Riley Sheen wants to make one thing clear — he didn’t ask to be dealt by the struggling Lethbridge Hurricanes.
In fact, the 20-year-old winger was highly appreciative of his time with the ‘Canes, a team that has experienced in-house strife, and certainly took the high road when discussing Monday’s transaction that moved him to the Red Deer Rebels.
“It was unexpected at the time,” he said Wednesday, less than 24 hours after making a sterling Rebels debut with two goals and an assist in a 9-5 loss to the visiting Calgary Hitmen.
“I knew there might be a chance of me being traded with me being a 20-year-old, but I really did enjoy my time in Lethbridge. It would have been nice to win a few more games there, but overall everybody in that organization was great.
“I know there’s been a lot going in with Lethbridge with guys quitting and stuff, but this (trade) wasn’t one of those situations. They were kind enough to give me an opportunity to play and I’m very thankful for that, and so far everyone has been great here and I’m also very thankful for that and the opportunity the (Rebels) are giving me.”
Sheen, listed at five-foot-10 and 155 pounds on the Rebels website, plays larger than his size and his overall package includes a mix of speed, skill and grit. He’s an offensive threat and an effective shift disturber.
“That’s what they brought me in here to do,” said the Edmonton native, who was traded from Seattle to Lethbridge early last season and has also played with the Medicine Hat Tigers. “This is a team that likes four lines that go hard with a lot of speed and a lot of attack. And yeah, I’d like to think that I’m a skilled guy, but also a guy who plays that feisty game and tries to get into those dirty areas.
“I’m a smaller guy so I try to be slippery out there. I feel like I fit the description pretty well.”
Despite Tuesday’s setback, an anomaly of sorts considering the Hitmen connected nine times on only 27 shots, Sheen sees loads of potential with his new team.
“While playing against them earlier in the season you could see that they’re a four-line group that comes at you all night,” he said.
“Last night was just kind of a weird game. They (Hitmen) were getting some bounces obviously and a couple of times they bumped into our tendy and pucks found their way in. But when you look at the game, we outshot them and I feel like we deserved a bit better fortune. But when you come out and spot a team like Calgary five goals, your chances aren’t good over the next 40 (minutes).
“It was nice that we never gave up and we battled back and made it a game for a while. But again, when you spot a team five goals you don’t have much of a chance.”
Sheen was arguably the best player on the ice Tuesday, but was more interested in speaking about the team’s performance and future promise than his personal success.
“Obviously it would have been nice to get a win, but you look at the standings and this team has a lot of wins,” he said. “The team came into last night’s game having won eight in a row at home. That’s obviously a good sign and we’ll be taking care of business here coming up.
“We understand as players and the coaching staff knows that that kind of game is unacceptable. The conference is so tight that we can’t have those kind of games, especially against teams from just up and down the road from us, and I feel we’ll have a good rebound here Friday (versus the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors).”