Matt Anholt has grown up a whole lot since he first ran the halls in the basement of the Centrium.
That would be in the late ‘90s, when his father, Peter Anholt — the Rebels head coach from 1992-95 — would bring the youngster, now 15, to Rebels practice sessions.
Peter Anholt was a Rebels assistant coach at the time, and served two years in that role before venturing into the business world and eventually running the bench of the Prince Albert Raiders.
“Yeah, I guess I remember a little bit about being around the (Red Deer) dressing room,” the younger Anholt said on Sunday, after participating in the Rebels’ first rookie scrimmage of the team’s 2009 training camp at the Centrium.
“It was fun . . . pretty intense with a lot of good players,” said the Prince Albert resident, who slipped through the WHL bantam draft and was invited to the Red Deer camp.
“I got a couple of letters (invitations) and I thought Red Deer was the best option for me,” he continued. “I know lots of people here and it just seemed like the right choice.”
The five-foot-eight, 155-pound centre was one of the top scorers with the Prince Albert bantam AA Pirates last season and is hoping to catch on with the midget AAA Mintos this fall.
Due to the relaxed rules in Saskatchewan, the Mintos can recruit players from every corner of the province.
“It’s going to be pretty tough to crack their roster. They have lots of players already set in positions so there’s not a lot of spots open,” said Anholt, whose other option is to play with the midget AA team in his hometown.
Anholt is an accomplished lacrosse player who has already earned a berth on the Saskatchewan provincial junior team, a squad consisting of players up to 22 years of age.
He’s attended no fewer than five national championships at the peewee and bantam level, also with provincial teams.
“I am better at lacrosse, I’ve gone a lot farther in the sport,” he said. “It’s a fun sport, but it would be better to go farther in hockey. Lacrosse is not really a highly-touted sport yet.”
Day One notes:
• Top rookie recruits Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Daulton Siwak, along with Czech defenceman Jindra Barak were not on the ice due to illness.
“We have a number of players feeling under the weather and a few who are not skating,” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin.
Indeed, Siwak has contracted mononucleosis and won’t be cleared for contact until September, and Barak, who has flu-like symptoms, likely won’t skate today.
As for blue-chipper Nugent-Hopkins, who arrived on Sunday . . .
“We’re still waiting to see with ‘Hoppy’,” said Wallin. “He’s getting blood tests done tomorrow morning and hopefully it’s just a virus and nothing more serious than that. We also a number of other players who are fighting it off and are still on the ice.”
• Second-year players Alex Petrovic (groin) and Connor Redmond suffered minor injuries on the first day of camp, while rookie blueline hopeful Matt Pufahl hurt his shoulder during a scrap with Jackson Playfair, 15, and was sporting a sling.
“His shoulder popped out briefly but by the time he got to the bench it had popped back in,” said Wallin. “He’ll have it re-evaluated in the morning. He’s kind of 50-50 for the morning session.”
• Tyler Skauge, an 18-year-old forward with previous WHL experience (Everett) was a no-show Sunday, as was veteran defenceman Joel Kot, who’s leaning towards playing at the junior A level this season.