It didn’t take long for Rebels forward Carson Latimer to make a good first impression on his new team.
Through the first two games of the regular season with top-line minutes, the 20-year-old from Surrey, B.C. has four points including a goal and three assists.
Speaking with The Advocate earlier this week Latimer said his game is a work in progress.
“I’m just trying to learn every day but what we’re trying to do here takes a bit of time,” he said. “I’m trying to adjust well and quickly. It’s been really fun and I’ve enjoyed the group so far.”
He got to play in the home opener against the Edmonton Oil Kings where he contributed two points followed by a rematch in Edmonton the next night where he added two assists.
“It’s nice to be on this side of the crowd. They bring a lot of energy and it really helps us out on the ice. Keep bringing that all year and I think it’s going to really propel us.”
Latimer was traded to the Rebels in the offseason from the Wenatchee Wild in return for future picks in the 2024 and 2025 WHL Prospects Draft.
He was brought in to lead the team as one of three 20-year-olds and so far he said the transition has been seamless.
“The facility is unreal here at the Centrium. We have everything we need to succeed and they give us every opportunity to be our best here,” he added.
“I don’t really feel like a new guy. Maybe during the first few days of training camp but after that I feel like part of the team and the guys did a great job welcoming me.
“I try to lead by example on the ice in practice and in the dressing room try to be a funny guy and bring everyone together.”
He’s shared the ice on a line with Kai Uchacz, who’s fresh off a 50-goal campaign last year, and Jhett Larson, who also is no stranger to finding the back of the net. Latimer explained it’s been a real treat.
“It’s been great. We’ve gotten better from the first game to the second game. I think we’ve grown a lot in a short period just getting to know each other,” he said.
“They’re two great players but obviously two different players. I think they enhance each other. Larson works so hard, he’s fast and has a good shot. Kai is obviously a tremendous player even from last year seeing the numbers he put up.”
Latimer scored his first goal as a member of the Rebels in the home opener off a one-timer from the left circle. He said it felt great to get it out of the way, especially in front of the home crowd.
Before the Rebels season got underway, Latimer spent some time at training camp with the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League on a tryout agreement.
It was quick but he made sure to make the most of it and learned as much as he could. Even though he wasn’t offered a pro contract, he certainly didn’t take the opportunity for granted.
“I think it’s just about bringing it all year and seeing what happens. Whether it’s with Minnesota or another team I’m just trying to bring my best every game and I’m sure it’s going to work out for me,” Latimer said.
The Rebels welcome the Medicine Hat Tigers to town on Friday night for their first matchup of the season. After playing against the Tigers last season Latimer said they’re very fast and skilled.
“I know a lot of them from back home. I think they’ll take the next step this year after being a younger team last year… They’re growing and their time is definitely coming but I think if we play our game it doesn’t matter who we play. We’re going to be successful.”