BACK IN BUSINESS - Robin Carlson warmed up ahead of an HJHL game with the Blackfalds Wranglers last season. Carlson recently returned from an injury that sidelined him for the entire first half of the 2015-16 season.

Wranglers’ Robin Carlson discusses past challenges and future goals

Last year’s Heritage Junior B Hockey League scoring champion has been sidelined since early August.

By Zachary Cormier

It has been a long off season for Robin Carlson.

Last year’s Heritage Junior B Hockey League scoring champion has been sidelined since early August with Post-Concussion Syndrome, as well as a few other problems.

“It’s nice to get back with the guys again. We’ve got a lot of key injuries and we’ve been battling that throughout the year. It’s not just me that’s been hurt. But it’s been an okay start,” the 21-year-old Blackfalds Wranglers forward said.

Last season, Carlson led the league in every offensive category, putting up 43 goals and 49 assists for 92 points in 36 games.

“It’s my last year, right, so I’d love to be playing it and I’d love to be there with all the guys and try to contribute and try and have the success I did last year,” Carlson said, adding that his focus hasn’t been on individual stats since his return.

“I mean, personally, yeah that was good. But as a team I really wanted to push for that league championship and then go for the provincial title in Red Deer. I would love to knock off Red Deer,” he laughed.

But between his injuries and his classes at U of A, it’s been tough for him to be able to make it to games.

“I do my best (to make it) but it depends on what I have for school the next day or the tests that I have coming up,” he said.

His distance from the team has also made going to practice difficult, which in turn has made the road to recovery that much tougher for the third-year centreman.

“The biggest thing has been getting back up into the game speed and taking hits. I haven’t been practicing too much either, which doesn’t help, but definitely re-adjusting to the speed of the game,” he said when asked what the biggest challenge he’s faced in his return.

An Edmonton native, Carlson grew up playing hockey in Sylvan Lake, playing for the Lakers until his second year of Bantam, when he made the Red Deer Rebels Black Bantam AAA team.

Carlson played two seasons of hockey in Red Deer including a season of Minor Midget AAA before moving back to Sylvan for his final two years of minor hockey, during which he played Midget AA for the Sylvan Lake Lakers.

“Coming out of Midget, I had a few Junior A teams talking to me and I ended up going to Lloydminster and made the team,” he remembered.

Carlson spent a year with the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, during which he scored four goals and added three assists for a total of nine points in 41 games.

That off season, the then 19-year-old was traded to the Battlefords North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. He played just 11 games with them, but said he found that he wasn’t enjoying it much. Eventually he decided to move back to Red Deer and start focusing on his schooling.

That experience in Junior A, he said, factored into his decision not to pursue a professional hockey career, though a career in the NHL was one of his goals when he was younger.

“I went to the Moose Jaw Warrior camp when I was 15, and I enjoyed that, I had a good camp,” he said.

As he continued to play, though, Carlson said he was leaning more towards heading down to the States to play NCAA hockey.

“My goal was to play Junior A and after that was done to, hopefully, go down south on a Div. 1 scholarship or something like that,” he said, adding that eventually the idea of playing hockey every single day started to wear thin.

“As I was playing every day in that kind of hockey with the Junior A lifestyle, I just wasn’t overly a big fan of it. After awhile I just kind of got hockeyed-out and I wanted to come back and just go to school and be around my friends.”

Carlson enrolled at Red Deer College with the goal of eventually becoming a teacher.

He still wanted to play hockey, though, so he decided to join the Blackfalds Wranglers, whom he had played with as an affiliate during his Midget years.

“I had a bunch of friends playing for that team and I knew guys there, so I figured when I came back for school I’d go play there,” he said.

Carlson joined the team halfway through the 2013-14 season and immediately made an impact.

In just 24 games he put up 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points. He made his presence felt in the playoffs, too, as he scored 18 points to help the Wranglers to the League final, where they lost in five games to the Okotoks Bisons.

Last season was Carlson’s first full one as a Wrangler, and it turned out to be the most productive of his career. The line he formed with Wally Samson and Garrett Glasman was one of the most dynamic in the entire league.

This year, with Glasman out with a broken leg since early September, Carlson has been playing with Samson and current team leader Bryce Boguski for the few games Carlson has made it to.

“It’s awesome. Wally does all the dirty work, it seems, and Bryce can shoot the puck. I mean, I’ve just gotta get it to them and crash the net,” he laughed.

In the five games since his return, Carlson has put up some pretty good numbers. He’s got six assists and a pair of goals for eight points to make him one of just four point-per-game players on the Wranglers’ roster.

And while only time will tell if he will produce like he did in 2014-15, the 21-year-old has definitely been a welcome addition to a roster that has been plagued by injuries all season long.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Merry Guanas poised to be Lacombe’s first cannabis dispensary

Cannabis retail owner expects a six-month wait before industry comes to city

Lacombe hosts 6th Invasive Species Council Conference at LMC

Council looks to protect native ecological environments in Alberta

Construction along Woodland and Fairway drives

Construction in this area is planned for the week of March 25, 2019

Lacombe’s CACHS Knights girls come up just short at Provincials

Cold shooting second half prevents Lacombe girls from medal round

NDP Leader Rachel Notley stops in Red Deer on campaign trail

Notley promises hospital expansion, cath lab, pipelines and energy industry expansion

WATCH: ‘Napalm Girl’ discusses journey from hatred to forgiveness in Lacombe

Burman University’s Herr Lecture Series welcomed Kim Phuc Phan Thi to Lacombe

Women of Excellence Awards introduces ‘Women of Excellence in Construction’

Gala will take place June 19th at the Sheraton Red Deer

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Teen girl accused in plot to attack Kamloops school with weapons out on bail

Judge warned the girl she would be back in jail if she threatened to shoot anyone

Oil prices, Alberta election call cloud Stampede chuckwagon auction expectations

The top money bid last year came from Versatile Energy Services, Ltd.

Pot industry welcomes decreased edibles tax, but unhappy medical tax remains

Taxes can increase the cost of medical cannabis by as much as 25 per cent

‘It has to send a message:’ Broncos families await sentencing for truck driver

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving and apologized in court

MPs continue voting marathon as Tories protest shutdown of Wilson-Raybould motion

Multiple MPs have resigned from Trudeau’s Liberal cabinet

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Most Read