Jared Freadrich admits it was a bit of a shock when he heard he was being traded by the Regina Pats.
Not only was it the first time the 18-year-old defenceman was traded during his Western Hockey League career, but he was leaving one of the premier teams in the league.
“It was bit of a shock, but I knew we had lots of defencemen in Regina and I knew there would have to be a move, but you never think it will be you. But it’s over and I’m happy to be here and to be a Red Deer Rebel.”
The five-foot-11, 183-pound Freadrich knew he was going to a highly respected organization.
“They’re both good organizations, with great coaching staffs and good players,” he said. “I’ve had nothing but fun since I arrived a couple of weeks ago. The mood in the room is great and the guys are easy to get along with.”
On the other side the Rebels coaching staff has been impressed with Freadri9ch.
“He’s been a very good addition,” said Rebels assistant coach Pierre-Paul Lamoureux. “He’s provided a steadying influence on the defence and a lot of consistency and reliability. He makes the plays that are there and is a smart player.
“The biggest thing since Freddy arrived has just been his consistency in moving the puck out of his zone. He’s consistent in his own zone and in holding the gap and creating turnovers. His ability to move the puck has helped our breakouts and transition game.”
Freadrich sees himself as a “two-way player”.
“I’m a smaller guy and I try to use my skating to my advantage and stay on the right side of the bigger opponents. I try to outsmart the guys in the defensive zone and try to make a good first pass and chip in offensively when I can. If I worry about defence first the points will come.”
Going into tonight’s 7 p.m. meeting with the Brandon Wheat Kings are the Centrium, Freadrich has played seven games and has one assist.
Freadrich grew up playing minor hockey in Killam and moved to Camrose during his second year of bantam AAA.
“I travelled to play in Camrose my first year of bantam,” he explained.
He had a solid second-year with the Camrose bantams, scoring six goals and adding 23 assists in 31 games.
He jumped directly to the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings in the 2013-14 season and had two goals and 10 helpers in 35 games.
Freadrich fondly looks back at his minor hockey days.
“I was fortunate to plays with some excellent teams and I definitely have to thank my coaches and the players for getting me where I am today,” he said.
He was drafted by the Pats in the fourth-round, 80th overall, in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. He attended Regina’s camp as a 15-year-old then when he didn’t make the WHL team as a 16-year-old he joined the Whitecourt Wolverines of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
He considered going the U.S. college route while in Whitecourt, but that was quickly forgotten about when he made the Pats in 2015. He finished the year with five goals and 15 assists in 58 games.
“The first half I struggled more than the second half,” he said. “The second half I seemed to find my game and I tried to carry it into this year and continue to improve.”
Freadrich is a smaller rearguard, but only has to look back at players such as former Medicine Hat star Kris Russell to see how far he can go.
“It’s cool to look at players like (Edmonton Oilers) Russell (five-foot-10, 170-pounds) and (Minnesota Wild) Jared Spurgeon (five-foot-nine, 175-pounds), who I’m a big fan of. They’re two smaller guys who played at this level and are thriving at the next level. It’s encouraging to see.”
The Rebels are riding a five-game winning streak heading into tonight
“I don’t think we were perfect over the five games but I also think we’re getting better all the time.” Freadrich said.
• Rebels prospect Byron Fancy was named the all-star goaltender in the 2016 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup. He didn’t play in the final for Alberta, which downed B.C. 3-2 in overtime.
Danny Rode us a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca