be.  We're not going into the league just to be a solid team.  We want to go in being one of the best teams."

The reincarnated Kings have quite a lofty set of expectations to try and meet.  The past program won seven ACAC championships and three national titles. 

As you would expect, RDC received quite a number of applications for this particular coaching position.  But Hansen has no doubt they've made the right call by staying in-house and hiring Keeper.

"When you hire someone from within, you know them.  You know what kind of character they are, what kind of person they are, and what kind of coach they are," Hansen explained.  "He fit the bill perfectly.  He's a great instructor, a great leader, and I think will be the perfect person to bring the program back. 

Keeper says while they will be looking far and wide for the right players for their program, his main focus will be on building around a strong core of local talent.

"The key thing is to build from our Central Alberta base.  Six year ago, I coached the Midget AAA's here in town.  A lot of those guys are 20, 21, 22 right now.  Some of them have expressed interest in coming back already.  So that's where we're gonna be starting from."

One thing that definitely works in Keeper's favour when it comes to recruiting is the fact he has an entire year to do it.

"It would be extremely difficult if it was a shorter term.  Knowing that I have a year to do it, watching players over the course of the next season, speaking to them, meeting them face to face, talking to their parents even though they're in their early 20's.  Try to get some key recruits in, not just open the doors to anybody." 

Ward also used this morning's press conference to officially announce that RDC's bid to the ACAC to have Kings Hockey reinstated for 2013-2014 has been approved.

"We're very excited about it," Ward told the local media this morning.  "It took a lot of work and a lot of committment by a lot of people to make this happen.  But we absolutely believe that bringing back men's [college] hockey to Red Deer is the right thing to do.  This is the right time and we're committed to making it work."

The "re-addition" of Kings Hockey also makes RDC the only school to be competing in every single sport in the ACAC, something Hansen takes great pride in.

"We're the biggest athletic program in Alberta now," he explained.  "That was always for me a bit of a hole, without men's hockey.  Quite honestly, it was a big hole because it's a marquee sport.  This fills the hole without taking anything away from any other athletic team.  You get stronger when you get bigger and I think this will be fantastic for our program."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Countdown To The Home Opener...

Four weeks after it began... training camp for the Red Deer Rebels is over.

Rookies and veterans.  Free Agents and draftees.  Forwards.  Defense.  Goalies.  Just as a reporter, training camp is a lot to (try to) keep up with.  I can't imagine what Rebels brass goes through!

Anyway, the slicing and dicing and wheeling and dealing is pretty much done.  We know what this year's edition of the Red Deer Rebels will look like... for the most part.

Here's a quick rundown of the 24 players on the Rebels roster as of Tuesday afternoon...

  Patrik Bartosak '93
  Bolton Pouliot '94

  Devan Fafard '94
  Jan Bittner '93
  Haydn Fleury '96
  Stephen Hak '94
  Kayle Doetzel '95
  Mathew Dumba '94
  Riley Boomgaarden '94

  Conner Bleackley '96
  Turner Elson '92
  Cory Millette '95
  Colten Mayor '93
  Charles Inglis '92
  Jesse Miller '94
  Joel Hamilton '94
  Chad Robinson '93
  Scott Feser '95
  Brooks Maxwell '94
  Tyson Ness '93
  Adam Kambeitz '92
  Marc McCoy '94
  *Cody Thiel '95

Of note, Wyatt Johnson is not listed on the Rebels website roster.  But he remains with the team on a tryout basis and will suit up once his healthy enough to do so (concussion).

I have Cody Thiel listed here as a forward after his audition up front during preseason action.

Readers, give me your thoughts...

Who are you surprised to still see here? 

Who did the Rebels cut/reassign that you think should still be here instead?

Who will lead this team in scoring?  Will be there enough scoring?

What are your expectations for the Rebels this season?  Playoffs? Second round?  Basement dwellers?

The countdown to Friday's home opener is on.  No chance of a lockout screwing us out of a fun night at the rink!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rebels Shuffle Their Deck

Just when we thought we had it all figured out, the Red Deer Rebels shook things up in a somewhat substantial way on Wednesday.

