Monday, January 30, 2012

Rebels Finning KidSport Fundraiser

For just the second time in team history, the Rebels will be donning special 'one night only' jerseys in support of a great local cause.

Two years ago, the Rebels and Finning got together to help out Ronald McDonald House here in Red Deer. This time, they are teaming up to raise funds for KidSport.

Saturday night during their home game versus Calgary, the Rebels will wear these new one-time jerseys (as modelled by yours truly in the above pic!) that will be up for silent auction. Up until the end of the first intermission, fans can bid on each player's jersey for the chance to take them home following the game. All proceeds raised through the silent auction will go to the Red Deer chapter of KidSport.

The goal is to raise $20,000 which would help 80 kids (or more) get involved with sports. Find out more about this fantastic cause by visiting

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rally For The Ages

(ok... maybe I went a bit over the top with the headline... or maybe not lol)

It's not just 'that' the Red Deer Rebels won last night... but 'how' they won that could prove to be a launching point for the rest of the season.

Trailing the high flying Tri City Americans 2-0 after two periods of play last night at the Enmax Centrium. That meant they Rebels would need comeback of Herculean proportions to salvage any points and gain ground on Brandon (who lost 6-2 in Edmonton FYI).

John Persson would carry out the first (not necessarily out of 12) task for the Rebels when he got them on the board early in the third period, cutting their deficit to 2-1. It was a skilled goal by a skilled player as Johnny P showed some great hands in tight before tucking the puck past Americans goalie Eric Comrie.

That lit the fuse for the fans in the stands as the thousands of Rebels faithful in attendance had been anxiously waiting for their hometown heroes make a rally.

Next up... Deven Dubyk with a number of outstanding saves to keep the Rebels in it (really, he'd already been doing that through the first two periods). But in the third period Dubyk's highway robberies of both Patrick Holland and Adam Hughesman set the stage another Rebels hero to step up.

Cue Mathew Dumba. With 9:08 remaining in the third period, Dumba broke into the offensive zone for a shot on net, only to be stopped by Comrie. But the fine young defenceman followed up and jammed home his own rebound to tie the game 2-2. And if you thought the crowd was into it after Persson's goal...

The Rebels and Americans then traded scoring chances through the rest of the third period. But after sixty minutes of play and 75 combined shots on net this game was going to overtime.

But not for long...

Not satisfied with just tying this game up, Dumba took it upon himself to score the game winner for the Rebels as well. Just 38 seconds into the extra frame, he roofed a shot high past Comrie.

The Herculean comeback was complete... which for me created two causes for concern... the state of the Enmax Centrium after the raucous crowd lifted the lid... and the state of my left elbow following a rather exuberant fist pump.

The win itself is important, of course. But coming back from being two goals down against one of the best teams in the entire CHL is the kind of thing that will provide this Rebels team with a "we can beat anyone, on any night" mentality.

And they will need to apply that mentality starting tonight in what Jesse Wallin admits is the 'biggest game of the year' for his club. The Brandon Wheat Kings visit the Enmax Centrium two points up on the Rebels for the eighth and final playoff spot. With a win tonight, the Rebels would technically stake claim to the playoff spot due to less games played.

Oh... it's also 80's night tonight... can't wait to see and hear what the evening has in store!


- Adam Kambeitz is the biggest cause for concern coming out of last night's game. The Rebels captain was slashed late in the first period and went down awkwardly. He gutted out a couple of shifts early in the second period before leaving the game for good. His status for tonight is TBA.

- You can also add defenceman Kayle Doetzel to the Rebels list of injuries. He missed last night's game with an upper body injury he suffered Wednesday night versus Vancouver.

- It really was fun to see the Feser brothers play against each other for the first, and quite possibly only, time ever. Older brother Justin has been quite a leader for the Americans during his four seasons with Tri City. Scott definitely has the potential to do the same with the Rebels. Americans coach Jim Hiller is definitely impressed with the younger Feser!

- Red Deer minor hockey products Derek Ryckman, acquired earlier this season from Lethbridge, and Mitch Topping were also in the line up for the Americans last night.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Charles In Charge

The Red Deer Rebels were going to beat the Vancouver Giants. No discussion necessary... the Rebels were going to win. Plain and simple.

Why? Because Charles Inglis said so.

The 19-year-old forward played his best game as a Rebel in leading Red Deer to a 4-2 victory Wednesday night at the Enmax Centrium.

