Rebels

Rebels playing the ‘right way’

Obviously the Red Deer Rebels are not yet in mid-season form. But if the 2014-15 Western Hockey League regular season started tomorrow, GM/head coach Brent Sutter would feel comfortable with taking the current crew into battle.

Bartosak crashes Rebels camp

Former Rebels netminder Patrik Bartosak didn’t have to pull out a map to realize Red Deer is a lot closer to Los Angeles than his hometown of Koprivnice in the Czech Republic. The notion of spending 10 days in his former second home was both practical and appealing to the 21-year-old, who arrived in Red Deer Saturday and will head back to Los Angeles Sept. 10 to attend the Kings’ NHL rookie camp.

Special teams cost Rebels

ST. ALBERT — Even up, the Rebels were as good if not better than the two teams they faced Saturday and Sunday during a WHL preseason tournament hosted by the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Rebels pare down roster by two

Cut and paste. Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter reduced his Western Hockey League club’s roster to 31 players Thursday by reassigning 16-year-old forwards Tyler Kirkup and Josh Logel, both of whom will rejoin their midget AAA teams. Kirkup will suit up with the Southwest Cougars, based in Souris, Man., while Logel will be back with the Calgary Northstars.

Sterzer steps away to play at university

Aspen Sterzer will play hockey this season, but not with the Red Deer Rebels. The 20-year-old forward, whom Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter acquired from the Kamloops Blazers last winter in return for forward Matt Bellerive and a third-round bantam draft pick, decided not to rejoin the club this season and instead pursue a post-secondary education.

Not a final farewell for Rebels prospects

The Red Deer Rebels bid adieu to 12 players following the Black and White intrasquad game Sunday and the vast majority will remain as prospects of the Western Hockey League club for the time being and beyond. Among the reassigned players still in the Rebels’ plans is 16-year-old netminder Colby Entz, who will rejoin the Moose Jaw Generals and play No. 1 minutes with the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League squad.

Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- For Danny or Greg's story -- Red Deer Rebels White forward Preston Kopeck fights to the front of the Black net for a shot on goalie Dawson Weatherill at the Rebels black and white game on Sunday. White won 5-1.

Black and white, and full of fight

For an intrasquad game, there was nothing black and white about Sunday’s Red Deer Rebels Black and White game at the Enmax Centrium. The contest had a little of everything, with strong goaltending, a spirited scrap and a third-period bushel of goals. All in all, the participants provided the roughly 1,500 fans with a decent late afternoon/early evening dose of entertainment.

Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- For Danny or Greg's story -- Red Deer Rebels White forward Preston Kopeck fights to the front of the Black net for a shot on goalie Dawson Weatherill at the Rebels black and white game on Sunday. White won 5-1.

Rebels reassign 12 after Black and White game

Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter reassigned 12 players following Sunday’s Black and White game, with the list including promising 16-year-old goaltender Colby Entz and 18-year-old defenceman Alex Pernitsky. Entz will be the No. 1 stopper for the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals in 2014-15, while Pernitsky, from Unity, Sask., will likely play in the SJHL with the Battlefords North Stars.

Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Rebels - Red Deer Rebel Evan Polei attends the preseason camp at the Centrium this week.

Polei hopes hard work pays off

As Red Deer Rebels winger Evan Polei admitted Friday, if you want to be a player “you have to work your ass off.” Polei certainly busted his butt during the summer while serving as an instructor at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C., and reaped the rewards as he dropped 10 pounds and worked himself into tip-top physical condition.

Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Rebels - Red Deer Rebel Evan Polei attends the preseason camp at the Centrium this week.
Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Rebels - Red Deer Rebel Jake Leschyshyn chases a loose puck during main camp black on white scrimmage on Friday.

