Two of the Castlegar Rebels’ top scorers have booked their tickets south next season.
Sniper Ryan Aynsley and fellow forward Anthony DeLong have both verbally committed to U.S. college programs; Aynsley with Northern Michigan University, DeLong with the University of Central Oklahoma.
Aynsley, who has scored 145 points since joining the Rebels in 2009, said the Wildcats were tipped off by a hockey executive from his hometown of Kelowna.
“The owner of the Kelowna Rockets [Bruce Hamilton] put in a good word for me,” Aynsley said.
“He told one of their coaches that there was this sleeper in Castlegar.”
Aynsley will have local company in Marquette, Michigan next fall.
Castlegar product Eric Walker and fellow Trail Smoke Eaters teammate Jake Baker have both committed to the school.
“They’re both great guys too,” Aynsley said.
DeLong was forced to be a bit more pro-active to secure his space with the Broncos.
“I sent out a bunch of e-mails to coaches,” DeLong said, the head coach down there, Craig McAllister liked me and my style.”
DeLong is in his second tour of duty in Castlegar after spending last season with the BCHL’s Williams Lake Timberwolves.
He sits third in team scoring with 30 goals and 49 points.
“They’re clearly talented, and both deserve to be playing next year and both wanted to continue their hockey careers,” Rebels head coach Steve Junker said.
Junker said Aynsley and DeLong are only two examples of quality talent in the KIJHL.
“It’s a great league,” Junker added, “it just goes to show you we’re putting out some hockey players that people are interested in.”
Chris Wahl is a news reporter at Mountain FM who’s covering the Rebels for the Castlegar News this season. He’s also the play-by-play voice of the Rebels webcasts on KIJHL.ca. For more on the Rebels, check out Chris’ blog at: off-the-wahl.blogspot.com