The Red Deer Rebels put their prospects through the paces Friday afternoon in Penhold.
Close to 30 players born in 2002 and 2003 in the organization are in town this weekend for a three-day Prospect Camp, that serves as an orientation to familiarize young players with the team and facilities.
“It’s exciting, you get to see the future of the franchise. The players you will see one day down the road wearing a Rebels jersey,” said Rebels assistant GM and director of player personnel Shaun Sutter.
“There will be other players that rise and come into the picture later on. Just like we had this year. It’s always an exciting time, even though it is June. When you play 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 you can really see the skill out there.”
Defenceman Kyle Masters, a Rebels 2018 first-round WHL Bantam pick who scored in the grey and burgundy game Friday, said it was a solid skate to get acquainted with the team and potential future teammates.
“It was tons of fun. That’s the main thing. Out here as a younger player just trying to be a sponge and take it all in. I like the group of guys that are here,” said the Edmonton native.
Masters, 14, is the son of former Rebels defenceman Kevin Masters. The elder Masters played in the team’s inaugural 1992-93 season and Kyle said it’s helped to have that familiarity with the team.
“He’s given me some wisdom and coming out here with him, I think maybe I’m not as nervous. He’s been here and he’s helped me get here. I’m really thankful for him,” said Masters.
Red Deer’s Keaton Sorensen, a forward that played with the Notre Dame Argos Midget AAA team last season added putting on the Rebels colours is a dream come true.
“I love watching the Rebels play, I went to almost every home game growing up,” he said.
“I always thought (about) playing for the Rebels. It’s pretty cool to finally get a chance.”
Sorensen, 16, had 20 goals and 16 assists in 43 games in the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League last year.
Sutter also noted that is always fun to watch the future of the organization come together for the Prospects camp, but added it’s a long way before you will likely see any of the talents in a Rebels uniform.
“We give them feedback and communicate the things they need to work on. For a lot of these guys, it’s just a time thing,” Sutter said.
“These guys are so young that, a year can go a long way. We even see it as Rebels’ fans, management and coaches, even the players that made the jump last year to our team as 16-year-olds… There can be rapid change in a short amount of time, at the same time you give them all guidance to make sure they keep moving forward.”
Players are on the ice at the Penhold Miltiplex Saturday at 3:45 and Sunday morning from 9-11 a.m.