Rebels pleased to acquire defenceman

The Red Deer Rebels are hopeful that they addressed a definite need with the selection of Czech defenceman Jan Bittner in Wednesday’s Canadian Hockey League import draft.

The Red Deer Rebels are hopeful that they addressed a definite need with the selection of Czech defenceman Jan Bittner in Wednesday’s Canadian Hockey League import draft.

“This is a guy who was at the top of our list,” said Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin, who nabbed Bittner 23rd overall. “He’s a guy we targeted and we’re happy to get him. You’re not always sure if the guy you want is going to be there when you pick and we were happy he was there for us.”

With the loss of blueliners Aaron Borejko and Justin Weller to graduation and Alex Petrovic to the pro ranks, the Rebels were seeking a rearguard in the import draft, preferably one with experience and size.

Bittner, a 19-year-old who checks in at six-foot-three and 207 pounds, is a match in both areas.

Mathew Dumba, selected seventh overall by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL entry draft last weekend, will enter the 2012-13 Western Hockey League season as the Rebels No. 1 defenceman, and Wallin will be looking for big things from second-year rearguard Kayle Doetzel.

Stephen Hak, Cody Thiel and Devan Faford are also set to return and are expected to be joined by rookies Kevin Pochuk and Haydn Fleury.

“We have some good, young defencemen as well as some young and promising guys coming in and we want to have some stability with them, another older guy to play with them and he (Bittner) should really fit the bill,” said Wallin.

Bittner, who was ranked 91st among European skaters by Central Scouting but was passed over in this year’s NHL draft, last season scored four goals and added 11 assists in 42 games with his hometown HC Litvinov in the Czech junior league.

“He’s a just a real solid, steady player. He’s not a flashy guy but he makes a good first pass, thinks the game well and is real competitive,” said Wallin.

“From what I’ve been told, he’s a real good kid and he’s excited to be coming over and just being a very solid player for us. He should definitely be a top four guy for us.”

Bittner racked up 44 minutes in penalties last winter, which suggests he will have no problem adjusting to the physical style of the WHL.

“He apparently has a real edge to him,” said Wallin.

“He’s a real competitive type who should be a tough guy to play against. He has good size and that always helps.”

Wallin was assured by Bittner’s agent that the native of Litvinov, Czech Republic, will be in Red Deer for training camp starting Aug. 26 at the Centrium.

The Rebels did not use their second-round selection in the import draft due to the presence of Czech netminder Patrik Bartosak, who missed the second half of the 2011-12 season with a severe shoulder injury and subsequent surgery and will return as the Rebels’ starter.

As he revealed on Twitter, Bartosak is more than familiar with Bittner.

“Would love to welcome my buddy Jan Bittner in @Rebelshockey organization,” Bartosak tweeted Wednesday.

• The WHL regular-season schedule was released Wednesday and the Rebels will open Friday, Sept. 21 at home against the Calgary Hitmen.

Red Deer will visit the Edmonton Oil Kings the following night.

The Rebels will face each of their Central Division opponents on six occasions — three at home, three away — with the exception of Kootenay, who they play eight times, and will meet each of the Eastern Division teams four times, home and away.

Red Deer will head into the United States this season for games, Nov. 2, 3, 6 and 7 at Spokane, Tri-City, Portland and Everett and will visit the Seattle Thunderbirds Feb. 8 as part of a western trip that will include games in Prince George and Kamloops.

Kamloops will visit the Centrium once, while Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria will each make two trips to Red Deer and Vancouver will play one game at the Centrium. Red Deer will visit Kelowna once and will not play at either Victoria or Vancouver this season.

The Rebels will play six preseason games, including two at the Oil Kings tournament — Sept. 1 and 2 versus the Prince George Cougars and Oil Kings.

In addition, Red Deer will face the Hitmen Sept. 7 at Calgary Olympic Park, the Lethbridge Hurricanes Sept. 8 at Innisfail, the Oil Kings Sept. 14 at Lacombe and the Medicine Hat Tigers Sept. 15 at Stettler.

(See Rebels regular-season schedule in Friday Scoreboard).

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Rebels

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

Just Posted

The future of Westerner Park continues to be plagued by many unknowns, including when city council will make a decision about financing its operations. (File photo by Advocate staff).
Red Deer city council delays making decision on Westerner Park financing

It will mean missing the next opportunity to apply for a provincial loan

Nineteen-year-old Amanda enjoys a ride during a visit to Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. photo submitted
Busy days at Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler

The ranch, which launched operations last summer, provides support through animal interaction

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer at the announcement that the city will be getting a drug treatment court Thursday. Jason Luan, associate minister of mental health and addictions, looks on.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Veer concerned about rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

The City of Red Deer is reminding citizens to protect themselves against… Continue reading

Rode
Volunteering played major role in RDC awards

Under normal circumstances, the RDC Red Deer Bottling Athlete of the Year… Continue reading

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

Curtis Labelle (second from left) and his band are planning a cross-Canada tour in 2022. Meanwhile, Labelle is continuing to host his weekly livestreamed talk show, Chattin 88. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer rock pianist takes on a talk show role

Curtis Labelle’s Chattin 88 gets views from around the globe

Toronto Maple Leafs' Nick Foligno (71) and Mitchell Marner (16) celebrate Marner's goal on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Thursday, April 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Leafs end five-game winless skid with 5-3 win over Jets in North Division battle

Leafs end five-game winless skid with 5-3 win over Jets in North Division battle

Taylor Pendrith from Richmond Hill, Ont. salutes the crowd after sinking a birdie on the 18th hole to come in at five under par during first round of play at the Canadian Open golf championship Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PGA Tour Canada splits into Canadian, American circuits for 20201

PGA Tour Canada splits into Canadian, American circuits for 20201

Like father, like son: Floreal emerges as one of Canada’s top sprinters

Like father, like son: Floreal emerges as one of Canada’s top sprinters

Toronto Blue Jays center fielder George Springer (4) walks on the field during a team workout, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Blue Jays face the New York Yankees on opening day Thursday in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Injured Jays OF Springer to play in intrasquad game Friday

Injured Jays OF Springer to play in intrasquad game Friday

Toronto Raptors' Khem Birch (24) defends against Brooklyn Nets' Blake Griffin during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Raptors ride strong 3rd quarter to 114-103 win over Nets

Raptors ride strong 3rd quarter to 114-103 win over Nets

Team Canada's Jocelyne Larocque celebrates her goal past the U.S.A. with goaltender Embrace Maschmeyer during first period of Women's Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Stunned Canadian players head home after women’s world hockey cancellation

Stunned Canadian players head home after women’s world hockey cancellation

Health Minister Patty Hajdu is shown at a COVID-19 press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai
Health Canada proposes new restrictions on talc in some personal care products

Health Canada proposes new restrictions on talc in some personal care products

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady passes under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Lawmakers are debating legislation to legalize single-event betting as a bill reaches final reading in the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Humphrey
Bill on single-game sports betting on cusp of passing — but not for first time

Bill on single-game sports betting on cusp of passing — but not for first time

Most Read