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Red Deer’s Kohen Lodge pushing for Team Alberta spot at summer camp

20 athletes will be named to WHL Cup roster
Red Deer’s Kohen Lodge is vying for a pot on Team Alberta in the upcoming WHL Cup in Red Deer during the U16 male summer camp in Red Deer this week. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Red Deer’s Kohen Lodge is hoping to go where he’s never gone before and represent his province on the national stage.

The 14-year-old forward is just one of 80 athletes this week at the 2023 Team Alberta Male Under-16 Summer Camp vying for a spot to play for their province at the 2023 Western Hockey League (WHL) Cup in October.

From July 4-9 Lodge and the other participants hit the ice at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in hopes of leaving a lasting impression on the coaching staff.

Lodge said he was happy to get invited.

“It’s been good so far and the competition is really good here. I’m happy to be here,” he said.

“I think my physicality and competitiveness are good. I’m tough in the corners and make plays from the corners.”

The youngster played in the 2023 Alberta Cup where he recorded six points in five games but has yet to represent his province in a national tournament.

Players were invited to the summer camp based on their performances during the 2022-23 seasons and at the Alberta Cup. From the summer camp, a shortlist will be set and those players will be scouted from their teams until the 20-man roster is named.

The WHL Cup is set to take place in Red Deer from Oct. 17-22 where Alberta will take on teams from Saskatchewan, B.C., and Manitoba.

Other central Albertans who are also at camp this week are Dallin Antos (Red Deer), Dermot Johnston (Olds), Daxon Rudolph (Lacombe), Easton Daneault (Red Deer), and Nash Nicolay (Rocky Mountain House).

Lodge took a big step up this past season recording a career-high 54 points (29 goals and 25 assists) in 32 games with the U15 AAA Red Deer Rebels in the Alberta Elite Hockey League.

He was also drafted 195th overall by the Saskatoon Blades in the ninth round at the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft. He explained the experience of getting drafted into the WHL was exciting.

“I was really happy to be drafted by the Blades. I know a couple of guys there and I’m excited to go there for the main camp and hopefully make the team,” he said.

Lodge was in school when he received the good news that his Western Hockey League dreams became a reality. His teacher displayed the draft results on the classroom board and that’s when Lodge saw he was headed to Saskatchewan.

“My name just popped up and it was really exciting because everyone was happy for me. It was really cool,” he added.

He has yet to be signed by the Blades but hopes to get that done soon. Until then, he’s going to keep working hard and the rest will fall into place.

Unlike many of the other prospects pushing for a spot on Team Alberta, Lodge may have the upper hand in terms of someone to turn to for advice.

Lodge’s father Erik is an assistant coach for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels. Kohen’s father helped him start skating when he was just two years old and played competitively at four. Lodge is the oldest of two boys and his younger brother began peewee hockey this year.

“My dad has pushed me and he’s the skills coach for the Rebels so he’s put in a lot of ice time with me. He’s worked with me and pushes me to get better every day,” he said.

“It’s really helpful and he tells me a lot. Just got to follow that and keep pushing.”

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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