Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Oilers on HockeyTalk

Good discussion on the Oilers series.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

#26 Kyle Reynolds

March 15, 2009
Kyle Reynolds has a lot of friends in hockey.  He grew up in Sylvan Lake and is a close friend of Brandon Sutter.  He knows the Russell brothers from Caroline.  He played Midget AAA hockey on a powerhouse team in Red Deer with Nick Bell, Marc Boulanger and Corey Campbell. But he is taking his own path up the hockey ladder.  While Sutter is trying to break in as a regular with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Kris Russell is playing in the NHL with Columbus, Reynolds has found a home with the Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.  It’s a happy home and Reynolds is glad to be there.  And as he looks around the Oiler dressing room, he sees Bell’s stall and another one belonging to Rodger Craig who also came out of the Red Deer program.

Of course, if he walked down the corridor to the dressing room of the Olds Grizzlies, he’d also find stalls belonging to Boulanger and to Campbell, both of whom are integral parts of the Grizzlies drive to win the AJHL title.  Right now, the long time friends are keeping their distance because they are locked in a tense seven game series.  .

“It’s going to be a long tough series because our styles are similar,” Reynolds noted.  “I think they beat us four of the six times we played this season.  We’re going to have to be strong in our own end and chip pucks out of the zone off the wall. And we have to move the puck with speed which I think is something we do well.”

It’s a style of play that suits Reynolds very well.  The 5’9, 160 lb left winger isn’t shy about playing along the boards or going to the heavy traffic areas in front of the net.  It’s how he’s been able to produce 20+ goals in his first season in the league.  It’s why he regularly finds his name in the penalty area of the scoresheet, not just in the columns for goals and assists.

“He’s been a good addition to our lineup,” his coach, Dan MacDonald, told me.  “He’s part of a real good group that joined our program this season.  And he’ll be back for another season before, hopefully, he gets an NCAA scholarship.”

That’s Reynolds’ game plan.  He’s finished Grade 12 and is spending this season working on his game.  He also helps out at a hockey school in Black Diamond where he has to take what he knows and translate it into something the youngsters in his class can understand.  What he’s learned about the game is thanks in large part to his decision to join the Oilers, a decision which was made two seasons before he arrived.

“I was here as a 15 year old and came back at age 16,” he told me.  “I didn’t make the team so I went back and played Midget AAA in Red Deer.  But I’ve always been impressed with the coaching and the way the Oilers’ organization operates.  “I’ve learned a lot and I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent here and the players I’m playing with.  I want to come back and have another good season next year.  And hopefully, I’ll be able to earn a scholarship and get my education paid for after next season.  There are a couple of schools interested.  I’d like to play as long as I can.  But if things don’t work out on the ice, at least I’ll have a good education to fall back on for the rest of my life.”

By Peter Watts

Corbin Knight, Ramada AJHL Player of the Week – February 16th – 22nd

February 25, 2009
Corban Knight of the Okotoks Oilers is the Ramada AJHL Player of the Week for the week of February 16th – 22nd, 2009.  Knight tallied 2 goals and 7 assists in 4 games over the week.  Knight extended his point streak to 7 games and 15 points.

Knight leads all AJHL Rookies in scoring with 72 points in 61 games and is currently 8th overall in the League Scoring Race.

18 year old forward Corban Knight has signed a letter of intent and committed to the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, of the WCHA, in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  Knight received a tryout for Team Canada West at the 2008 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge and recently participated in the 2009 AJHL All-Star Game.  Knight recorded 3 points as a member of the South Division All Star Team.

The AJHL is proud to partner with Ramada Worldwide to recognize the AJHL Player of the Week for the remainder of the 2008-2009 AJHL Season.  Ramada Worldwide is a global presence, with over 850 locations in 35 countries. Whether guests are looking for a full-service experience or simply a convenient, affordable stop in their travels, they’ll find a Ramada hotel perfectly suited to fit their needs.

Ramada AJHL Player of the Week

January 5 - 11, 2009: Jared Jagow, Lloydminster Bobcats

January 12 - 18, 2009: Chris Markiewicz, Brooks Bandits

January 19 - 25, 2009: Brance Orban, Olds Grizzlys

January 26 - 31, 2009: Reese Rolheiser, Sherwood Park Crusaders

February 2 - 8, 2009: Jordan Draper, Spruce Grove Saints

February 9 - 15, 2009: Jarret Granberg, Brooks Bandits

February 16 – 22, 2009: Corban Knight, Okotoks Oilers

#19 Derek Rodwell commits.

