2018 - 19 Review
The RDC Kings placed third (19W-7L-1OTL-1T) in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men's Hockey.
The Red Deer College Kings swept the Concordia University Thunder in two straight games (5-0 and 6-1) in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals, the MacEwan University Griffins edged the Kings two games to one (4-3, 0-1 and 3-2). All three contests needed overtime. The RDC Kings earned ACAC bronze.
ACAC Men's Hockey First Team All-Conference – Tanner Butler (defence), Chase Thudium (forward)
ACAC Men's Hockey Player of the Year – Tanner Butler
Chase Thudium vs. U of L Pronghorns
RDC Athletics Awards Night
Coach's Award - Anthony Neurauter
Most Improved Player - Chase Thudium
Most Valuable Player - Tanner Butler
Rookie of the Year - Ryley Smith
There is a quiet confidence surrounding the Red Deer College Kings Hockey team as the 2019-20 ACAC season approaches. With a veteran roster that features 19 returning student-athletes, Head Coach Trevor Keeper has iced the most experienced group since the Kings returned to ACAC competition in 2013-14.
"We are going into our seventh year in the league and we have a good core of third and fourth-year guys," he says. "We still only have one fifth-year in Dylan Thudium, but we also have a lot of mature players who are in their second and third year."
Forwards – Jacob Wozney, Chase Thudium, Chance Longjohn, Dylan Thudium, Austin Hunter, Scott Ferguson, Ryley Smith, Lynnden Pastachak, Anthony Neurauter, Tyrell Mappin, Kyle Salaway, Ross Heidt, Mathieu Lapointe
Keeper will look to the veterans to help guide the Kings on and off the ice. "Along with Dylan Thudium, we have the combination of Scott Ferguson, Austin Hunter and Trevor Costello, who are fourth-year guys," he says. "It's a good leadership group."
Captain Scott Ferguson vs. U of L
Forwards – Regan Doig
"We have a really good mix of offensive guys and those who will do whatever it takes, in terms of checking and grinding it out," says Keeper. "Everyone respects everyone's roles and they are all playing for each other. They are all passionate about winning, so we are looking forward to working with this group."
Tanner Butler, Mike Statchuk, Dylan Baer, Troy Trombley, Parker Smyth
Despite losing graduating All-Conference defenceman Tanner Butler, the Kings are excited to augment their blue line with first-years Carter Wolski, Boedy Donald and Daniel Liberty. Keeper also added Regan Doig to the forward ranks and the head coach is very pleased with the four additions.
"The new guys understand where our standards are. It trickles down and is all part of our culture. We have good depth right through the lineup including with the rookies that we brought in," he says.
"Carter Wolski is a smaller defenceman, but very dynamic and can skate like the wind."
Five-foot-ten Wolski played with the Grande Prairie Storm and most recently, two season with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). In 66 games with the Bandits, the Kinesiology student recorded 39 points.
"Boedy Donald and Daniel Liberty on D are both big bodies and they've played a lot of junior games, and have good experience," says Keeper.
Donald, who is listed at six-foot-one and 194 pounds, played 243 games in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) with the Kindersley Klippers, Nipawin Hawks and Melfort Mustangs. Six-foot-two Liberty suited up in both the AJHL and SJHL. Last season, the Open Studies student from Edmonton recorded 25 points in 49 games with the Melville Millionaires of the SJHL.
"Regan Doig played in Battleford and won the Saskatchewan Junior League Championship. The rookies have been a part of good programs and they understand the commitment level and what we expect here," says Keeper. "It is really important to get guys that love hockey and still have the fire burning"
Last season, Doig contributed 20 points in 53 games for the Battlefords North Stars during the regular season and added another three points in the postseason. The six-foot-one forward from Olds also has experience with the Okotoks Oilers of the AJHL.
During exhibition play, the Kings had a 3-3 record, including a pair of victories against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns of U Sports. The RDC Kings pulled within two goals (2-4) against the University of Calgary Dinos of U Sports, which garnered attention in hockey circles. This year the Dinos defeated the University of Regina Cougars 8-1 and the University of Manitoba Bisons 7-1.
"In preseason we tried to prepare and establish our systems and tactics, while playing around with roles on the penalty kill and power play," says Keeper. "We worked on implementing a structure so the guys can bring their individual talents to that. We are built on speed and skill and the guys have been playing well as a group and have gotten better over the preseason. Our goaltenders Arik Weersink and Nathan Alalouf are also playing really well."
Arik Weersink vs. U of L
The RDC Kings will open the season on the road against the MacEwan University Griffins on Friday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m.
"MacEwan had quite a bit of turnover, but they have some really good recruits in," says Keeper. "Some guys have been part of two or three championships with that team, and with that experience, they know what to expect."
The Kings will play their home opener against the Griffins on Saturday, October 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. The two teams were involved in a memorable semi-finals last year when all three games went into overtime. MacEwan University eventually took the hard-fought series, going on to win their third consecutive ACAC Championship.
Keeper thinks that experience could help this team reach the next step. "We feel that we learned from that last year. We've been to the semi-finals the last couple of years," he says. "We've been to double-overtime games in the playoffs, so that experience is invaluable. It could be the factor that pushes this group through to the next level."