Rebels

Haydn Fleury stands with Carolina Hurricanes officials after being chosen seventh overall during the first round of the NHL hockey draft

The calm after the storm

Conner Bleackley and Red Deer Rebels teammate Haydn Fleury were relaxing Saturday, less than 24 hours after experiencing one of — if not the most — exciting evenings of their young lives. “It’s been pretty crazy,” said Bleackley, who was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round – 23rd overall — of the NHL entry draft Friday in Philadelphia, 16 picks after Fleury was nabbed by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Haydn Fleury stands with Carolina Hurricanes officials after being chosen seventh overall during the first round of the NHL hockey draft

Rebels open WHL season at home

The Red Deer Rebels will open their 2014-15 Western Hockey League regular season Sept. 19 against the visiting Kootenay Ice. Red Deer will visit the Calgary Hitmen the following day and will host the Ice Sept. 27 before heading out on their annual early-season East Division road trip that will include stops in Moose Jaw, Brandon and Regina Oct. 2, 4 and 5.

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Rebels going west for pre-season

The Red Deer Rebels will take their Western Hockey League preseason act south of the border this fall. The Rebels, for the first time ever, will participate in an exhibition tournament Sept. 4-6 at Kennewick, Wash., a three-day event also involving the host Tri-City Americans, Kootenay Ice, Seattle Thunderbirds, Portland Winterhawks, Spokane Chiefs and Everett Silvertips.

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Fleury gets invite to national junior camp

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Haydn Fleury is one of 45 players invited to the Canadian national junior hockey team’ summer development camp Aug. 3-8 in three Quebec centres — Brossard, Montreal and Sherbrooke. Fleury, who is projected as a top-10 to top-15 pick in this year’s NHL entry draft Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia, is also one of 16 Western Hockey League players invited to the summer camp.

Rebels eye Cup bid

Yes, the Red Deer Rebels are interested in hosting the 2016 Memorial Cup. No, the team will not bid to host the Canadian major junior hockey championship tournament if a large-market team enters the process with financial backing that’s impossible to match, unless there’s an understanding that money will not be the deciding factor.

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Pair of Rebels have a date with the draft

Red Deer Rebels teammates Haydn Fleury and Conner Bleackley have the date circled on their calendar. In fact, they had their magic markers out many months ago. Fleury, the smooth-skating defenceman, and Bleackley, the Rebels captain and gifted sniper, will both attend this year’s NHL entry draft set for June 27-28 in Philadelphia. June 27, when the first round will be conducted, is the date they’re focusing on.

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Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Rebels Rookie camp- Greg has story-Grant Mismash Edina

Rebels prospects feel at home during camp

They were a long way from home, but Austin Pratt and Grant Mismash felt right at home during the weekend. The impressive Minnesota-born-and-raised forwards soaked up everything the Red Deer Rebels spring prospects camp had to offer and both stood out among the list of 24 1998- and ‘99-born players at the Penhold Regional Multiplex.

Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Rebels Rookie camp- Greg has story-Grant Mismash Edina
Jeff de Wit takes a shot on goaltender Colby Entz during the Red Deer Rebels rookie camp at the Penhold Regional Multiplex on Friday.

Rebels draft picks shine early

The Red Deer Rebels’ first-round pick in the 2013 Western Hockey League bantam draft is right on schedule.

Jeff de Wit takes a shot on goaltender Colby Entz during the Red Deer Rebels rookie camp at the Penhold Regional Multiplex on Friday.

Rebels go with just younger players for this year’s prospects camp

Quality, not quantity, is the theme of this year’s Red Deer Rebels spring prospects camp set for Friday to Sunday at the Penhold Regional Multiplex. The quality is in the form of 24 players — down from 32 last year, a number that included 17-year-olds — all of whom were born in 1998 and ‘99.

Pair of Rebels to attend NHL draft combine

Forward Conner Bleackley and defenceman Haydn Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels are among 23 Western Hockey League players who will attend the 2014 NHL draft combine May 26-31 in Toronto. The combine will feature 119 prospects — including 18 international players — for this year’s entry draft, set for June 27-28 in Philadelphia.

Williamson gets back to work right away

That didn’t last long. Just a month after hitting the unemployment line, Mike Williamson returned to the WHL Tuesday as head coach of the Tri-City Americans. Williamson, who was fired by the Calgary Hitmen in mid-April after five seasons as head coach, replaces Jim Hiller as the Tri-City bench boss. Hiller was canned by the Americans last Friday, and coincidentally held that post for five years.

Rebels get nice mix at draft

It just so happened that Jake Leschyshyn had set his sights on the Red Deer Rebels prior to Thursday’s Western Hockey League bantam draft. “Before the draft my dad and I both talked to Red Deer a bit. My dad said it’s a great organization and his first choice was Red Deer. It worked out well,” said the Saskatoon native, who was selected by the Rebels sixth overall in the draft conducted in Calgary. “It feels like Christmas.”

Rebels swap overage defencemen at draft

The Red Deer Rebels moved one 20-year-old defenceman and added another overage rearguard during the WHL bantam draft Thursday. General manager/head coach Brett Sutter is confident the trades resulted in an upgrade on his blueline.

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Rebels look to add top-end talent at draft

The Red Deer Rebels will enter Thursday’s Western Hockey League bantam draft in Calgary with the knowledge that they will land a top-end player with their first pick, sixth overall. And that’s about the only guarantee — if there is such a thing — that will come out of the annual lottery of 14- and 15-year-olds.

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Oldest junior franchise in the world switching hands

The oldest junior franchise in the world will soon have new owners, contingent upon approval from the Western Hockey League’s board of governors. Anthony Marquart, the president of Regina-based Royalty Developments — a real estate, investment and management firm — and Queen City Sports and Entertainment, has bought the Regina Pats from long-time owner Russ Parker.

Trio of Rebels make Central Scouting final rankings

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Kayle Doetzel is listed in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings for the second year in succession. Doetzel was ranked 90th among North American skaters in last year’s CS final rankings and was passed over completely in the NHL entry draft. This year he’s ranked 178th, making him a fringe possibility to be selected in the draft as a 19-year-old.

Laxdal not likely to get nice reception in return home

Edmonton Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal is unlikely to get a friendly ovation from the fans tonight at Brandon’s Westman Place. Regardless, he’ll feel right at home. Laxdal, whose club holds a 2-0 lead over the Brandon Wheat Kings heading into tonight’s third game of the WHL Eastern Conference semifinal on enemy ice, has some unique and heavy ties to the province and the Brandon area in particular. The 48-year-old is a native of Stonewall, Man., and played with the Wheat Kings in the mid-80s.

Pair of Rebels named to national U18 team

Red Deer Rebels teammates Conner Bleackley and Haydn Fleury are taking their talents to Europe. Bleackley and Fleury were named to the Canadian team Saturday for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey Under-18 World Championship April 17-27 in Finland. Both players were invited to the Canadian U18 team selection camp last summer leading into the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Fleury, a defenceman, made the team, while Bleackley, a forward, came up short in his bid.

Sutter says Rebels will be better next season

To state the obvious, the Red Deer Rebels’ 2013-14 season was a major disappointment. Make that understated. The Rebels returned the vast majority of the players who made up the team that finished fourth in the Eastern Conference and won a playoff round last spring, yet failed to qualify for the post-season a year later.

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Valcourt in a good place

As he winds down his WHL career with his third club in four years, Collin Valcourt feels that he’s in a good place. “It’s been a good trade and a good year for me. I feel I’ve really grown as a player,” said the Red Deer native and Prince Albert Raiders overage forward, who was acquired in a late December deal with the Saskatoon Blades.

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