Chance to play for something big

If they’re both back in Red Deer next year, they’ll be disappointed. Red Deer Rebels stars Haydn Fleury and Conner Bleackley were selected in the first round of June’s NHL entry draft — seventh overall to Carolina and 23rd to Colorado — and both attended their first professional training camps last month.

If they’re both back in Red Deer next year, they’ll be disappointed.

Red Deer Rebels stars Haydn Fleury and Conner Bleackley were selected in the first round of June’s NHL entry draft — seventh overall to Carolina and 23rd to Colorado — and both attended their first professional training camps last month.

Both, of course, are back with the Rebels and will be in the lineup tonight against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, but both have their sights set on playing in The Show as early as next year.

So, yes, they’ll be somewhat disjointed if they’re reassigned to the Rebels two years in succession, but shattered? Hardly, not with the Rebels already set up as hosts of the 2016 Memorial Cup tournament.

“That will be my goal — to not be back in Red Deer next year,” Fleury said Thursday, following a press conference at Westerner Park that followed Wednesday’s Memorial Cup announcement.

“But if I do get sent back I know I’ll be playing for something real big. It will make it that much easier knowing we’ll be playing for something next season.

“Plus, we’ll have a good team. Brent (Rebels GM/head coach Sutter) will make sure of that.”

Bleackley feels he’ll be a winner no matter the scenario.

“For me, it’s definitely a win-win,” he said. “I can either play in the National Hockey League or be back here with an very competitive team and the opportunity to play in the Memorial Cup.

“Either way you look at it, it’s going to be good for myself.”

Fleury and Bleackley are excited about the notion of playing in major junior hockey’s championship event a year and a half down the road and their younger teammates will undoubtedly embrace the opportunity as well.

“We have lots of guys in their draft year this season and realistically a bunch of them, if they have a good year, could get drafted and that would just create more of a vibe around our team that we could carry into next season,” said Fleury.

As the Rebels’ top defenceman and forward, Fleury and Bleackley are two players at the centre of a core that includes the likes of 17-year-old forwards Adam Musil and 16-year-old defenceman Josh Mahura, along with rookie forward Jeff de Wit.

The lure of performing in the Memorial Cup tournament might also result in top-end American forwards Austin Pratt and Grant Mismash joining the team for the 2015-16 season. The Rebels feel good about their chances of landing Pratt, but prior to Wednesday’s announcement were not convinced that Mismash will head north.

“Brent has been pushing for this ever since I’ve been here and it’s definitely an exciting time for not only the organization but the whole city of Red Deer and Central Alberta,” said Bleackley.

The Rebels will host the Brandon Wheat Kings Saturday night and next week will welcome the Victoria Royals to the Centrium for a Tuesday game.

The Rebels will then head east on a two-game trip that will include stops in Saskatoon and Prince Albert Oct. 17 and 18.


Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Red Deer Emergency Services responded to an explosion at a duplex on Rupert Crescent Saturday morning. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters respond to explosion in Red Deer early Saturday morning

There was an explosion at a Red Deer duplex early Saturday morning.… Continue reading

Terry Betts, of Kananaskis, looks at the vehicle he was hoping to sell during the Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet in the Westerner Park parking lot Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet held outdoors

A big automotive swap meet was held outdoors this year in Red… Continue reading

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is set to re-open on July 2. (File Photo)
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to reopen Monday

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will reopen for visitors… Continue reading

Huzaifa (left), Saif (middle) and Zoya (right) were among the 60 or so Red Deerians who participated in a vigil for the victims of a recent terrorist attack that killed four people in London Ont. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer vigil honours victims of London, Ont. terrorist attack

About 60 people gathered at the corner of 49 Ave. and 50… Continue reading

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Multivitamins are shown on the packaging line at the Pfizer plant in Montreal, Thursday, July 12, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canadian drug companies want new pricing regs delayed again until after pandemic

OTTAWA — Almost three dozen Canadian pharmaceutical companies made a direct appeal… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — The massive $70 million dollar Lotto Max jackpot remained unclaimed… Continue reading

Most Read