Adam Helewka was a hit at home with the Red Deer Rebels Saturday, now he’s hoping to showcase his scoring prowess away from the Centrium.
“It’s my first road trip with the boys. It will be a big four points (available) and hopefully we can get all four,” the Rebels’ recently-acquired winger said Monday, as the club prepared to depart on a two-game trip.
Helewka played his first game as a Rebel Saturday and was an instant contributor, scoring once and picking up three assists in a 10-0 drubbing of the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings.
“There are some great leaders on this team and my teammates welcomed me nicely and really helped me out,” he said of his Rebels debut. “They gave me tips and helped me with the system. Everything they did was a big help for me getting into the lineup.
“Playing with (linemates) (Ivan) Nikolishin and (Jake) DeBrusk … they made the game so easy for me.”
Helewka will not only compete in the Memorial Cup tournament this year as a member of the host team, he’ll also be playing for a pro contract in this, his final WHL season.
Drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the fourth round of last year’s NHL entry draft, he started the season with the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL. He appeared in three games with the Sharks’ main affiliate — picking up a single assist — before being sent back to the Spokane Chiefs, with whom he scored 44 goals last winter.
“They (Sharks) told me they just want me to play up to the pace of the pro level, to play with more speed,” he said. “I’ve been working on that part of my game every day, so hopefully I’ll be able to make the jump one day.”
Helewka has barely settled in to his new surroundings, but he’s already enjoying himself.
“I love it here, it’s great,” he insisted.
“All the staff, the coaches, the boys, the trainers … they’re great people, really welcoming. I don’t know much about the town yet. It’s a bit smaller than what I’m used to.”
• Overage forward Presten Kopeck, who was part of the Sunday trade that brought former Kootenay Ice captain and top player Luke Philp to Red Deer, was on the move again 24 hours later.
The Ice flipped Kopeck to Spokane in return for 20-year-old forward Riley Whittingham and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft.
Kootenay also dealt defenceman Bryan Allbee, 18, to the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for a fifth-round pick next year.
Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings and the Saskatoon Blades completed a four-player deal Monday, with Brandon sending 1995-born defenceman Colton Waltz and 18-year-old forward Braylon Shmyr to the Blades in return for defencemen Schael Higson, 18, and Mitch Wheaton, 20, and a second-round bantam draft pick in 2017.