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When one door closed, another door opened for Nick Charif. After suiting up for the midget AAA Edmonton Southside Athletics last season, the now 18-year-old defenceman took his hockey skills to the Victoria Grizzlys of the junior A BCHL, his long-term plans revolving around securing a scholarship to a U.S. university.
Evan Polei was convinced he had a future with the Saskatoon Blades. His immediate future is now with the Red Deer Rebels. The 17-year-old forward admitted Tuesday that he didn’t expect to be traded from the Blades to the Rebels last week.
If his hockey career doesn’t pan out, Kirk Bear could always turn to television. The Red Deer Rebels rookie defenceman was involved in a reality TV show — Hit the Ice — filmed in Ottawa in July, a youth series that features the best young aboriginal hockey player from across the country participating in physical training, on-ice drills and team-building activities.
The Red Deer Rebels wanted a physical presence to add to their crop of younger players; the Saskatoon Blades were seeking a forward with offensive ability. Accordingly, the Western Hockey League clubs agreed to a Thursday trade that involved forwards Cory Millette and Evan Polei. Millette, 18, was reassigned to the Estevan Bruins last week after two seasons with the Rebels and scored two goals and added an assist in two games with the SJHL club, while Polei, 17, was pointless in two games with the Blades this fall but carries 228 pounds on a six-foot-one frame.
The sooner the Red Deer Rebels learn they can’t score from the penalty box, the better. With the Rebels two men short in the second period, former Red Deer defenceman Matt Pufahl beat Rebels netminder Patrik Bartosak with a shot from just inside the point and the goal stood up for the Everett Silvertips in a 2-1 WHL win before 4,284 fans at the Centrium.
When Brent Sutter talks about Meyer Nell he’s pretty much describing the type of player every team covets. “He’s smart, he has good skills, he can skate and he has good size,” the Red Deer Rebels general manager/head coach said Monday, in reference to the 16-year-old forward who was recently recalled from the Notre Dame midget AAA Argos and will be with the WHL club for the remainder of the season.
Considering the adversity the Red Deer Rebels faced on their four-game Western Hockey League road trip, a concluding 4-2 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings Saturday was especially satisfying. “It was a tough trip in a lot of different ways,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter Sunday, in reference to a three-game suspension to defenceman Devan Fafard, injuries to rearguard Brady Gaudet and impressive rookie forward Grayson Pawlenchuk, and inconsistent play from his troops.
PRINCE ALBERT — The Red Deer Rebels lost track of time too early Wednesday night and the end result was a 4-1 Western Hockey League loss to the host Prince Albert Raiders. “We didn’t play 60 minutes,” said Rebels general manager/head coach Brent Sutter. “We played a really good first period, it might have been our best period in our last three games. But in the second period we took our foot off the pedal a bit and didn’t play to our level. We took some penalties, they gained momentum and we were playing catch-up after that.”
SASKATOON — The Red Deer Rebels raced out to a 3-0 lead, then took their foot off the gas. In the end, however, the Rebels pulled out a 4-2 Western Hockey League win over the Saskatoon Blades before 3,767 fans at Credit Union Centre to open their four-game East Division road trip on a positive note. “Any time you can start off a trip with a win it’s huge,” said GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
CALGARY — A four-pack of first-period penalties and a lack of emotion added up to a long night for the Red Deer Rebels Saturday at the Saddledome. The Rebels were assessed all four minors called in the opening frame of the WHL contest and yet escaped with a 1-0 deficit despite being outshot 14-3.
The Red Deer Rebels had one player coming and one going Thursday, both of whom were members of the 2012 Telus Cup champion Red Deer Optimist Rebels Chiefs.
Brady Gaudet arrived in Red Deer with the reputation of being an offensive-minded defenceman. One year later, he’s convinced he’s become more. Much more. “I’ve think I’ve taken a lot of strides in the right direction,” Gaudet said Thursday. “I’m a more rounded player now, not just an offensive or good-skating D-man. I’ve been able to add a lot of things to my game since I’ve come to Red Deer. I’ve been able to play a lot more on the special teams and in all kinds of situations.
Kootenay Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth insists that he didn’t trade for his son for the sole reason of bringing him home. “If I didn’t think he could help our hockey team I wouldn’t have made the trade,” Chynoweth told Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman after acquiring his son, Ryan, from the Tri-City Americans Wednesday.
The official on-ice leader of the Red Deer Rebels will be identified at some point in the future. Whether that means near future or even a month or two down the road is still up in the air. “We have no immediate plans to name a captain,” Rebels general manager/head coach Brent Sutter said Wednesday. “We’re just going to hold off and do it at the right time.”
Share and share alike; that’s what good linemates do. Red Deer first-line forwards Rhyse Dieno, Brooks Maxwell and Lukas Sutter were totally in synch Saturday night at the Enmax Centrium. Each player scored once and collected two assists as the Rebels downed the Kootenay Ice 6-3 in their Western Hockey League home opener.
The Red Deer Rebels open their 2013-14 Western Hockey League season tonight at Cranbrook as one of the more glamorous groups in the Eastern Conference.
In order to add a much-needed dimension to his team, Brent Sutter had to move a quality person/player Tuesday. When gritty forward Lukas Sutter was reassigned by the Winnipeg Jets to the Rebels Monday, the writing was on the wall for fellow 20-year-old Tyson Ness. The Grande Prairie native was a victim of the numbers game, with Brent Sutter deciding to keep his nephew — acquired from the Saskatoon Blades last June — reigning CHL goaltender of the year Patrik Bartosak and high-scoring forward Rhyse Dieno as his three overage players for the 2013-14 Western Hockey League season.
Kailum Gervais is out of sight, but not out of mind. Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter reassigned Gervais to the Yorkton Terriers of the SJHL Monday — a mere five days after bringing the rugged forward in for a look — but is open to the notion of bringing him back at some point this fall.
STETTLER — Ah, the exuberance of youth. Unfortunately, with exuberance comes mistakes that are almost exclusively the result of inexperience.
Five Red Deer Rebels players will attend NHL camps this week while harbouring varying goals and expectations. At the front of the list is defenceman Mathew Dumba, whom the Minnesota Wild nabbed seventh overall in last year’s NHL entry draft. Dumba made a positive impression at the 2012 Wild camp and was late arriving back in Red Deer, and there’s no reason to suggest he’ll back in Red Deer any time soon, if at all.