The second period, in particular, was a treat to watch as Inglis torched the Giants for a goal and two assists... and he could have had more. His physical play at both ends of the rink was too much for Vancouver to handle. And his chemistry playing on a line with Tyson Ness and Colten Mayor was quite evident. His 11th goal of the season, and second as a Rebel, invoked memories of Mark Messier coming in on his off-wing and leaning into a sizzling wrist shot. Young Payton Lee had no chance at making the save.

The came could be said for Conner Bleackley's first ever WHL goal. The Rebels' first selection in the 2011 Bantam Draft let loose with a scorching wrister of his own in the second period to join the likes of Alex Petrovic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as players who have scored their first goal while still a 15-year-old. Exciting things await when it comes to this skilled young forward. As Jesse Wallin noted post-game "You put him out there and he looks like he belongs."

The Rebels also received some much appreciated help on the out of town scoreboard when Calgary blasted Brandon 7-2. Red Deer now trails Brandon by four points for the final playoff spot in the east. The Rebels still hold three games at hand.

Next up for the Rebels... a visit from the Tri City Americans Friday night.


- Mathew Dumba continues to play his best hockey of the season. With two more assists against the Giants, the draft eligible defenceman has 7 points in his last 4 games. He also had a picture perfect hip check early in the third period which brought the crowd to its feet. Unfortunately, it also brought Dumba a minor penalty for tripping.

- With a goal and an assist versus the Giants, Colten Mayor ties Turner Elson for second place in team scoring for the Rebels with 35 points. Elson has 16 goals, Mayor has 14.

- Deven Dubyk was not spectacular, but he was solid in making 29 saves to improve to 8-7-1-1 this season.

- Rebels scratches were Devan Fafard (upper body), Brooks Maxwell (upper), Justin Weller (wrist), Marc Mackenzie (upper) and Patrik Bartosak. Mackenzie looks favourable to return to the Rebels lineup next week.

- 15-year-old goalie Payton Lee suffered his first loss of the season for the Giants in his third game. Jackson Whistle came in for the third period and did not allow a goal against (making one spectacular diving save on Mayor in the final minutes). Starting goaltender Adam Morrison remains out, listed as 'day to day'

- Brendan Gallagher and David Musil both returned to the Giants lineup from their stints on the injured list

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dumba Taking Flight


That has been the key to Mathew Dumba's recent offensive success according to Rebels GM and Head Coach Jesse Wallin.

"He's a very passionate guy and he wants to be a difference. But at you move on at this level and beyond, even more so at the next level, sometimes as a defenceman less is more. He's played very assertively but has kept his game simple. He's not trying to rush the puck every time he gets it. He's just getting shots through to the net, making a good first pass, finding the open man."

Dumba has five points, including three goals, in his last three games while continuing to bring the thundering physical presence that has made him a fan favorite and top draft prospect. The 18-year-old admits being cut from Team Canada for the World Juniors took quite a while to get over, but he's finally done just that.

"I played so good at that camp and I knew coming back to the team that I wanted to bring as much back as I could and show that experience. I wanted to make an impact and didn't do that initially. But the slump was good for me in that I worked my way out of it."

Another key to Dumba's offensive surge has been some good chemistry with Turner Elson. They combined for a highlight reel 2-on-0 shorthanded goal versus Prince George last Saturday. Elson finished the game with four points, Dumba with three.

"It started in Brandon when we hooked up for a goal there. It hasn't really stopped yet. It's going good and we'd like to keep it going."

It's safe to say that if the Rebels hope to establish any sort of consistency in their chase for a playoff spot that #24 will play a key role.

The Rebels host the Vancouver Giants at the Enmax Centrium tomorrow night at 7pm.


So instead of the Boston Bruins being able to enjoy their big moment at the White House with President Obama and the Stanley Cup, all anyone is talking about is Tim Thomas.

The Conn Smythe trophy winning goalie, and only American born player on the Bruins roster, was the only player who did not attend yesterday's ceremony. His reason... "I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People." He added "This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country."

I'm not too sure where I come out on this one. Normally, I am all for players exercising their right to express their opinions and personal beliefs. But part of me feels Thomas is being a bit selfish here. I dunno. What do you think?