February 18, 2009
The Okotoks Oilers are pleased to announce that 18 year old forward Derek Rodwell has committed to the University of North Dakota (Fighting Sioux) of the WCHA in Grand Forks, North Dakota for the 2010 season.

Derek is from Taber, Alberta, where he played his minor hockey before joining the Lethbridge Midget AAA Titans of the AMHL for the 2006/07 season. He enjoyed a successful rookie season with the Okotoks Oilers in 2007/08, and early this season Derek was chosen to represent Canada at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge, as a member of Team Canada West.

Oilers GM/Head Coach Dan MacDonald states, “Derek is a quiet, sincere, dedicated team player, who has matured into one of the best power forwards in Canadian Junior ‘A’ hockey. His continued development will most assuredly see him playing at the highest level of hockey. The Okotoks Oilers are extremely proud of Derek’s accomplishments and wish him every success with his future scholastic and hockey plans.”

Derek is the sixth Oiler so far this season to commit to an NCAA Division 1 scholarship. He joins Sean Cahill (University of Alaska Fairbanks), Rodger Craig (Cornell), Tyler Matthews (Niagara), Corbin Knight (University of North Dakota), and Quinn Sproule (University of Alaska Anchorage) as the other Oilers.

Derek Rodwell and Corbin Knight will join former Oiler goaltender Brad Eidsness, who is enjoying an outstanding rookie season with the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux this year.

#22 Quinn Sproule Commits to Alaska Anchorage

February 9, 2009
The Okotoks Oilers are pleased to announce that 18 year old defensemen, Quinn Sproule, has committed to the NCAA Division 1 University of Alaska Seawolves, of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, in Anchorage, Alaska, for the 2010 season.

Quinn is from Hussar, Alberta, and joined the Oilers this season after a very successful 2007/08 season with the Strathmore based UFA Bisons Midget AAA Hockey Club, of the Alberta Midget League, where Quinn was selected a South Division All Star.

The Oilers General Manager/Head Coach Dan MacDonald stated, “Quinn is a rare hockey commodity at this level. He is capable of playing and excelling at either the defense or forward positions. His versatility, leadership, and physical play are the qualities that have made Quinn a reliable contributor to the overall success of the Oilers this season. The Oilers Hockey Club wishes Quinn every success with his future scholastic and hockey plans.”

Quinn will join former Oiler, Curtis Leinweber, who played two outstanding seasons (2006-2008) with the Oilers before joining the Seawolves this season.

#8 Corban Knight commits

February 3, 2009
The Okotoks Oilers announce that 18 year old forward Corban Knight has signed a letter of intent, and committed to the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, of the WCHA, in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Corban is from High River, Alberta, where he played his minor hockey before starring with the UFA Bisons, of the AMHL, from 2006 to 2008. Corban’s transition to Junior ‘A’ hockey with the Oilers was immediate as a rookie; he established himself early as an offensive threat and continues to lead the Oilers in scoring with 57 points. His play also resulted in an early Category B selection on the NHL’S Central Scouting list, a tryout for the 2008 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge Team West, and recently he was voted to the AJHL South Division All Star team.

Okotoks Oilers GM/Head Coach, Dan MacDonald, stated “Corban is an offensive gem who gets better with every shift. He is a perceptive student of the game and his continued development will see him star with the Fighting Sioux. The Okotoks Oilers congratulate him on his accomplishments and wish him well with his future academic and hockey endeavors.”

When Knight makes his move to the University of North Dakota hockey program, he will be joining former Oiler, Brad Eidsness, who is in his first season with the Fighting Sioux.

Corban is the fourth player from the Oilers program to accept a scholarship this season. He joins Sean Cahill (University of Alaska Fairbanks), Rodger Craig (Cornell University), and Tyler Matthews (Niagara).

#29 Sean Cahill commits.

January 22, 2009
The Okotoks Oilers take pride in announcing that 18 year goaltender, Sean Cahill, has committed to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks, of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Sean is from Calgary, Alberta, where he played his minor hockey and in 2008 graduated from the Calgary Buffalo Association. During Sean’s last season with the Calgary Midget AAA Buffaloes, his play was instrumental in leading the Buffaloes to represent the West at the Canadian Midget Telus Cup Championship. Sean joined the Oilers this season and quickly established himself as one of the outstanding rookies in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. His excellent play resulted in an invitation to try out for the 2008 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge Cup Team West, and he has recently been selected as an AJHL South Division All-star.

The Oilers General Manager/Head Coach Dan MacDonald, stated, “Sean is an extremely disciplined student of the goaltending position, and his consistent play is a contributing factor for the overall success of the Oilers hockey club this season. The Okotoks Oilers wish him continued success with his future plans.”