First, they announced that both Vukie Mpofu ('96) and Dexter Bricker ('95) had both been reassigned, reducing the Rebels training camp roster to 24.

But then they added another forward, 18 year old Wetaskiwin native Ryley Bennefield, on a tryout basis.  Bennefield had two goals in preseason action this month with the Calgary Hitmen.

And then the Rebels announced the addition of yet another forward, 17 year old Wyatt Johnson, also on a tryout basis.  Johnson was second in team scoring for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers last season (45 points in 42 games) and was recently cut by the Vancouver Giants.

The battle for forward positions on this Rebels club, with only two preseason games remaining, has just become a whole lot more interesting.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Fresh Cote

Bentley Generals Head Coach
Brandin Cote
Coming off of a season in which they failed to make the Allan Cup for the first time since 2006, the Bentley Generals knew that the time for change had finally come.

After winning the cup in 2009, the Gens did an admirable job of scrapping their way back to the final tournament twice more only to come up just short. 

"We had to make some changes," team manager Jeff McInnis said on Wednesday.  "We were stagnant and we knew that.  We've learned a lot of lessons over the years. We watched other teams who are stagnant and you're saying 'gee, why don't they make changes?' But then you realize how hard it is to make changes when you're dealing with players who become your friends.  But you have to kind of separate that."

Letting go of a former NHL coach of the year definitely counts as change.  But in the minds of Bentley Generals management (McInnis and Team President Wes Gyori) it was the right thing to do.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Generals Look To Be "Hosts With The Most"

Tickets for the 2013 Allan Cup are now on-sale.

The Bentley Generals plan on giving their faithful 'army' plenty to cheer about, on and off the ice.

The 2009 Allan Cup Champs and three time runners-up will host the 105th edition of the Senior AAA national hockey championship at the Red Deer Arena from April 15th - 20th, 2013.

1,500 full tournament ticket packages are available.  You can also sign up to help out as a volunteer.  

Complete details are available on the tournament's official website -

Friday, August 31, 2012

Rebels Roster Taking Shape

We're starting to get a real good idea as to what the 2012-13 Red Deer Rebels roster will look like.

On Thursday, six more players were reassigned following another scrimmage game at the Penhold Multiplex...

Cole Chorney              F             Beaumont, AB             1996

Mathieu Lapointe        F             Edmonton, AB             1996

Matt Mitchell               G             Calgary, AB                 1995

Lynnden Pastachak     F              Bienfait, SK                1996

Tanner Reynolds         D             Calgary, AB                 1996

Chase Thudium           F             Sylvan Lake, AB          1996

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Black / White Game Rosters

Here are the rosters for tonight's McDonald's Black/White Game at the Enmax Centrium.  Game time is 7pm.  Admission is $2 for the Red Deer Firefighters Charity Fund...
Coaches - Brandon Sutter, Ted Vandermeer

30Grant NaherniakMoose Jaw, SK96
31Matt Mitchell Calgary, AB95
2Holden Daley Sherwood Park, AB96
3Jake MacLachlanFernie, BC96
4Haydn Fleury Carlyle, SK96
6Stephen HakWinnipeg, MB94
7Kevin PochukWinnipeg, MB95
8Riley BoomgaardenGrande Prairie, AB94
9Meyer Nell Boissevain, MB97
10Dexter BrickerSaskatoon, SK95
11Cory MilletteStorthoaks, SK95
12Colten MayorSt. Albert, AB93
14Lynnden PastachakBienfait, SK96
15Jesse MillerWinnipeg, MB94
16Joel HamiltonCochrane, AB94
17Trace ElsonSt. Albert, AB94
18Scott FeserRed Deer, AB95
19Vukie MpofuSaskatoon, SK96
23Adam KambeitzCoaldale, AB92
24Mathew DumbaCalgary, AB94
25Marc McCoyEdmonton, AB94
Coaches - Devin Francon, Colin Fraser

