The first weekend in June will have a new look for the Red Deer Rebels in 2019.
This season, the Rebels have reimagined their annual prospect camp. Typically, they invite most players drafted over the past three seasons and some listed players as well. The idea being that young players get a chance to become familiar with how the Rebels operate, who the coaches are and what it is like to be a WHL player.
While most teams still operate this practice, the Rebels brass decided to only invite a select group of players, most of whom have a shot at cracking the roster in the immediate future.
“In the past, we’ve had kind of a recruiting weekend, where we bring in all the players. We just decided with all the young guys that we just drafted and that didn’t play major midget, we just wanted them to have more of a summer,” said Rebels assistant GM Shaun Sutter.
“What’s happening is they have their provincial camp, they have camps with their agents, it’s just one thing after another. So, they never really take any time off. When the kids have a big camp, then they’re on the ice two or three weeks before that. Before you know it, they are on the ice the whole summer and we didn’t want that.”
From the Rebels 2019 WHL Bantam Draft class, most players are 15 and are ineligible for full-time WHL play this season.
The list this year for camp includes exclusively 16 and 17-year-old players. The 16 players coming to camp are Keaton Sorensen, Jordan Borysiuk, Jayden Grubbe, Jaxsen Wiebe, Ethan Rowland, Josh Medernach and Jace Isley, defencemen Kyle Masters, Trey Patterson, Blake Gustafson, Jeremy Hancock and Mason Ward, and netminder Eric Ward.
“It’s all guys who have come up, played with us, practiced with us, signed with us or played major midget,” Sutter added.
Only Borysiuk and Rowland saw regular season action for the Rebels last year, while Grubbe played in one exhibition game.
On-ice sessions are slated for 3-5 p.m. Friday, 3:45-5:45 p.m. Saturday and 9-11 a.m. Sunday, all at the Penhold Multiplex.