Red Deer Rebels prospect Hunter Mayo was a key piece of Saskatchewan’s gold medal win at the WHL Cup last week in Calgary. (Photo by Lane Anderson/WHL)

Red Deer Rebels’ prospects providing hope down the line

Times, they are a-changing for the Red Deer Rebels.

The perianal playoff contender in the WHL has been on a slide of late and is in the midst of nine losses in its last 10 games.

But down the prospect pipeline, comes something that the club hasn’t had much of since they hosted the Memorial Cup in 2016 – hope.

The WHL Cup, which was a week-long tournament featured the top Under-16 players in Western Canada, was a prime example of what Rebels fans might be able to look forward to down the line.

“We were proud of all our guys,” said Rebels assistant GM Shaun Sutter.

Hunter Mayo was part of the Rebels prospect trio that helped Saskatchewan win its first WHL Cup in the latter days of October, along with Jhett Larson. Both had one assist in the gold medal win over Manitoba.

Mayo, 15, and Rebels earliest pick in the 2019 Bantam Draft had three goals in the tournament and drove the bus offensively for Saskatchewan in the tournament.

“Hunter is one of the top defencemen. He scored some big goals and played a shutdown role. Killing penalties against the oppositions’ best players. Was a guy they went to in clutch situations,” Sutter said.

“They’re not a team with a lot of stars, but collectively as a team, they worked and played hard and I think that’s why they won.”

Larson, 15, an eighth-round pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft had a strong showing, recording a goal and four assists over five games.

“Jhett is basically functioning like a top two round player,” Sutter said of the five-foot-six, 141-pound forward.

“He outplayed a lot of guys that were drafted in the top two rounds. We were pretty happy with how he played. He’s kind of a throwback in terms of he’s got a real good skill-set and a good brain for the game. He’s just one of these guys that plays like he’s six-foot-four.”

Parker Lalonde, the Rebels sixth-round pick in that draft was the third Rebels prospect representing Saskatchewan. The forward has five points in 10 games with the Saskatoon Blazers in Midget AAA play this year.

“He thinks the game and has some skill, even though he’s 15 he’s playing with other good players on the Saskatoon Blazers, who have one of the top midget teams in Saskatchewan. We’re pretty happy with his development,” Sutter said.

The biggest surprise from the WHL Cup might have been Jace Weir, whom the Rebels selected in the second round of last year’s draft. He was a standout for B.C. in a bronze medal performance at the WHL Cup. He had a goal for B.C., but Sutter liked his play and said the 15-year-old has made big strides with the Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.

“He’s a big riser in the age group. He was an assistant captain for Team B.C. and plays on one of the top midget teams (in B.C.). He’s playing a lot and playing really well,” Sutter said.

“We didn’t have a first-round pick but some of our guys, including Jace, the way they’re developing to this point, that’s not going to be a concern.”

Goalie Justen Maric stood out as well at the WHL Cup, suiting up for Alberta. What has been truly impressive about the 15-year-old is making the jump to Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League play. Few netminders at that age play Midget AAA and in four starts for the CAC Canadians, he has a 3.92 goals against average, along with a .896 save percentage.

“He had some good games and give his chance to win,” Sutter said of Maric at the WHL Cup.

“He’s one of two goalies in Alberta playing major midget, it’s hard to play midget triple-A as a 15-year-old, especially as a goalie. I think that’s a pretty big positive.”



Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teachers condemn government’s actions towards doctors

“That they should be treated with such contempt is deeply disturbing”

Central Alberta centre gets more provincial dollars to deal with rising caseload of abused children

CEO Mark Jones expects to be helping 1,000 abused kids annually by 2024

Crime significantly reduced in Lacombe County subdivision when gate installed

Two-year pilot project at Westside Country Estates prompts county to adopt a gate policy

Security for empty nursing home is pricier than it would have been to knock it down

Provincial taxpayers have now paid more to mothball a former nursing home… Continue reading

Birds move into new wildlife hospital

Medicine River Wildlife Centre to host grand opening this spring

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville claims Tournament of Hearts playoff berth

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Protective of their curl-life balance, Krista McCarville and… Continue reading

Gary Harris’s generosity helped shape our college, and our city, writes Joel Ward

I was deeply saddened to learn of Gary Harris’s passing. I first… Continue reading

A teen’s perspective: Ordinary Canadians are paying a price for railway blockades

The following is a letter by Alberta teenager Liam Smith to his… Continue reading

Bashaw filmmakers capture grasslands’ beauty

Documentary showcases how a unique ecosystem is surviving

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Diamond Princess evacuees arrive for quarantine in Canada

OTTAWA — A plane carrying 129 Canadians and their families who have… Continue reading

U.S., Taliban truce takes effect, setting stage for peace deal

ISLAMABAD — A temporary truce between the United States and the Taliban… Continue reading

Most Read