Former Rebel Evan Polei at Floor Hockey. This is from last season.

Rebels score big time with community work

Red Deer Rebels are the city’s hometown heroes

“Hey, what do those Rebels players do all day?”

A question that gets asked all the time. Sure, they play hockey, a lot of it, but there are 24 hours in a day, what else do they do?

The younger players are still in high school. They go to St. Gabriel Learning Centre to, um, learn. It’s quite a demanding schedule when you think about it. School during the morning, hockey in the afternoon and homework in the evening. When the Rebels go on a long road trip, they must keep up with the studies. On days off on the road, there’s usually a practice and then a study hall at the hotel. It certainly teaches good habits when it comes to time management. That serves the players well if they play university hockey after their time with the Rebels.

Now the older players, the ones graduated from high school, they must have it easy. It’s easier than juggling high school and hockey, but they keep busy. Some take classes at Red Deer College. Nothing wrong with getting a head start on that post secondary education and Red Deer College is outstanding. But the Rebels are also very active in the community, and not everyone knows it.

The City of Red Deer has a program called Partners In Progress where local businesses are paired up with elementary schools. Since the team’s inception, in the fall of 1992, the Rebels have been working with Annie L. Gaetz Elementary School. The Rebels players attend an assembly in the fall, and find out which classroom they will be helping with during the season. Then, on a semi regular basis, the players are teaching assistants. It’s an amazing program and the players really become part of the classroom, part of the family.

Also during the season, the Rebels players go to elementary schools to play some floor hockey. The school selects the students that will be playing, and lots of times the entire school comes out to watch. It’s hard to tell who’s having more fun, the elementary students, or the Rebels players. Subway provides lunch for the participants as well. To see the looks on the students faces as they meet and play, with or against, the Rebels players is heart warming.

For the last few years, Rebels players have been submitting a chapter in One Book Many Schools. This is where people in Red Deer record reading a chapter of a selected book. Students from Red Deer can then access the audio book.

Recently, Lane Zablocki went to Central Middle School to do a live reading of a chapter of Rebels Glory by Sigmund Brouwer. That is this year’s selection for One Book Many Schools. All of Grade 6 was in the library for this, and Zablocki the Rebels scholastic player of the year last season, did a great job.

When the Festival Of Trees takes over a part of Westerner Park, the Rebels players help in the set up and tear down of the event. Festival Of Trees is such an important fund raiser and the Rebels players like to do a small part in assisting.

So, you see, in between the games, practices and off-ice workouts, Rebels players stay active in the community and give back where they can. It’s all part of developing good people to go along with good hockey players. A chance to give back to the community that gives so much to them.

Cam Moon is the director of media relations for the Red Deer Rebels.

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Lane Zablocki reading at Central Middle School.

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