Red Deer Rebels Head Coach Brent Sutter is hoping to find the right mix of young guys and veterans during their 2019 Training Camp. (Todd Colin Vaughan/LACOMBE EXPRESS)

Red Deer Rebels Coach Brent Sutter balancing plenty of youth with returning vets

Rebels will host annual Red and Black game Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Red Deer Rebels kicked off their 2019 Training Camp this week and one thing is clear: There will be a lot of young faces filling in this year’s roster.

Coming out of a Sunday practice session that didn’t include incoming rookies, Head Coach Brent Sutter was impressed with his teams conditioning coming out of summer and sees the pace improving every day. That pace will be needed considering the departure of high-end offensive players like Reese Johnson and Brandon Hagel.

Sutter said replacing those guys will be on everyone’s shoulders.

“We are going to have a really young team and young players will be put in holes and slots and be able to play roles on a the team. They will be thrown to the wolves quickly,” he said.

On the back end, the defence will be comprised with a mix of veterans and young guys — with Sutter saying he is going to need improved play from veterans Ethan Sakowich, Jacob Herauf, Dawson Barteaux and Hunter Donohoe.

Those guys will be pushed heavily for ice time by guys like Kyle Masters, Blake Gustafsom and new import Christoffer Sedoff.

“That is three kids that are all 17 years or younger. Our young Finnish boy is only 17, so our defence will be young,” Sutter said.

Between the pipes, the Rebels will be backstopped by familiar faces in Byron Fancy and Ethan Anders. Sutter hasn’t decided a starter and said play will decide time but both veterans will be pushed by Eric Ward

“Our goaltending should be already, but it comes down to play. They will decide,” he said.

With only two days under his belt, Sutter isn’t getting too ahead of himself but said the Red and Black intrasquad game on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 11 a.m. at the Westerner Park Centrium will be when they will start finalizing things for their exhibition season.

“Every day is a big day for them and that is no different. It is one game — you don’t get caught up into it,” he said.

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