Shmoorkoff steady as Rebels sixth defenceman

As the extra man on the Red Deer Rebels blueline, Austin Shmoorkoff has been extra steady. While his ice time has been limited as the club’s sixth defenceman — a role he inherited when Josh Mahura and Ryan Pouliot went down with injuries — the Edmonton native has dressed for all 11 Western Hockey League games and is an impressive plus-five in the plus/minus department.

As the extra man on the Red Deer Rebels blueline, Austin Shmoorkoff has been extra steady.

While his ice time has been limited as the club’s sixth defenceman — a role he inherited when Josh Mahura and Ryan Pouliot went down with injuries — the Edmonton native has dressed for all 11 Western Hockey League games and is an impressive plus-five in the plus/minus department.

“With (the playing time) I’m getting I’m trying to be at the best of my ability … just playing a simple game and supporting the boys when I don’t play,” the 18-year-old said Tuesday. “I play a stay-at-home style. I just try to make the simple play and a good first pass.”

Shmoorkoff was listed by the Rebels in 2012 and got into six games during the 2013-14 WHL season before being reassigned to the Edmonton midget AAA Canadians.

The six-foot-three, 177-pound rearguard didn’t make the Rebels’ roster coming out of training camp last year and started the season with the Okotoks Oilers of the AJHL, with whom he collected four assists in six games.

The Oilers, however, owed the Calgary Canucks a player and Shmoorkoff found himself with a new AJHL team. He lasted just four games with the Canucks before being told he was expendable.

“They pretty much said there was no room for me there. They said they could deal me somewhere else or I could go home,” said Shmoorkoff, who decided to go back to Edmonton and suit up with the junior B Beverly Warriors.

After appearing in one game with the Rebels last season, he was determined to give it another shot in August. He made the opening-day roster and is still with the team.

“I just kept a positive frame of mind. I kept working hard and had a bunch of people supporting me,” he said.

“I came into camp prepared to do anything. The goal was to work my bag off, earn a spot on the team and hopefully stick.”

So far, so good.

“He’s been steady,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “He doesn’t play all the time because we’ve often gone with five defencemen, but he’s given us exactly what we thought he would.

“It’s been good for him to go through the experience. Last year he didn’t play at all when he was here and this season we had him as the seventh to eighth D-man before Josh got hurt. Then with Pouliot getting hurt it bumped him into that sixth hole. But he’s given us what we needed.”

With Mahura likely out until March following knee surgery, Shmoorkoff is a nice insurance piece on the blueline. Pouliot, sidelined with a lower body injury, skated on his own Tuesday and if he’s not back in the lineup tonight when the Saskatoon Blades visit the Centrium, he might return for home games Friday and Saturday versus the Medicine Hat Tigers and Kootenay Ice.

Whatever, Shmoorkoff has slotted into an effective supporting role with the Rebels, who improved to 7-4-0-0 with wins last Friday and Saturday at Victoria and Vancouver and will host the 2016 Memorial Cup tournament in May.

“We have a solid team with a lot of depth and a lot of character,” he said. “The two wins we had on the weekend were huge after losing the first two games of the road trip. We battled back and did well.”

Rebels

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

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Friday, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the province’s plan to reduce surgical wait times over the next two years. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Alberta provides more funding to reduce surgery wait times

The province is working to provide better access to surgeries over the… Continue reading

RDC Queens volleyball players Sydney Rix and Emma Holmes gave blood as part of the Bleed Green Challenge, in partnership with Canadian Blood Services. (Photo courtesy RDC Queens Instagram)
Blood donation: RDC Athletics give back with Bleed Green Challenge

In what has been a challenging year for everyone across Alberta, Red… Continue reading

Eastview Middle School’s Jeremy Spink was selected as the 2020/21 NHL/NHLPA Most Valuable Teacher for February (Photo Courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Red Deer teacher earns NHL’s Most Valuable Teacher Award for February

Eastview Middle School’s Jeremey Spink picked up the honour

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

A flare stack lights the sky from the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton on December 28, 2018. The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse gas offset program that will govern how developers can register and sell credits earned through projects that reduce emissions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Proposed federal carbon offset credit regulations raise farmer advocate’s concern

CALGARY — Projects that qualify to sell federal greenhouse gas emission credits… Continue reading

The National War Memorial honouring Canadians who served in the military is shown in Ottawa on Sunday, March 31, 2019. A member of the Canadian Armed Forces has died in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadian soldier found dead in his quarters in Afghanistan: military

OTTAWA — A member of the Canadian Armed Forces has died in… Continue reading

A flare stack lights the sky from the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton on December 28, 2018. The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse gas offset program that will govern how developers can register and sell credits earned through projects that reduce emissions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Ottawa unveils proposed federal carbon offset emission credit regulations

CALGARY — The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will keep… Continue reading

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta's COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Judge rules Alberta pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

EDMONTON — A judge has ruled that an Alberta pastor will remain… Continue reading

Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Man found guilty in attack that left Winnipeg teen with hammer in head

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg judge has found a man guilty in an… Continue reading

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Most Read