Simpson enjoys chance to be close to home

When Riley Simpson decided to return home this year after two seasons with the Ohio State University Buckeyes, he wasn’t sure he would be playing competitive hockey. So when RDC Kings head coach Trevor Keeper called he couldn’t have been more excited.

When Riley Simpson decided to return home this year after two seasons with the Ohio State University Buckeyes, he wasn’t sure he would be playing competitive hockey.

So when RDC Kings head coach Trevor Keeper called he couldn’t have been more excited.

“I wasn’t sure I would be eligible after being at Ohio State for two years, but Keeper called my dad and talked with me about the opportunity and it’s been great,” said the 19-year-old from Innisfail.

Simpson played minor hockey in Innisfail until second year bantam when he joined the Red Deer bantam Rebels program. He played as a 15-year-old in the Red Deer minor midget AAA program and then joined the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

He had two solid seasons with the Bandits, scoring 16 goals and adding 18 assists in his first season then picked up 35 goals and 41 helpers in 59 games his second year.

He was recruited by OSU and moved to Columbus, Ohio, as a 17-year-old.

His first year was tough as he suffered a vocal cord injury, which forced him to miss all but two games.

“I had trouble breathing . . . it was scary,” he said. “But the second year I played a lot.”

He played 34 games, scoring three times and adding two assists.

“I played on what would be the third line and killed a lot of penalties,” he said.

Simpson didn’t have anything negative to say about the OSU program, but felt it was time to return home.

“I was away since I was 15 and first went to Brooks, so I just wanted to be back home with my friends and family. It’s worked out perfectly.”

Although he went to the States at an early age, he didn’t regret it.

“Another year of junior wouldn’t have hurt, but it was a good experience. I enjoyed it. The two years there helped me a lot.

“It was certainly different than Brooks. In Brooks I played power play, but didn’t kill penalties. At Ohio State I killed penalties, which will help here as I can do that if they want or be on the power play.”

Keeper is just happy to have the five-foot-eight, 165-pound forward on the roster.

“He’s a gifted player, who had close to 80 points in less than 60 games one year in junior and played NCAA when he was 17. He played a high level and will certainly add to our program.”

Simpson played both exhibition games against SAIT last weekend and doesn’t see a lot of difference between the Alberta Colleges Men’s Hockey League and the NCAA.

“The game down there is a little more structured . . . maybe more defensive, plus they wear cages, while we have visors, which I like” he said.

Although he’s not big, he isn’t one to back down from the physical play.

“I like taking a hit, or giving a hit early in the game as it gets me into it,” said Simpson, who expects to be in the lineup Thursday when the Kings host the University of Alberta, Augustana Vikings from Camrose at 7:30 p.m. at the Penhold Regional Multiplex.

The Kings will also play in the SAIT tournament, facing Thompson Rivers University of Kamloops at 5 p.m. Friday and Simon Fraser University at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The exhibition games are just what the Kings need as Keeper put together a new roster after RDC was away from men’s hockey for a decade.

“It takes time to get the chemistry, but we’ve been together for a couple of weeks and we’re starting to jell,” said Simpson, who is taking electrical engineering and will be at RDC for three years.

Keeper also likes what he sees from his troops.

“We had a few defensive breakdowns in our second game against SAIT (a 5-2 loss), but that’s something we’ll work on this week.

“We haven’t had a chance to do that yet. So once the guys get that down, hopefully we won’t be giving up as many shots.”

l The Kings will host the annual Challenge Cup volleyball tournament this week with four ACAC teams against four PacWest teams. The Kings face College of The Rockies from Cranbrook Thursday at 8 p.m. and defending PacWest champion Capilano College of North Vancouver Friday at 8 p.m. They meet Vancouver Island University of Nanaimo at 1 p.m. and Douglas College of New Westminster at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The other ACAC teams are SAIT, Briercrest, who will host the Canadian finals this season, and Medicine Hat. The conference with the most wins will win the tournament.

l The soccer teams are on the road Saturday as they visit Lakeland College in Lloydminster.

The Kings go in ranked 15th in the nation.

l The hockey Queens play Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Winsport in Calgary against Team Alberta of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

l The cross-country running team will be at SAIT Saturday with the golf team at the ACAC South Regional in Lethbridge Saturday and Sunday. The Kings golf team is ranked ninth in Canada.

l Kyle Morrison, who won the ACAC North Regional men’s golf title, was named the Boston Pizza RDC male athlete of the week.

Soccer midfielder Nicole Silveira of Calgary, who was strong in a 1-1 tie with SAIT and a 1-0 win over her former team, Olds, received the top female award.

Just Posted

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Alberta could receive 76,500 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine next week

Alberta should be getting a large shipment of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

An anti-lockdown protest went ahead outside a café in central Alberta on Saturday, despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
RCMP investigating whether credible online threats made against officers

Online images purportedly showing officers attending weekend rally at Mirror in rifle crosshairs

Bowden Institution Black Press file photo
Bowden Institution inmate dies from COVID-19 complications

Bowden death the sixth in Canada’s federal prison system

FOUND: Police locate Red Deer missing youth

Red Deer RCMP thank the public for their assistance

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Adam Feller reacts as he gets his Pfizer-BioNTech shot at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Montreal. Quebec has become the latest province to stop giving Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as a first dose.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Ontario keeps stay-at-home order; Quebec pauses Oxford-AstraZeneca shots

Ontario has announced it’s keeping its stay-at-home order in place until at… Continue reading

The flag of the Supreme Court of Canada flies outside the building following a ceremony in Ottawa, Monday March 15, 2021. The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially winning the Canadian Derby more than three years ago might have run out of legal room to reclaim the title. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from horse owners over derby dispute

OTTAWA — The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially… Continue reading

People take part in a protest called 'Justice for Joyce' in Montreal, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, where they demanded justice for Joyce Echaquan and an end to systemic racism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Quebec coroner’s inquest into death of Joyce Echaquan begins as her family testifies

MONTREAL — The husband of an Indigenous woman who was subjected to… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault, centre, speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec tables revamp of French-language law, toughens rules for businesses, schools

MONTREAL — The Quebec government reasserted the right of Quebecers to live… Continue reading

Permanent residency
Canada announces new pathway to permanent residency for families of crash victims

Ottawa is launching a new policy to help the families of victims… Continue reading

Co-founders Craig (left) and Marc Kielburger introduce Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau as they appear at the WE Day celebrations in Ottawa on November 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ethics watchdog: PM didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, but Morneau did

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not breach the Conflict of… Continue reading

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, center, celebrates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Crew with teammates from left, forward Tsubasa Endoh, defender Omar Gonzalez and forward Patrick Mullins during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Bradley, Altidore scores in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win over Crew

ORLANDO, Fla (AP) — Michael Bradley had a goal and an assist,… Continue reading

A football with the CFL logo sits on a chair during a press conference in Winnipeg, Friday, November 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Former defensive lineman Klassen tackling retirement as he did opposing quarterbacks

Klassen spent seven CFL seasons with Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa

Most Read