In one breath, Colten Mayor admitted he was somewhat dejected when he was rejected by his hometown midget AAA St. Albert Raiders last year.
Then he insisted that his next option, joining the midget 15-year-old St. Albert Flyers, was the proper move all along.
“When the Raiders let me go (following team tryouts) I was disappointed at the time, but now that I look back it was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me,” the 16-year-old Red Deer Rebels forward said prior to Monday’s practice session at the Centrium.
“I went from a situation where I probably wouldn’t get much ice time to a first-line role and getting tons of ice and developing as a player.”
Mayor went on to capture the Alberta Minor Midget AAA Hockey League scoring crown with 29 goals — including seven game-winners — and 71 points in 34 regular-season games.
The Flyers assistant captain also led his team in playoff scoring with 20 points (10-10) in 12 outings.
“I thought I grew as a player last year,” said the six-foot-one, 155-pound winger. “I got a lot of ice and gained plenty of experience, as well. When you’re used in every situation you mature a lot. The coach had a lot of confidence in me and put me out in all key situations. I was a go-to guy there.”
Unfortunately for Mayor — listed by the Rebels last year — and his Flyers teammates, their season didn’t end as planned.
“Our team did really well. We finished first in the league and made it all the way to the final, but lost to Spruce Grove in five games,” he disclosed.
Now Mayor is adjusting to life as a Western Hockey League player. Again, he said he’s learning as the season progresses.
“As a new experience, it’s just awesome,” he said. “You learns things every game, every practice, so as the season goes on you should improve as a player.”
Mayor has garnered a single assist in nine games this season, but has never looked out of place and has offensive skills that are easily detectable.
“Colten has had an opportunity to play with some of the injuries we’ve had. He’s got lots to learn, like most young players do, but having said that, he’s got some incredible ability,” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin.
“He has great vision with the puck and has made some really good, smart plays. He’s a guy we’re excited about, for sure.”
Wallin admitted that Mayor wasn’t necessarily in the Rebels’ immediate plans when he registered for training camp.
“He’s much like Adam Kambeitz was last year. He came into camp as a kid who we thought had a chance to (eventually) play here, but we certainly didn’t expect him to be where he’s at this year,” said Wallin, whose club hosts the Calgary Hitmen tonight at 7 p.m.
“He’s come in and played well. He has really good ability and we just felt it was better to keep a kid with Colten’s skill level over an older guy who wouldn’t have developed as much.”
• Rebels centre Landon Ferraro is listed as week-to-week with a knee injury, while defenceman Alex Petrovic is two to three weeks away from returning from a high ankle sprain.