As expected as yesterday's move was, it's still sad for me to know that the Joffrey Reynolds era in Calgary is over. In future years when we look back at #21's time with the Stampeders, the two words that will jump to mind first will be "Class Act." Never did he exemplify that more than this past 2011 season after he was demoted in favour of Jon Cornish. Not once did Reynolds raise a stink about it. He definitely could have, creating big time problems for the Stamps in the process, but he put the team ahead of himself and soldiered on. In due time, he will be enshrined on the Stamepders' Wall of Honour and eventually the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. But for now he deserves the opportunity to continue his career elsewhere.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rebels Maul Cougars

Rebels - 5
Cougars - 1
[WHL game summary -]

It was good... but it can be better. It needs to be better.

The Red Deer Rebels played well in their 5-1 win last night at the Enmax Centrium over the Prince George Cougars. It was certainly much, much better than what we all saw in their 5-1 loss to Calgary last Tuesday. Safe to say the "extended conditioning work" at practice this week paid immediate dividends.

As good as last night's performance was, it was fairly solid overall, the Rebels need to take their game up another notch as they head into today's game versus the Hitmen [4pm in Calgary, Cam Moon has the broadcast on 106.7 The Drive starting at 3:50].

The Cougars came into last night's game as a beaten and worn down group. They lost Friday night in Calgary 5-1 and were minus the services of six regulars versus the Rebels [a tune tragically familiar for Rebels fans].

Despite this, PG actually controlled the play through much of the first period. They did not score on their opening powerplay but looked dangerous throughout. The Cougars also looked poised to score on their second powerplay of the period until Turner Elson and Mathew Dumba found themselves on a rare shorthanded 2-on-0. They worked it to perfection as Dumba would tap home his 13th goal of the season for a 1-0 Rebels lead. Had the Cougars converted on their powerplay instead of the Rebels scoring shorthanded, this game may have been much different.

There also wasn't much to give between the two teams in the second period until Dumba set up Elson for a powerplay goal late in the frame. The Rebels took a 2-0 lead in to the final period where they would score three more times to seal the deal.

It was a decent effort overall by the Rebels. One that was good enough to beat the ninth place team in the Western Conference [FYI the Rebels 45 points would have them in 5th place in that conference] but whether it would have been good enough to beat a hot team like Calgary is up for debate. The Hitmen come into this afternoon's game winners of 9 of their last 10 games. That includes, of course, their way too easy win in Red Deer just a few days ago.

Back-to-back wins. An absolute necessity for the Rebels as they continue their desperate playoff chase but also something they still have not accomplished since November. A win today puts the Rebels just two points behind Brandon [who lost 7-3 last night to Kootenay] for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Red Deer will have two games at hand after today.

Other Notes...

- Deven Dubyk was oh so close to notching the shutout last night. The Cougars lone goal came early in the third period when Cody Carlson's point shot bounced off of a Rebels player [Colten Mayor we think] and into the net. Otherwise, it was a solid 32 save performance for the 20-year-old netminder.

- This was the first meeting between the Rebels and Cougars since the December 29th Daulton Siwak / Charles Inglis trade. Neither player factored into the scoring last night. There was quite a large contingent of Siwak supporters in the building which I know meant a lot to the 18-year-old Olds, Alberta native.

- Turner Elson was an easy choice as the games first star with two goals and two assists. Dumba was the second star with a goal and two assists. Adam Kambeitz, who chipped in with a goal of his own, was named by Mike Moller as the game's third star.

- 2011 1st rd bantam draft pick Conner Bleackley played in his 4th game with the Rebels last night. With the Rebels wearing their third jerseys last night, Bleackley wore #21 as opposed to #9 which he wore in his previous three appearances. Devan Fafard and Brooks Maxwell were the Rebels' healthy scratches.

- The Rebels could use some help from their divisional rivals this week. Brandon visits Kootenay on Tuesday, Calgary on Wednesday, and Edmonton on Friday before coming to Red Deer to play the Rebels next Saturday [which is 80's night at the Centrium!].

- The Rebels will be donning a special 'one night only' jersey when they host Calgary on February 4th. The team is joining forces with Finning to raise money for Kidsport. More details to come when they are available.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Free-For-All

It's everyone's favorite day of the work week... and it's starting to warm up outside (you may not notice it right away but trust me it's happening)...

The Red Deer Rebels will be doing some scoreboard watching tonight as the Brandon Wheat Kings take on the Saskatoon Blades. The Wheaties are four points up on the Rebels for the final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference (Rebels do have two games at hand).

