Array

Array

Weatherill adjusting to play at the next level

In the middle of February Dawson Weatherill was excited to be heading into the Alberta Midget Hockey League playoffs with the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs. Little did he know he wouldn’t make it. At the same time the Red Deer Rebels lost starting goaltender Rylan Toth with a lower body injury and Weatherill was the next in line on their depth chart.

In the middle of February Dawson Weatherill was excited to be heading into the Alberta Midget Hockey League playoffs with the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs.

Little did he know he wouldn’t make it.

At the same time the Red Deer Rebels lost starting goaltender Rylan Toth with a lower body injury and Weatherill was the next in line on their depth chart.

“I was really surprised and it was a shock to me and my family,” said the 16-year-old native of Red Deer. on being called up “I was excited, but at the same time it was tough leaving my team as we were heading into the playoffs.”

Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter had no choice but to call Weatherill up.

“It was a tough position for everyone,” he said. “Unfortunately we lost our goalie for the rest of the regular season and who knows how long in the playoffs. Dawson was the next player on our list. Unfortunately he had to leave his team and it was the AAA midgets in town. So it was tough on them as well … a tough situation for everyone. But it gave someone else in the minor system a chance to replace Dawson.”

Weatherill joined the Rebels on their western road swing and not only did he back up Trevor Martin, but he got his first start on Feb. 19 in Prince George. He turned in a solid performance in a 3-1 loss, allowing two goals with the third into an empty net.

“That first game it was tough to adjust, but I thought it went well,” Weatherill said. “I found a spot on the team and the guys accepted me. The second game didn’t go as well.”

He started his second game March 1 in Swift Current and the first period was a breeze with the Rebels up 4-0. However, the Broncos scored twice in the first 3:34 of the second period and Sutter went to Martin.

“It was something I will learn from,” said Weatherill, who has a 2.88 goals-against-average and a .905 save percentage.

“That first period in Swift Current he didn’t have much work and we had a substantial lead,” said Sutter. “In the second period they scored twice early and both goals he’d like to have back. But that’s the mental part of the game. A young player has to learn to stay in the game when there’s not much work.”

Weatherill was selected in the second round, 37th overall, in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft by the Rebels and signed later that year. Last year he attended the Rebels rookie camp but hoped to make the AAA Chiefs. That wasn’t the case and he ended up with the Notre Dame Argos in Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League.

The Argos were the B team at Notre Dame and it was a tough season for everyone.

“We didn’t win many games, but I got a chance to see a lot of rubber,” he said.

He finished the year with a 4.87 gaa and a .877 save percentage.

This year there was no doubt Weatherill would be on the Optimist Chiefs. He eventually took over as their No. 1 netminder and posted a solid 2.33 gaa and a .905 save percentage.

“It was a good season,” he said. “I thought I developed throughout the season and matured.”

The six-foot-three Weatherill sees himself as a technically strong goalie, but needs to improve in terms of reactions and strength.

“I need to mentally focus for 60 minutes,” he said. ‘It’s important for me to keep pushing every day and hope for the best.”

Sutter talks with Weatherill about continuing to push in practice and get better every time he’s on the ice.

“This level is quite a few notches of play higher,” Sutter said. “We feel he has a tremendous upside. There are things Taylor (goaltender coach Dakers) can work with him on daily but he has a bright future and it will come down to how hard Dawson works to make himself better both on and off the ice.

“He’s a tall, lanky kid and needs to get stronger. He needs to work on both the physical and mental side and those things have to start getting in place of he wants to grow and get to the next level, which is pro hockey.

“He does have a great attitude and it’s exciting to have a local boy on the team. But he will be challenged and he will be pushed to be the No. 1 guy. It won’t happen this year or possibly the next but by the time he’s 18 we want him pushing to play 40 or 50 games. We want him to push not only to be the No. 1 goaltender on the team, but the best in the league.

‘Buy the time he’s 18-19 there will be expectations on him and he has to have those expectations as well and with those expectations comes hard work and someone who is committed to be all in.”“

The time Weatherill will spend with the Rebels this season will only benefit him, as did his time with the midgets.

“It was important as a 16-year-old, especially a goalie, to return to midget and play a lot and in every situation,” said Sutter. “His time back there helped him a lot. He’s a different player today than he was last September. That’s a credit to Brandin (Chiefs head coach Cote), who gave him the opportunity to grow.”

Weatherill has worked with Dakers for several years and also credits him with his growth.

The rookie netminder will be on the bench tonight as the Rebels host the Prince Albert Raiders at 7 p.m. at the Centrium.

Rebels

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

Just Posted

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

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’

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… 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

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

Most Read