It’s a long way from home but both American-born players Jonah Jasser and Quentin Bourne made the most of their time while attending the Red Deer Rebels training camp.
Jasser, who has yet to sign with the Rebels after being selected 37th overall in the 2021 WHL U.S. Priority Draft, said it took some time for him to get acclimated but overall has felt good out on the ice.
“These past couple of days I’ve been getting used to getting more comfortable out there,” he said. “It was very exciting to be drafted by an organization like Red Deer with all the history and status behind the organization.”
The 16-year-old forward came to Red Deer earlier this spring to check out the team and said playing for the Rebels is a route he would consider taking.
After living the first 12 years of his life in Anchorage, Alaska, Jasser and his family moved to Texas. Last season, he played with the Dallas Stars Elite 16U AAA where he scored 13 goals and had 15 assists in 53 games, he will play for the Cleveland Barons 16U AAA next season.
Being out on the ice with some of the Rebels veterans and newcomers he said has been very competitive.
“You’re constantly in your head thinking who am I battling against for a spot on the team so it’s super difficult to be out there and just keep going every day,” he said.
Before he was drafted into the WHL, Jasser said he was familiar with the league through fellow Texas hockey player and Portland Winterhawks forward Cross Hanas who he said has been a role model to him.
“I’ve skated with him the past few years and he was a very good player for the Winterhawks,” he said.
At six-foot, 187-pounds his goal is to one day play professional hockey but if not hopes to build a career.
“I feel like Red Deer helps players not just in the hockey world but in the life side of it,” he added.
Quentin Bourne was the Rebels eighth overall pick in last year’s WHL U.S. Priority Draft and signed with the club this past April to a standard player agreement.
The 16-year-old defenceman from California had an impressive camp but admitted he was a bit tired after skating twice a day through the duration of camp.
“But it’s not that bad it’s always fun to skate with these (guys),” he said. “It’s really competitive, high paced but it’s an environment I like to be in, it’s an environment that pushes you so that’s why I like being here.”
Bourne played 76 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 15U where he accumulated 10 goals and 33 points. Throughout camp, he explained the pace of play has been faster than what he’s been used to.
“These past two skates I feel like my adjustments slowed it down a little for me but those first two skates yeah it was really fast,” Bourne explained.
Red Deer he added has been a really nice community to be in the last week. It’s a lot smaller than where he’s from in Los Angeles but has enjoyed how quiet it has been.
He got involved in hockey after attending Bakersfield Condors games in the American Hockey League and after watching he couldn’t wait to get started. The minor hockey system in California has been growing over the years and he said it has produced a lot of good players.
He’s the first of his family to play the game and at five-foot-eight and 150 pounds he relies on his smooth skating and puck control on the ice.
“I just liked how fast it was. It was fun to watch, it’s not like any other sport where you go to watch like baseball. It might be fun to play but watching it it’s not as fun,” Bourne said.