Last night, a few of the boys ventured out to Blackfalds for the first Enmax Pond Hockey session of the season. Chad Robinson (@RoboCop_17) posted a pic of them getting set to sign autographs for dozens of their young fans.!/RoboCop_17/status/160197509338234880/photo/1

The Prince George Cougars come calling to the Enmax Centrium tomorrow night. It'll be the first game since the Rebels acquired Charles Inglis from the Cougars in exchange for Daulton Siwak back on December 29th. Puck drop is at 7:30pm (pre-game show on The Drive starts at 7pm) with post-game fireworks to follow.


You may just see me in Sylvan Lake tonight to watch the Bentley Generals take on the Admirals in Chinook Hockey League action. Should be a great game as they get closer to the end of the regular season. Game time tonight at the Medican Multiplex is at 8:30pm.


You may also see me at RDC taking in some ACAC volleyball action as the Kings and Queens play host to the SAIT Trojans. Action starts at 6pm (Queens first, Kings to follow). There is basketball action at RDC tomorrow night also starting at 6pm, also vs. SAIT.


Along with the rest of the sporting world... I'm quite saddened by the tragic loss of Sarah Burke. It's safe to say her legacy will live strong for years to come.


My heart wants the Ravens and 49ers to win the AFC and NFC championship games this weekend... but my head says the Patriots and Giants will come out victorious. Of the possible Superbowl match-ups, Giants vs. Ravens would be the least interesting (by a landslide)... 49ers vs. Ravens (Harbaugh Bowl) would be fascinating, don't ya think!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday Stuff

Twitter offered some obvious clues as to how the Rebels spent their practice on Wednesday...

@JohnPersson21 - Bagger at the rink today with the fellas!

@CharlesInglis - Nothing brings the boys together like a team #bagger

@RoboCop_17 - Good day at rink today #bagger. And good night with some of the fellas #timmies

The Rebels host the Prince George Cougars on Saturday night at the Enmax Centrium. Game time is 7:30.

Last night, the Cougars were blanked 5-0 by Edmonton.

Brandon beat Saskatoon 6-4. That puts the Wheaties six points up on the Rebels for the final playoff spot in the WHL Eastern Conference (Rebels do have two games at hand).


Prince Albert Raiders forward (and Trochu native) Mike Winther has been added for the CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game. The 18-year-old forward is ranked #26 amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Winther will play alongside Mathew Dumba for Team Cherry in Kelowna on February 1st.


I was chatting with Debbie Brigley from the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum the other night. They are still taking nominations for their Class of 2012. Visit

Also... you can still submit nominations for the 2012 Red Deer Community Sport Awards by visiting

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Those are Jesse Wallin's words. Not mine.

Not that there is much to argue... last night's 5-1 Rebels loss to the Calgary Hitmen at the Enmax Centrium was quite possibly their poorest effort of the season.

You could see signs in the first period that the Hitmen were destined for big things. But the Rebels did just enough to hang on and keep the game scoreless through the opening twenty minutes.

Reason for hope came 4:09 into the second period when Mathew Dumba opened the scoring with his 12th of the season. That went up in smoke when Calgary tied the game just 39 seconds later. At 11:29 the Hitmen went ahead 2-1. They added three more goals in the third period to pull away for the win.

One would be wasting their time to try to figure out why the Rebels came out flat last night. The bottom line is that for a team that is supposedly desperate to get back into a playoff spot... the effort was inexcusable.

The Hitmen do deserve kudos for earning their eighth win in a row. But the least the Rebels could have done is made it tough for them to earn. No longer are injuries an excuse.

"Every goal we handed right to them" said Wallin post-game "our forwards were quitting on the backcheck and our defense was getting beat one one one. It was just a lot of soft, soft, soft, soft plays tonight." Not exactly a glowing review.

A few other quick notes...

- kudos to Alex Petrovic and Charles Inglis for coming to the aid of teammates who were checked from behind into the boards last night. The downside the Rebels lost their services for 17 minutes each, Petrovic in the first period and Inglis in the third

- kudos to the brave fans who came out to the Enmax Centrium despite the brutal conditions outside... you weren't necessarily big in numbers but you were big in spirit... keep hanging in there, your team needs you!

- Marc Mackenzie missed last night's game with an upper body injury he suffered Saturday night in Swift Current. He will also miss both games this coming weekend and is officially listed as out 'week to week'

- Thanks to Mooner for letting me sit in his chair while we sorted out some 'technical difficulties' with my booth in the lounge... it could have been a disaster but we pulled it out of the fire just fine!