Jesse Wallin has been living a life of leisure since being dismissed as head coach of the Red Deer Rebels in mid-November.
Until now, that is.
“I’m building an outdoor rink, in my back yard,” he said Thursday. “It’s a busy little project, more work that I thought. But it’s fun work. I’m enjoying it.”
Wallin is also enjoying the opportunity to share basically all of his waking minutes with his family.
“It’s been really good. I’ve just been spending time with my wife and my kids,” he said. “I’m spending lots of time at the rink with my boy’s hockey and my daughter is into horseback riding so I’ve been out to the barn with her a lot. It’s just been a lot of good quality family time.”
Wallin even slipped on a pair of downhill skis in the Nakiska area in December.
“I’d done that once or twice as a kid. The last time was probably 20 years ago,” he said. “I’m just kind of experiencing life right now.”
While he wouldn’t admit as much, Wallin sounded almost relieved to be, well . . . relieved of his Rebels coaching duties.
Owner/president/general manager/head coach Brent Sutter has invited Wallin to return to the Rebels in another role, but the two have yet to discuss the matter.
“We haven’t sat down and talked yet. I ran into Brent just before Christmas and he was busy, he has a lot going on,” said Wallin. “At some point we’ll probably sit down and discuss it.”
Wallin, who wouldn’t confirm that he’s leaning towards rejoining the club in a yet-to-be-determined capacity, has looked at other avenues.
“I’ve been exploring, looking into different things,” he said. “There are some options out there but I haven’t made any firm decisions yet.”
l Regina Pats GM Chad Lang was less than impressed — and more than surprised — with comments from new Red Deer Rebels forward Dominik Volek that appeared in the Advocate last week.
Volek was a member of the Pats last winter but decided to stay overseas this season before being dealt to Red Deer Dec. 12 for centre Marc McCoy, import winger Filip Vasko and a fifth-round bantam draft pick. Returning to Regina was never an option, Volek told Danny Rode of the Advocate.
“I liked the junior fans, but I wasn’t happy in Regina,” said Volek.
“I asked to change the billet and nothing. The coach wasn’t playing me and some of the promises they made they didn’t come through with, so I didn’t have a lot of interest in coming back this year.”
Lang was surprised and, according to Greg Harder of the Regina Leader Post, skeptical of Volek’s comments. The Pats GM has always maintained that there were no signs that Volek was unhappy in Regina until the team was informed last summer that Volek would be joining a junior team in Sweden.
“To be brutally honest this is the first I’ve heard of it,” Lang told Harder.
“It’s a bit shocking if those are the comments he made in the fact that he sat down with us at the end of the year and expressed how much he appreciated everything, the opportunity, how much he liked his current situation. For him to say (what he told the newspaper), it’s, one, shocking, two, disappointing. We’ll take the high road. We could throw a lot of dirty laundry too. There’s no point even making a comment on it. He’s with another team right now. We got what we wanted in return and we’ll move forward.”
On the move: The Kamloops Blazers got a jump on the Jan. 10 trade deadline Wednesday by acquiring overage power forward Kale Kessy from the Vancouver Giants, who in return received 18-year-old winger Rob Trzonkowski and a fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Kessy, who struggled with on-ice discipline and received numerous league-imposed suspensions while with the Medicine Hat Tigers, has nine goals and 18 points, as well as 62 penalty minutes, in 29 games this season. “The easy thing would have been to keep him,” Giants GM Scott Bonner, in conversation with Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province, said of the 6-foot-3, 202 pounder. “You have to do what’s best for the kid.” Bonner insisted Kessy did “everything we’ve asked of him” since being acquired from the Tigers in October. Kessy was selected by Phoenix in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL entry drat but has yet to sign a pro contract. Bonner feels that Kessy’s chances of inking a pro pact will improve while playing for the post-season bound Blazers . . . Defenceman Alex Theriau limped away from the Regina Pats earlier this week, his sore hip preventing him from performing at his best. The 20-year-old decided his junior hockey days were over due to a hip that grew weaker with each passing day. “It was tough,” Theriau told the Regina Leader Post. “It was something I talked about with my family a lot over the (Christmas) break. I thought I would come back after the break and see if the rest had done me well but it wasn’t quite enough. It was inevitable. I had to make the decision.” Theriau underwent hip surgery last spring while a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers, who then released him in October.