Leschyshyn looking to learn

Jake Leschyshyn isn’t here for a long time; he’s here for a good learning time. Next year he’ll be in Red Deer for a long time. “He’s going to stay here with us next week, practise with the team and play the two (preseason) games next weekend in St. Albert,” said Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter in reference to the club’s first-round pick in this year’s WHL bantam draft, a player who — not surprisingly — stood out in rookie camp and was moved into main camp Friday.

Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Rebels - Red Deer Rebel Jake Leschyshyn chases a loose puck during main camp black on white scrimmage on Friday.

New Rebel Cote looking forward to being a leader

If Brett Cote is saving his best for last, the Red Deer Rebels could still win the May trade that brought the 20-year-old defenceman to the WHL’s Eastern Conference club. “Last season our team did really well. We had a really good team in Victoria but I thought I kind of didn’t have my best year,” the former Victoria Royals rearguard said Thursday, following a main camp practice during the opening sessions of the Rebels training camp at the Enmax Centrium.

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Musil to see bigger role with Rebels

Adam Musil is hoping that his continued growth will be similar to how he and the Canadian under-18 team improved on a game-to-game basis en route to winning gold in the recent Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament. “We tried to get better every day. That’s what we did and I thought our last game was our best game,” the Red Deer Rebels forward said Wednesday, in reference to the Canadian squad’s 6-2 win over the host Czech Republic in the gold-medal contest.

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Rebels lose another veteran as Aspen Sterzer packs it in

He played an aggressive, hard-hitting style during his first three years in the Western Hockey League, but Aspen Sterzer has apparently lost the passion to play at the major junior level. The 20-year-old forward failed to register for the Red Deer Rebels training camp Wednesday and has told general manager/head coach Brent Sutter that he’s decided to fulfill a promise to his parents and pursue an education.

Let the position battles begin at Rebels camp

The Red Deer Rebels open training camp Thursday as a team that doesn’t appear to have many openings up front but could feature a new-look back end for the 2014-15 Western Hockey League season. With the departure of graduating forwards Rhyse Dieno and Lucas Sutter and the off-season retirement of Vukie Mpofu, as few as three forward berths are up for grabs. Mason McCarty and Brayden Burke, both 17, are at the front of the employment line, along with 16-year-old Jeff de Wit.

Rebels Musil named to Canada’s U18 roster for Ivan Hlinka tournament

Red Deer Rebels forward Adam Musil was named to Canada’s men’s roster Tuesday for the upcoming under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. The 22-man roster is comprised entirely of players competing in the Canadian Hockey League following a four-day selection camp.

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Mpofu leaving Rebels to pursue education

The Red Deer Rebels will be short one veteran player when training camp opens Aug. 21 at the Enmax Centrium. Forward Vukie Mpofu informed Rebels general manager/head coach Brent Sutter last week that he has given up on his hockey career and will instead pursue a business and marketing degree at the University of Saskatchewan while chasing his dream of becoming a lawyer.

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Rebels still have interest in hosting Memorial Cup

Brent Sutter informed the Western Hockey League Tuesday that he still harbours every interest in hosting the 2016 Memorial Cup tournament. The Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach, however, was quick to point out that his submission to the league was strictly an unofficial notice, not a formal bid.

Rebels ink ‘important’ pieces

The mighty pen was front and centre Wednesday at the Red Deer Rebels office. Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter inked goaltender coach/consultant Taylor Dakers to a new deal, while forward Jake Leschyshyn of Saskatoon and netminder Dawson Weatherill of Red Deer — the club’s first two picks in this year’s Western Hockey League bantam draft — signed standard player contracts.

Rebels bolster blue line through import draft

Red Deer Rebels general manager/head coach Brent Sutter went into Wednesday’s Canadian Hockey League import draft with the hopes of improving his blue line. Based on size and potential. . . mission accomplished.

Rebels looking for the next great import

The Red Deer Rebels hit a home run in the 2011 Canadian Hockey League import draft, selecting Czech netminder Patrik Bartosak 59th overall. But that was then, this is now. And the prevailing question is: Can the club smack it out of the park once again in this year’s import draft, set for Wednesday?