Rebels hope to land forward in import draft; Anderson the right fit as assistant coach
Brent Sutter is hoping to land an impact forward in Wednesday’s Canadian Hockey League import draft, but it’s not like he’s married to the concept.
The Rebels draft 27th out of the 60 CHL teams, but some clubs are expected to pass so the pick will come earlier. The draft — via conference call — starts at 9 a.m.
“That’s our focus (drafting a forward) but we will take the best player available at that time,” the Rebels GM/head coach said Tuesday. “If it happens to be a defenceman, we’ll take a defenceman.
“But getting a forward is our priority and we think there’s a lot of good forwards there. Whether or not they’re coming is something we don’t know.”
Rebels assistant GM/director or player personnel Shaun Sutter has been focusing on the import draft since early May and has assembled a list of potential picks.
“Shaun has put a lot of work into it ever since the (WHL) bantam draft,” said Brent Sutter. “He’s had a lot of time to do it and has put together some very detailed lists.
“There are players who will be coming over for sure and there are others who are under contract to teams overseas and it’s a matter of whether they can get out of those contracts. Shaun has done a great job of organizing it all and communicating with a lot of different people, including scouts and agents.”
The import draft consists of two rounds but the Rebels — with promising defenceman Alexander Alexeyev already in the fold — will take just one player.
One and done
As Pierre-Paul Lamoureux made his exit after one season as a Rebels assistant coach, Brett Anderson entered the picture as his replacement.
Sutter officially hired Anderson Monday after Lamoureux decided to accept an associate head coaching position with the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League.
“I met with Pierre after the season ended and he told me he wants to be a head coach,” said Sutter. “I informed him that at this point in time that wasn’t going to be the case in Red Deer, either now or in the near future.
“He had another year on his contract on a team option and I gave him an out — that if a better opportunity than a guaranteed one-year deal arose, a better situation for him, that he had the freedom to go ahead and accept it.”
Lamoureux informed Sutter one week prior to last weekend’s NHL entry draft that he had an opportunity to take a scouting position with a National Hockey League team, but in the end he took the coaching job in Fargo.
Clearly, Sutter does not plan on stepping down as the Rebels bench boss any time soon.
“Right now I don’t have any plans but to continue to coach and will evaluate things as we go along,” he said.
Anderson, meanwhile, joins the Rebels after serving as the director and head coach at the Ontario Hockey Academy in Cornwall last season.
He has also coached — in an assistant’s role — at the University of Saskatchewan and with women’s teams at the University of Alberta and Red Deer College and has experience as both a head coach and assistant in both junior and men’s professional programs in Europe.
The 30-year-old native of Sedgewick graduated from RDC with a diploma in kinesiology and completed his degree at the U of Alberta.
“It just seemed like all the boxes I wanted checked off in hiring an assistant coach . . . he seemed to fit all the boxes in all categories,” said Sutter. “I wanted someone who would fit in well with our (coaching) staff, someone who has a good knowledge of video and an overall knowledge of the game, and someone who has experience at different levels.
“I kind of went outside the box on this one and all along that’s been my vision. We have a lot of experience on our staff (also consisting of associate coach Jeff Truitt, goalie coach Tayler Dakers and assistant Erik Lodge) and I wanted someone who thinks a bit differently, who thinks outside the box . . . a person who hasn’t taken the traditional route and has gone through different steps to get to where he’s at today.”
Sutter contacted personnel from the Hockey Canda Excellence Program of Excellence and received glowing reviews regarding Anderson’s abilities.
“He comes hugely recommended, not one person had a negative thing to say about him,” said the Rebels boss. “In speaking with him over the phone, he seems like a very intelligent young man who is very respectful of the Rebels and our community and has a lot of respect for the game.
“It just seems like he’s the right fit for what our needs are at this point in time.”
Anderson is currently working with players 12 to 16 years of age at an academy in New Hampshire and will assume his new position when the Rebels training camp opens Aug. 23.
Just notes: The Rebels released their 2017-18 schedule Tuesday and will open the regular season Sept. 23 at home against the Edmonton Oil Kings. The five U.S. based teams will visit the Centrium this season. The Everett Silvertips will stop in Oct. 10 and the Spokane Chiefs and Seattle Thunderbirds will be in Red Deer Oct. 17 and Nov. 1, respectively. The Portland Winterhawks will visit Nov. 24 and the Tri-City Americans will take on the host Rebels Dec. 16 . . . Red Deer’s preseason schedule consists of Sept. 1-2 contests versus the visiting Calgary Hitmen and Oil Kings, two games at the Tri-City tournament Sept. 8-9 and a Sept. 16 clash with the Medicine Hat Tigers at the Centrium.