The Red Deer Rebels Hockey Club held their annual Prospects Camp last weekend at the Penhold Multiplex. According to Rebels’ Head Coach Brent Sutter, the camp is a way for players, coaches and parents to get familiar with each other.
“It is just getting engaged to see where the kids are at,” Sutter said. “For me personally, I don’t get to see these kids play much throughout the winter because I am focused in on the big team. It’s seeing where these kids are since last fall and also seeing what our new draft picks look like.”
For Sutter, it is important that parents develop a comfort level with the organization – especially considering that these players will be living away from home if they make the big club.
“It is a weekend where a lot of parents are in,” Sutter explained. “They get a good feel for things; they get to see the City; and they get to see the schooling and everything involved. It is a very informative weekend, not just for the players but for the parents too.”
Sutter noted the skill displayed on the ice was some of the best they have seen in recent years.
“It is arguably the best camp we have had with the talent level on the ice,” he said. “There is a little bit of everything on the ice – these kids are really good skaters, we have size, our smaller guys are tremendously skilled and our bigger guys are skilled too. Our scouting staff has done a tremendous job at improving that part of it over the last few years. Our future is very bright here.”
An important aspect of the camp is to develop some early camaraderie amongst the players.
“All the system coaches are on the ice,” Sutter said. “They run all the drills and I sit up in the box with the scouts. For the players, it is a chance for them to get some time together and get to know each other. I’m sure they will be communicating with each other through social media.”
The camp also provides some critical feedback to young, developing hockey players.
“The whole weekend is a good stepping stone towards our fall camp and a good way to see where kids are, not just from our perspective but theirs as well. They can say, ‘Okay this is what I need to work on or get better at,’” Sutter said. “It was a really good weekend and we are certainly glad we did it and will continue to do it. It gives the parents a good feel for how we do things and hopefully when they kid does possibly play here – they will have that comfort level about what he is coming to.”
He added the camp allows players, coaches and families too build strong relationships.
“At the end of the day, we are all in it together and we are trying to make everything better.”
The Rebels also signed two of their draft picks. First-round forward Ethan Rowland and third-round forward Jordan Borysiuk put pen to paper on June 5th after they both took part in the weekend’s camp.
“They are young kids who had tremendous years,” Sutter said. “They were committed players to our program and are very highly skilled.”