30Taz BurmanVancouver, BC97
31Bolton PouliotCalgary, AB94
2Devan FafardCarlyle, SK94
3Jan BittnerMost, CZR93
4Tanner ReynoldsCalgary, AB96
5Cody Thiel Bruno, SK93
6Cole PerisonKamloops, BC97
7Austin StrandCalgary, AB97
8Kayle Doetzel Rosetown, SK95
9Conner BleackleyHigh River, AB96
10Turner ElsonSt. Albert, AB92
11Chase Thudium Sylvan Lake, AB96
12Mathieu LapointeEdmonton, AB96
14Charles InglisSaskatoon, SK92
15Brayden BurkeEdmonton, AB97
16Cole Chorney Beaumont, AB96
17Chad RobinsonMinnedosa, MB93
18Grayson PawlenchukArdrossan, AB97
19Brooks MaxwellRaymond, AB94
20Earl WebbCalgary, AB96
22Tyson NessGrande Prairie, AB93

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Return For Hamilton

As I mentioned last night, it was great to see the Rebels veterans back on the ice for the first time this week.  It was especially great to see last year's injured players back out there at full speed.

The one guy you perhaps feel the best for is Joel Hamilton.  No one has had a longer, tougher road back to the ice.

It was a scary moment when Joel suffered a back injury on February 11th which ended his season.  A seemingly harmless hit along the bench-side boards versus the Moose Jaw Warriors ended up in Joel fracturing his L1 and L2 vertebrae (see my blog from Feb. 12 for more).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Brent Sutter Takes Over As Rebels GM

He'd long been thinking about making a move to bring a General Manager.  In the end, he needed look no further than in the mirror to find his man.

This afternoon, Red Deer Rebels Owner/President Brent Sutter announced that is taking over as the team's General Manager.

Jesse Wallin will now focus solely on his head coaching duties.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A New Hope

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."

Cheesy Star Wars reference?  Absolutely. 

Applicable to the Red Deer Rebels?  Absolutely.

The Rebels are making it very clear that the disastrous, injury-riddled 2012-2013 season is now a thing of the past... the very distant past... and that this is their time to 'strike back!' (insert lightsaber sound effect here)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rebels Trim Coaching Staff

Chris Neiszner
There will be one less man behind the Red Deer Rebels bench this season.

GM and Head Coach Jesse Wallin announced that the Rebels have not renewed the contract of Assistant Coach Chris Neiszner for the 2012-13 season.

Neiszner, who played four seasons with the Rebels from 2001-05, joined the team's coaching staff prior to the 2010-11 season.

In announcing the move, Wallin made it clear the decision was not based on performance... but instead on the return of some 'help from above."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Eagles Have Landed Sutter

The 65th season of Innisfail Eagles hockey has taken flight, quickly.

The Chinook Hockey League team confirmed today that Brian Sutter is their new Head Coach, bringing along longtime assistants Brian Stephenson and Jason Lenz and other support staff with him.

Brian spent five of the past six seasons coaching the Bentley Generals.  He guided them to four Allan Cup appearances including their championship win in 2009.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Wild Birthday Milestone For Dumba

Courtesy:  Minnesota Star Tribune
Time to dust off the keyboard and do a bit of blogging for the first time in what seems like way too much time off.

As Mathew Dumba today celebrates his 18th birthday, I figured it would be a good idea to catch up with the star Red Deer Rebels defenceman. 

From playing at the World U-18's (becoming the first blueliner to lead the tournament in scoring), to being selected 7th overall by Minnesota at the NHL Entry Draft, to skating at the Wild's summer development camp and signing his entry level contract... "off-season" hasn't been a part of Dumba's vocabulary.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'REBELS THIS WEEK' Returns for Season 2


For Immediate Release
Monday, July 23, 2012

RED DEER, AB – Following a successful first season, Rebels This Week (RTW) has announced a renewed sponsorship agreement with Southside Dodge Chrysler Jeep for the upcoming 2012-2013 season.

The agreement will showcase Southside Dodge as the exclusive title sponsor for a second consecutive year, which also marks the return of Rebels This Week for another season of the television and internet based program.