Rocky Junior Rams excited to bring big-time hockey back to community

Rocky Junior Rams excited to bring big-time hockey back to community

Will join the Heritage Junior B Hockey League for their inaugural season this year

Early last fall in the bleachers at the Rocky Arena Complex, a group of men had an idea they just couldn’t shake.

Watching players on the ice during a Midget A hockey game, Ryan Stambaugh and a few others had a vision that they felt was finally time to put into action.

It was an idea almost two years in the making when the Rocky Junior Rams were finally reincarnated and accepted into the Heritage Junior B Hockey League in June.

Of course, there hasn’t been junior hockey in the area for almost three decades, but in the last 20 or so, it has been the Rocky Senior Rams in the Chinook Hockey League.

Until, they folded three years ago and left a void.

Stambaugh and the group that helped create the new organization saw a significant need for young players, giving them a place to pursue hockey right at home.

“Rocky is a great community supporting town– the businesses, the people. Rocky has been a hockey town for 50 or 60 years,” said Stambach, the president of hockey operations for the newly formed group.

“Small town, what do you do on a winter night? You go watch your kid play hockey. If your kid isn’t playing hockey, you’re watching the neighbour’s kid. This community is great at supporting that stuff and now we have a place for our midget players to continue playing hockey– our local kids.”

The group started to put a plan in place last September, with feedback from the Heritage Junior B Hockey League about what they would need to do. From then on, they worked tirelessly to put a proposal together.

Fast forward to June 3, when they presented that plan to the league at their AGM and with unanimous approval, the Rams were back.

They are lucky enough to have jerseys a gift by the final version of the Rams from the senior league and most of their equipment as well.

The coaching staff and management came together quickly. Clint Robinson, a long-time community coach will guide the team behind the bench as head coach, with Wendall Mason and Morgan King serving as assistants. Robinson was most recently head coach of the Hockey Central Panthers U15 AA boys in Sylvan Lake.

“He’s been sought after by Junior B and Junior A teams. He’s a magnificent coach. He’s a gem. To have him a part of the team, that’s one of the key factors in it,” Stambaugh explained.

“Wendall Mason has been a big part of the community from minor hockey right through. He’s another driving force behind us having this team.”

Sam Maupin, the new GM, is another long-time Rocky resident. Out of high school started volunteered for the senior team. In the last few seasons before they folded, she was GM of the senior team.

“It was all smiles from her. She was basically 100 per cent dedicated to this,” Stambaugh added.

The next battle for the Rams is finding players. An uphill fight considering they can’t do any active recruiting based on league rules. Still, they’ve collected interest from a number of players and will host a player camp in mid-August, from the 16-18. That will be followed by four tryout sessions between Aug. 27 and Sept. 3.

They are looking for 66 players to attend that camp and have about 40 so far, a lot locally from anywhere between Drayton Valley, Sundre and Red Deer.

“For us, we can’t scout or solicit players from anywhere else. They have to approach us to play on the team. Since we put out our summer camp, we’ve had a huge response from players. Players from all over the province. Players from Ontario and B.C.,” he said.

“The calibre (of the league) since we’ve been watching and paying attention, it keeps getting better and faster.”

Although the league schedule won’t be worked out until later this month, Stambaugh figures they’ll open the season on the road Sept. 21, then play the home opener the last weekend in September.

Excitement is already palpable in the community according to the President of Hockey Operations and they expect it to grow it even more with a community gathering later this month on July 26.

For more information on the team, their origins and tryout sign up, go to www.rockyrams.com.



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

(Black Press file photo)
Police seeks suspects in Bowden armed robbery

Man was beaten and robbed of his wallet

Red Deer RCMP say Alexander King was last seen about a month ago. (Contributed)
Red Deer teen reported missing

RCMP ask for public’s assistance

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says it’s not appropriate for former… Continue reading

More back-alley murals, such as this one behind Can-West Travel, will be painted this summer before the City of Red Deer holds it Meet the Street arts and culture festival in September. (Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer seeks more mural artists

Creating 10 more back-alley murals is the goal

Teachers with Centre-Nord School Division are holding a strike vote on Jan. 25 and 26. (Photo from Facebook)
Central Alberta teachers hold strike vote

Francophone teachers to cast votes

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

NDP member of Parliament Lindsay Mathyssen speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP warns of long delays in equal pay for women in federal pay equity rules

OTTAWA — The federal New Democrats say new rules to close a… Continue reading

President Joe Biden waves as he departs after attending Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington. Less than a week after the economic gut punch of cancelling Keystone XL, Canada is bracing for more bad news today from the White House. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Patrick Semansky
U.S. president to sign executive orders enacting stringent new Buy American regimen

WASHINGTON — Less than a week after the economic gut punch of… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

A 37-year-old man from Maskwacis has died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital Tuesday December 15, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canadian provinces push back vaccination plans as Pfizer deliveries grind to a halt

Some Canadian health-care workers are being told they’ll have to wait longer… Continue reading

A Shell logo is seen at a petrol station in London on January 20, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kirsty Wigglesworth
Shell buys European electric car charging firm ubitricity

Experts say easier access to charging facilities key to successful rollout of electric vehicles

FILE— In this Feb. 23, 2019, file photo, Vashti Cunningham poses for photographers after winning the women’s high jump final at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in New York. Cunningham is one of the athletes who will be competing in the American Track League, which opens a four-week-long series on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 in an indoor setting at the University of Arkansas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez. File)
Back on track: Competing, not cash, lures big names to meet

American Track League begins a four-week indoor series at the University of Arkansas

Eugene Levy, left, and his son Dan Levy accept the Best Comedy Series Award for ‘“Schitt’s Creek” at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Sunday, March 13, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Dan Levy to make ‘Saturday Night Live’ hosting debut on Feb. 6

‘Schitt’s Creek’ co-creator to host show

Most Read