The end of the WHL season has come, and the Red Deer Rebels have played their last game of the 2011-12 season.
It was an emotional night for Rebels’ starting goalie Deven Dubyk, playing in his final game of his WHL career.
“I let my emotions get the best of me, especially at the start of the game, even the national anthem, I was biting my lip a little bit. But you know what, I don’t regret anything.”
The WHL veteran Dubyk, who turns 21 this summer and will be ineligible to play in the WHL next season, came to the Rebels halfway through the season to replace injured tender Patrik Bartosak.
“I just like to thank the fans, supporting me the whole year, it’s tough coming in here and I never regret coming here,” says the graduating goaltender. “This is the best choice for me, and I’m glad to have been a part of the Red Deer Rebels organization.”
While, Dubyk’s departure from the WHL wasn’t ideal, defenseman Alex Petrovic’s departure was bittersweet.
Bitter on the team front, yet sweet individually. The Rebels handed out their team awards prior to their last game. The Most Valuable Player and Best Defenseman award on the team this season was Petrovic, who really didn’t foresee the accolades coming. “I was a little surprised because maybe the best D-Man could have went to (Matt) Dumba, or maybe even the MVP — he’s been great this year, he’s put up lots of points.”
The 20-year-old may think the world of his defensive partner who was second in team scoring with 57 points, but he’s still honoured not only for the award, but for those who have gotten the awards before him. “Just to see the names for the MVP who have had that in the past, it’s great to be related to them. And I’m really honoured.”
Team captain, Adam Kambeitz, the Players Award winner voted on by his teammates, learned a lot from this season, especially with the over 300 man games lost to injury.
“We just have to look at what the team was despite all that. I’m proud of all the guys. I was proud to call myself a Rebel, to see those guys battle every night. Despite being down so many guys, we’ve talked about it and we can use it as an excuse but I don’t think we should.”
There’s no doubt the captain upped his game this year. Last season he had 38 points in 72 games while this year, only playing 45 games he had 31.
So how does he improve on leading next year?
“I think I have another level I can reach and if I bring my game to that level, I think that will help lead on the ice,” said Kambeitz. “I think the key to success is having a strong group that can trust one another.”
Each of these three players are looking to different futures, but Dubyk is not sure what the future holds. “I’m going to take it day by day,” the netminder said.
“If I don’t play hockey next year I don’t play hockey, if I take a year off, work, go to school or play CIS, either way I’m going to be happy about my decision.”
Petrovic starts his AHL career with Houston almost immediately.
“(I’ll) get some rest here, get in the gym a couple of times and just get right at ‘er and start my pro career I guess.”
And for the captain, there’s always next season. “We’ve got to prepare through the summer and train hard. We can take our break now for a bit, but we want to get back to training this summer and we want to prepare ourselves to come into training camp and be competitive right off the bat next year.”
Enjoy your summer boys.