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Rebels prospect Luke Vlooswyk selected to Team Alberta for Canada Winter Games

The games begin in February next year
Rookie defenceman Luke Vlooswyk fires the puck up ice during a scrimmage at the Peavey Mart Centrium during training camp. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

As Hockey Alberta released their roster for the U16 male team for the 2023 Canada Winter Games, a familiar face to Red Deer Rebels fans made the grade.

Rebels prospect Luke Vlooswyk will join the roster of 20 of the province’s best under-16 players at the Games in Prince Edward Island from Feb. 18 to March 3.

“It’s awesome,” Vlooswyk said. “Being able to represent your province traveling across the country that’s such a cool experience. I want to do my part and hopefully, we can take home the gold.”

The 15-year-old previously represented his province in the Alberta Cup where he played for Team Alberta Red where he contributed an assist in five games.

Vlooswyk explained the process to make the team was long.

It all started back in the Alberta Cup in March and after the event, the roster was cut down to 80 players. From there, they held a summer camp in Red Deer, July 4-10, and based on their performance, the roster was shortened to 33 players. After that, the coaches scouted the remaining players who were on a shortlist during the first few months of the hockey season and the roster was finalized.

The U18 AAA Calgary Buffaloes defenceman has played 15 games so far this season and has contributed two goals and six assists for eight points.

“The team’s doing really well. We’re on a 15-game win streak right now and I think I’ve been a big contributor to that. I’m really happy with how my seasons have gone so far,” he said.

The 6’2” defenceman who weighs approximately 161 pounds was drafted by the Rebels in the first round, 17th overall in the 2022 Western Hockey League Prospects Draft. The Calgary native spent some time with the team during training camp and the preseason before he was called up for a game in the regular season.

“Just from training camp and when I went on the road trip with the team it definitely showed me the difference between U18 AAA hockey versus the WHL,” he said. “Every decision you make has to be that much faster, you have to keep your head up at all times, and play physical. It was an eye-opener for me.”

Also on the Team Alberta roster from central Alberta is the director of hockey operations Michael Kraichy from Red Deer and assistant coach Cody Reynolds from the Red Deer Polytechnic Kings hockey team.

Team Manitoba also recently announced their roster with a few Rebels prospects earning a spot. Forward Matthew Gard was taken in the second round of the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft and in the fourth round defenceman Tate Dolinsky will both represent Manitoba. Defenceman Reece Gault, who was selected in the fifth round of that same draft by Red Deer, also made the roster.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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