RDC Kings head coach Trevor Keeper took a step forward to filling his forward positions on Monday, when Red Deer native Connor Hartley signed a commitment agreement with the Alberta Colleges Men’s Hockey League squad.
“Connor has been on our radar for some time, but he wanted to see about his courses before committing,” explained Keeper.
“I’ve watched him for a couple of years (with the Okotoks Oilers) and he’s a solid two-way forward, who’s good defensively, on the penalty kill and on faceoffs. This year he played on their top line and scored 49 points and didn’t lose any of his defensive effectiveness.”
The six-foot, 180-pound Hartley scored 21 goals and 28 assists with 52 minutes in penalties in 58 games this season, his second full season with the Alberta Junior Hockey League squad.
Hartley played the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons with the Red Deer midget AAA Optimist Chiefs, scoring 36 goals and 31 assists in 63 games. He also had 14 goals and six assists in 21 playoffs games over the two years.
He played one game with the Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL in 2009-10 and five games with the Oilers in 2010-11. He started the 2011-12 season with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL, managing just three assists in 24 games, before moving to the Oilers where he had seven goals and six assists in 28 games. He managed 11 goals and 11 helpers in 59 games in 2012-13.
The fact Hartley is from Red Deer fits well with Keeper.
“The more local players the better,” he said. “It’s good for the player and for their friends and family.”
Keeper also announced that Brett Printz and Clayton Petrie will be back for sure.
“They had a couple of things to straighten around with their courses, so we’re certainly glad to see them back,” he said.
Printz joined the Kings at Christmas last year and averaged close to a point a game while giving them more size up front. Petrie is smaller, but offensively skilled.
“As well (goaltender) Mike Salmon transferred into business administration and could be around for another three or four years, so it’s nice not to be shopping for goaltenders every year,” said Keeper, who has several other forwards on his shopping list.
Three of the players are still playing — two with the Yorkton Terriers and one with the Dauphin Kings — in the Royal Bank Cup, which is set for May 10-18 in Vernon, B.C.
Keeper saw all three prospects at the Western Canada Cup in Dauphin and will see them again at the Royal Bank Cup.
“I wasn’t worried about them making a commitment until after the championship. They can focus on that and then look at their options.”
Keeper is also talking with a player from B.C. who played four years in the BC junior league, plus another forward from Central Alberta.”