Array

Array

Valcourt in a good place

As he winds down his WHL career with his third club in four years, Collin Valcourt feels that he’s in a good place. “It’s been a good trade and a good year for me. I feel I’ve really grown as a player,” said the Red Deer native and Prince Albert Raiders overage forward, who was acquired in a late December deal with the Saskatoon Blades.

As he winds down his WHL career with his third club in four years, Collin Valcourt feels that he’s in a good place.

“It’s been a good trade and a good year for me. I feel I’ve really grown as a player,” said the Red Deer native and Prince Albert Raiders overage forward, who was acquired in a late December deal with the Saskatoon Blades.

Since joining the Raiders, the six-foot-two winger has played on a line with Leon Draisaitl, a potential top-three pick in this year’s NHL entry draft, and Dakota Conroy and has piled up 15 goals and 35 points in 36 games.

“Saskatoon allowed me to take some offensive risks this season which really built my confidence and that helped me when I went to Prince Albert,” said Valcourt. “It’s been fun playing with such skilled guys as Leon and Dakota Conroy.”

The Raiders were well out of a playoff spot in February but heated up over the last month of the regular season and defeated the host Red Deer Rebels in a tie-breaker Tuesday for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

“We realized where we were at in our season and we knew that coming down the stretch we had to be a lot better,” said Valcourt. “We did a lot of team building that brought us closer together and I think that’s showing now.

“We’ve been very sharp because of the way we had to play the last month and I feel like we’re going to make a good (playoff) push.”

Valcourt and his teammates will open a best-of-seven conference quarter-final with the Oil Kings Saturday in Edmonton, where the Raiders were 2-0 this season.

“All of us enjoyed playing in Edmonton this year. The ice there is a lot faster than in a lot of rinks. Edmonton plays an upbeat tempo and that plays well to our systems,” said Valcourt.

The Oil Kings are heavily-favoured to end the Raiders’ season, with many media types calling for a sweep despite P.A.’s regular-season success in Edmonton.

Valcourt is confident his club has the scoring prowess and more to hang with — and eventually defeat — the top team in the conference.

“I feel that we have the offensive power that we need to be successful,” he said. “And defensively, I think a lot of teams underestimate us. Plus, (rookie Nick) McBride has been playing well for us in net and because of him we’ve won some games we shouldn’t have won. Coming down the stretch, that’s been huge for us.”

Considering that he’s in his final WHL season, it’s now or never for Valcourt in regards to winning a league title.

“About the last eight games I’ve been extremely excited just knowing these could be my last WHL games,” he said. “I’ve just been focused on playing my game and the prospects of continuing my career down the road. Hopefully I can play pro next year, but if not I’ll be going to school somewhere. So it’s been an exciting time for me. I really want to go far in the playoffs and all of the guys feel the same.”

Valcourt came into the league with the Spokane Chiefs as a 17-year-old in 2010. He played two and a half seasons with the Chiefs before being dealt to the Blades last season as the team was building for the Memorial Cup tournament in Saskatoon.

“The time has gone unbelievably fast,” he said. “I can remember my first game, my first shift, my first goal . . . it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been through a lot of ups and down with teams. I’ve made playoff pushes, played in a Memorial Cup and now I’ve played in a tie-breaker game. I’ve been in all the situations you could possibly be in.”

Speaking of Tuesday’s tie-breaker, it was Valcourt who kick-started a three-goal Raiders third-period rally with the tying marker early in the frame.

“That was extremely exciting for me,” he said. “I don’t think we played as well as we could have earlier in the game and our line of (Calder) Brooks, (Reid) Gardiner and (Jayden) Hart kept us in it. But when we had to be good everyone stepped up and met the challenge.”

• Overage defenceman Graeme Craig, another Red Deer product, was acquired by the Raiders from the Blades at January’s trade deadline and is out indefinitely with an injury.

Craig, though, skated with the Raiders this week in practice at the Red Deer Arena and Penhold Multiplex.

Rebels

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

Just Posted

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

Students walk into Hunting Hills High School, which is one of the Red Deer Public Schools with solar panels on its roof. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school was placed in lockdown following potential threat

Hunting Hills High School was placed in a lockdown Friday after Red… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some details of the provincial government’s 2021-22 budget need to be ‘sorted out’ when it comes to the hospital expansion funding. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More detail needed regarding hospital funding, says Red Deer mayor

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some information is unclear regarding the… Continue reading

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Need a knife? There are knives of all shapes and sizes at The Kitchen Store.
Hints from Heloise: Finding a good set of kitchen knives

Dear Readers: A good set of knives in the kitchen is a… Continue reading

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

Most Read