Hockey is pretty much a way of life for the Lind family.
Kalan Lind, the youngest of four siblings was selected by the Red Deer Rebels sixth overall in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft Wednesday.
An excited Lind said Wednesday from the family farm near Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, at about age two or three they put a hockey stick in his hand and it has pretty much been there ever since. He said it was an awesome feeling to get drafted on Wednesday.
“I got up this morning and the butterflies were going in my stomach. Once I heard it, it was just surreal,” said the 15-year-old.
“Great to join a program like Red Deer. And a great group of guys it sounds like, it will be fun moving in there soon, hopefully.”
Kalan’s older brother Kole played almost 200 games in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets and was a Vancouver Canucks’ second round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. His sisters, Tenelle and Taylor are also accomplished players. Tenelle, a defenceman played last season for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns and Taylor suited up in her freshman year with the St. Cloud State University Huskies in NCAA Division I play.
With COVID-19 putting a hold on hockey across the country, the Lind home has been more full than usual.
“It’s pretty hectic down here lately, with everyone back, been a loud household,” Kalan said with a laugh.
When asked what his favourite part about hockey is, the newest member of the Red Deer Rebels was quick to answer and it’s clear those family battles played a large part in shaping the young forward.
“The competitive drive has to be one of them,” he said.
“I always wanted to win, when you grow up with my family, it was always your winning or else your yelling at someone else for losing. Usually, I was with my brother and if we lose, we’re usually not happy for a couple of hours.”
On the ice, the centre has let his play do the talking, with 68 goals in a measly 27 games with Swift Current in the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League, the highest level of bantam hockey in the province. His point total of 120, was the sixth-highest in league history. Lind also spent time in the midget AAA ranks with the Swift Current Legionnaires.
Red Deer Rebels assistant GM Shaun Sutter said their scouting staff had a lot of viewings in Lind this year, including at the prestigious Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament, where Lind, at 15, moved back to play defence.
“I remember talking to some of our scouts after and saying, a lot of these other top players if we threw them into the fire like that to play defence, they wouldn’t have been able to do what Kalan did,” Sutter said.
“There were a few other moments where we were watching and we just said Kalan Lind is a player we want to target, for us to be able to pick him, to say we were ecstatic is an understatement.”
Sutter said from what they’ve learned since there is a lot to like about Lind and what he’ll bring to the Rebels down the line.
“He has those elite abilities offensively to make plays and score. He’s also a guy that can play both ends of the rink and can play gritty,” Sutter said.
“He’s not afraid to get in your kitchen and be the guy that stirs it up. Or run you over. He’s the guy you kinda have to pull back a little bit. Those are the things we like.”
Scouts have raved about his hockey IQ and his 200-foot play, something that Lind also says is the way he tries to play.
“It’s all about how hard you work, it’s not about just getting there. You have to work to stay there and get better every time out,” he said.
He has been compared to Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward Cole Sillinger, who was fourth among rookies in WHL scoring with 22 goals and 53 points in 48 games last year.
Lind won’t be eligible to play in the WHL until the 2021-22 season.