Rebels coach going to worlds

Jesse Wallin’s season isn’t over yet.

Jesse Wallin’s season isn’t over yet.

The Red Deer Rebels general manager/head coach was offered the head coaching position with the Canadian team for the world under-18 hockey championship last week and Hockey Canada made the announcement Sunday after Wallin accepted the post.

“Actually, it kind of caught me off guard. I got a call on Tuesday from Brad Pascall with Hockey Canada and he offered me the opportunity, so it kind of came out of the blue,” Wallin said Sunday, less than 24 hours after the Rebels’ WHL season concluded with a 7-3 home-ice loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

“It came about pretty quickly and I had to make a decision. I discussed it with my wife and with Brent (Rebels owner Sutter) and had their full support so I decided to go ahead with it. It’s something I’m real excited about.

“Of course my first priority and first wish would have been to be playing in the playoffs with our team, but unfortunately that won’t happen. This is kind of a great back-up plan, for lack of a better term. It’s a great opportunity.”

Wallin has an international hockey resume. He twice played for the Canadian national junior team — winning gold in 1997 and finishing eighth as a co-captain the following year — and served as an assistant to Pat Quinn on the coaching staff of the gold-medal winning 2008 national U18 team.

“From a coaching perspective, working with the level of athlete that is involved in an event like this was just an incredible experience,” said Wallin, reflecting on the 2008 world U18 championship.

“A lot of those kids are playing on TV right now. Our top line that year was Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Cody Hodgson and on the back end we had kids like Tyler Myers and Marco Scandella who’s now with Minnesota. So you get a chance to coach some pretty special players and get to build some great relationships.

“To go back this year with the challenge of being the head coach is going to be a tremendous experience. I’m real excited about it.”

Joining Wallin on the Team Canada coaching staff for the world U18 championship April 12-22 in the Czech Republic will be P.E.I Rockets head coach Gordie Dwyer, Kingston Frontenacs bench boss Todd Gill and Hockey Canada goaltending consultant and former NHL goalie Ron Tugnutt.

“Todd was my defence partner in my first NHL game (with Detroit in 1999-2000), so it’s funny how the world kind of spins,” said Wallin. “We have a real good staff, a real good group. I feel we’re going to be able to put a fairly strong team together and it’s going to be a great challenge.”

Wallin will look back to his 2008 experience to prepare himself for his stint as the U18 head man.

“You get exposed to different styles of play in international hockey. The European teams play different styles, different systems with different ideas,” he said. “And then of course you get to share coaching ideas with your assistants. We’re all in the Canadian Hockey League but the style of play in the Western, Ontario and Quebec leagues are different, so you get assorted perspectives.

“I think that any time you get to rub shoulders with other coaches you can learn.”

Wallin is adamant that he and fellow assistant Guy Boucher, who’s now the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, became better tutors by working with Quinn in 2008.

“That was an amazing opportunity, to soak up Pat’s years of knowledge,” said Wallin. “I’m a pretty intense guy, I get wound up and excited. I remember with Pat the thing that always struck me was how calm and poised he was.

“Prior to the gold-medal game, and about 20 minutes before warmup, we were sitting in the coaches room and Pat was telling stories about dealing with Fred Shero in the ‘70s. He was chuckling away and was just so comfortable and so confident. That was a neat experience and it’s just those little things along the way that you pick up and get exposed to.”

Wallin will almost certainly be accompanied to the Czech Republic by Rebels defenceman Mathew Dumba.

“It’s safe to say that Matty’s going to have a spot on that team,” said Wallin. “He’s an elite player in his age group — all the players are ‘94-born. He’s excited and I’m looking forward to having him with us.”

• Alex Petrovic, Conner Bleackley and Adam Kambeitz scored for the Rebels Saturday. Curtis Lazar notched two goals for the Oil Kings, who got singles from Ashton Sautner, T.J. Foster, Michael St. Croix, Kristians Pelss and Mitchell Moroz.

Laurent Brossoit stopped 26 shots for Edmonton, which clinched first place overall with the victory. Rebels netminder Deven Dubyk made 28 saves before a recorded crowd of 5,796 at the Centrium.

• Petrovic picked up the Rebels MVP and top defenceman trophies during presentations prior to the game.

Meanwhile, defenceman Kayle Doetzel was named top rookie, Tyson Ness was honoured as the most under-rated player, Kambeitz was feted as the club’s humanitarian player and also picked up the Red Deer Advocate players award, and John Persson was recognized as the team’s top scorer.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Rebels

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

Just Posted

Cowboy Kicks, originally scheduled for May 5, will now take place Sept. 18. (Contributed photo)
Westerner Park’s Cowboy Kicks fundraiser moved to Sept. 18

A major fundraiser for Westerner Park and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell tries to tip a point shot past Lethbridge Hurricanes goalie Car Tetachuk in WHL action Friday night at the Centrium. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels struggles continue, drop seventh straight to Hurricanes

Hurricanes score three power-play goals in 6-3 win

Downtown Red Deer patio restaurants have been busy this summer. Contributed photo
City of Red Deer expediting patio application process for restaurants

The City of Red Deer is allowing businesses to install patios prior… Continue reading

RDC Queens forward Camryn Wallan was named the 2020-21 RDC Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Wallan, Podgorenko named 2020-21 RDC Outstanding Athletes of the Year

Even with the cancellation of the 2020-21 Alberta Colleges Athletic Association, RDC… Continue reading

A new Angus Reid poll says that close to two-thirds of Albertans think premier Jason Kenney is doing a bad job handling the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
75% of Albertans disapprove of Kenney’s pandemic leadership: poll

Nearly 75 per cent of Albertans believe Premier Jason Kenney is doing… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Ediburgh, left, look on as Manitoba Beaver peaks out of his box at a July 14, 1970 ceremony in which Hudson's Bay Company observed an old tradition. The death of Prince Philip has reminded a small French village in Manitoban about how a royal visit half a century ago made the community the centre of frog racing in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Prince Philip’s frog-jumping legacy in a Manitoba French community

WINNIPEG — The death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has reminded… Continue reading

The Yukon provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. Yukon residents will head to the polls on Monday for Canada's fourth election held during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon residents set to vote in fourth election held in Canada during pandemic

WHITEHORSE — Yukon residents will head to the polls on Monday for… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole, former PM Harper speak on ‘build back right’ for pandemic recovery

OTTAWA — Top Tory leaders of the past and present will speak… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Tuesday, March 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals set to debate universal basic income, pharmacare, OAS hike

OTTAWA — Grassroots Liberals have taken up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call… Continue reading

Students enter the Pierre Laporte Secondary School as secondary school students return to class full time during the COVID-19 pandemic in Montreal, Monday, March 29, 2021. Pandemic-fuelled frustration has some teens expressing anger in unhealthy ways after a year of missed social connections that would typically help them mature and regulate their emotions, says a psychiatrist calling for more education on coping skills as part of the school curriculum. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Teach students coping skills to deal with anger, including during pandemic: doctor

Pandemic-fuelled frustration has some teens expressing anger in unhealthy ways after a… 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 $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

jobs - T - 3-6-2020
Finding a job: 3 job search truisms you need to accept

A job search has many moving parts; your mindset is the most… Continue reading

Most Read