Gay excited for opportunity with Rebels

The Regina Pats decided that being solidly in second place in the WHL’s Eastern Division wasn’t proof positive that the team would experience a lengthy playoff run come spring.

The Regina Pats decided that being solidly in second place in the WHL’s Eastern Division wasn’t proof positive that the team would experience a lengthy playoff run come spring.

Therefore, with a bigger focus on the future, Pats head coach and senior vice-president of hockey operations John Paddock dealt away his top 19-year-old players, starting with forward and Calgary Flames prospect Morgan Klimchuk and followed by defenceman Kyle Burroughs and forwards Dryden Hunt and Connor Gay.

Klimchuk was dealt to the Brandon Wheat Kings last Friday and on Monday Paddock sent Burroughs and Hunt to the Medicine Hat Tigers and Gay to the Red Deer Rebels. Coming back the other way were younger players and draft picks, although the Rebels also got a first- and second-round pick due to the fact that arguably their top prospect, Jake Leschyshyn, was included in the deal.

Gay would have been happy if he had survived the purge, but he’s more than OK with being the newest addition to the Rebels roster.

“The Pats made the decision that they wanted to base the team around the younger guys. I respect that decision and I’m lucky enough to come to Red Deer,” the 19-year-old right winger said Wednesday following his first practice with the Rebels.

“I’m extremely excited about getting the opportunity to play in this organization. It’s a pretty good feeling.”

Gay, who instantly becomes the Rebels’ leading scorer with 20 goals and 44 points in 39 games this season, felt he would be staying with the Pats as a veteran presence once Burroughs and Hunt had been dealt to the Tigers earlier Monday.

“When Dryden and Kyle got traded to Medicine Hat I thought I might be OK to be staying in Regina,” said Gay. “But I knew there was a possibility I might be traded because I had talked to John. He couldn’t give me an answer either way.

“But it’s history now and I’m here and I’m happy.”

Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter isn’t expecting Gay to become the Rebels’ primary go-to guy. Sutter merely expects the six-foot, 190-pound Saskatoon native to continue to play to his potential.

“We’re looking for him to provide us with a real good veteran presence,” said the Rebels boss. “He’s got a knack for scoring goals. He’s good around the net and just from watching him in practice you can tell he’s a real smart player.

“He’s not going to be a guy who is physically dominant, but he’s going to battle and win battles just from having good size. He’s a smart player who knows how to play the game and that’s what we want from him.”

As a third-year WHL player, Gay feels that he harbours leadership skills.

“I like to think so. I’m a guy who doesn’t speak a ton but I like to do it with my play,” he said. “ I work hard and hopefully I can help this team continue to win.”

Gay will make his Rebels debut Friday night versus the host Kootenay Ice, skating on a line with Presten Kopeck and centre Brooks Maxwell. Meanwhile, Wyatt Johnson will move onto a line with Riley Sheen and Conner Bleackley.

The Rebels will host the Brandon Wheat Kings Saturday.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Rebels

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A worker is constructing the frame of a new building at Clearview Ridge, near 30th Avenue and 67th Street in Red Deer. (Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff).
Alberta wages fell more than any other province in Canada in 2020

Alberta compensation fell by six per cent last year

People board and leave at the Century Park light-rail transit station in Edmonton on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Racism is a real problem:’ Growing number of attacks against Black Muslim women

‘Racism is a real problem:’ Growing number of attacks against Black Muslim women

Alberta Health Services declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Revera Aspen Ridge on Feb. 1. (Photo by Advocate staff)
Two COVID deaths linked to Revera seniors residence in Red Deer

35 active COVID cases at seniors residence

Red Deer musician Lorry Boschman has written a song about love in the time of COVID-19. Proceeds from his single, Romance during a Pandemic, will be donated to the local United Way. (Contributed photo).
Local musician records a song about love in the time of COVID-19 — for charity

Lorry Boschman will donate some proceeds to the United Way

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre can accommodate up to 20 patients requiring a ventilator, says Alberta Health Services.  File photo by Advocate staff
Opinion: UCP government reneging on Red Deer hospital funding

Another year, another Alberta budget and another blow to central Albertans. Budget… Continue reading

Seattle Storm guards Sue Bird, right, and Jordin Canada pose for photos Wednesday, March 3, 2021, on the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle after they raised a flag with the team's new logo on it. Bird re-signed with the Storm earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Lille players celebrate after Jonathan David scored his side's second goal during the French League One soccer match between Lille and Marseille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

Canada defender Shelina Zadorsky, right, passes the ball in front of Argentina forward Sole Jaimes (9) during the second half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. Alphonso Davies and Shelina Zadorsky have been named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack
Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Manchester United's Fred, left, and Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park stadium in London, England, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Mike Hewitt/Pool via AP)
Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) dunks as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The undermanned Toronto Raptors, down five players and six members of their coaching staff due to health and safety protocols, are scheduled to host the Detroit Pistons in their first action since last Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Carlos Osorio
Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Canada's Ghislaine Landry, left, runs past France players during the Women's Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco, Friday, July 20, 2018. The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, grounded last year by the pandemic, will return for the women in May. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Chiu
World Rugby unveils condensed 2021 sevens schedule with Vancouver a question-mark

World Rugby unveils condensed 2021 sevens schedule with Vancouver a question-mark

Most Read