With the spectacle
that was the Subway Super Series now in the books, the focus for junior hockey
fans in Central Alberta returns squarely on the exploits of the Red Deer
are coming off of what was perhaps their best home effort of the season thus
far, definitely their best since their return from November’s ArgiTrade induced
road trip.My question for Lukas Sutter
on Thursday, what was the key to success that night?
To call the last few weeks in
the life of Red Deer Rebels forward Conner Bleackley “eventful”
would be a gross understatement of fact.
In a huge off-season
when it comes to his future as a hockey player, Bleackley’s hockey
efforts were abruptly put on hold when his hometown of High River was
devastated by June’s massive floods.
Bleackley, he and his family made it through the traumatic experience
relatively unscathed compared with many others.
“We got all
of our valuable stuff out of the basement but it was devastating to
see the rest of the damage in and around High River,” Bleackley
told me over the phone today. “All the houses on our street, some
of the families won’t be able to recover from the flood which is
sad to see. We were fortunate that all we lost was some stuff and
that everyone was out ok and all my friends and family were not
I am fortunate enough
to have been invited by Hockey Alberta to serve as moderator for an
interesting, and quite possibly emotional, forum discussion taking
place tomorrow night as part of their Annual General Meeting.
The topic of
discussion… body checking. There has been no shortage of opinions
voiced both for and against Hockey Alberta’s, followed by Hockey
Canada’s, decision to eliminate body checking from pee wee hockey.
The bottom line is there’s no turning back. The decision
has been made and the focus of tomorrow night’s forum will be on
“what’s next.” Now that this change is being made, how do we
(coaches, managers, officials, players, parents, etc.) move forward
while also improving the game of hockey?
Even though I’ll only be around for
the first day, I’m quite looking forward to this year’s edition
of the Red Deer Rebels annual prospects camp.
34 players will
hit the ice at the Penhold Multiplex Friday (3-5pm), Saturday
(3:45-5:45pm) and Sunday (9-11am) with all three sessions open to the
If 34 seems like a high of players
number that’s because, compared to past years, it is. Usually,
somewhere around two dozen players come to town for this annual camp.
The increased camp roster will provide a new and interesting
“We’ll have enough players that we
can have 17 on each team, so we’ll scrimmage more than we did in
the past,” Rebels GM / Head Coach Brent Sutter told Greg Meachem
(@GregMeachem) of the Red Deer Advocate.
It makes sense. It can only help these
up and coming players to put them head to head and see what they’re
made of. Let them measure themselves against each other so see where
they are now and where they need to be in order to someday make this