The Castlegar Rebels are taking a few minutes to catch their breath after an extremely busy week. Dec. 1 marked the KIJHL cutdown date, when teams are required to reduce their rosters to 23 players. In preparation for the deadline, the week began with a couple of designed moves and finished with an unexpected flurry.
Goaltender Curt Doyle, who has spent the last two seasons with the Rebels, returned to the team from a stint out east and goaltender Cole Bright was moved to the North Okanagan Knights in return for gritty forward Ty Toppe and cash.
“Having Curt return to our line up gives us a legitimate boost to our backbone and goaltending tandem,” says head coach/general manager Carter Duffin. “Curt is an experienced, elite level goalie, that will give us additional opportunities to win when he’s in the crease.”
As for Toppe, he adds, “Ty Toppe is a big strong power forward that has the ability to find the back of the net. Ty is excited about the new opportunity he has here in Castlegar and his style of play, and character, fit perfectly in our dressing room.”
In a much-talked about move, the Rebels traded local player and leading scorer Reid Wilson to the arch-rival Nelson Leafs.
“We were surprised by a trade demand late in the week, and were forced to deal with that last minute,” team president Mike Johnstone said. “We feel we came out of that situation positively, and we’re happy moving forward.”
In response to public comments about the trade, Johnstone noted “During his time with the Rebels, Reid Wilson has come to the dressing room every day, with a smile on his face, prepared to work hard and do the best he could as a member of our hockey club.”
He added, “He did what he felt was best for him, and whether we agree with that or not, we have to respect that. There are no hard feelings, or animosity towards Reid Wilson, he’s a great kid. He felt in his mind it was best for him to move on, so we accommodated his request.”
Johnstone says the Rebels are in a good position following the trade, “From an organization perspective, we’re very pleased with what we have coming back. When all the dust settles, we’re going to come out of this deal with Darby Berg, Malcolm Turner, a player to be named on June 1, and a significant amount of cash.”
While admitting he was somewhat stunned by Wilson’s request, Duffin said “Being able to add both Darby Berg and Malcolm Turner to our roster is a huge boost to our top end skill. Darby comes into the room with the skills and work ethic to be one of our top scorers, and we will rely on him to capitalize on his opportunities. Malcolm is an elite technical defenceman that has an offensive upside from his skating and puck skills. He’s a well-coached player from the Banff Academy, and will make an immediate impact on our defensive core.”
In addition to all the off-ice activity, the team also completed their busiest weekend on the schedule, playing three games in three nights. The Rebels traveled to Sicamous and Nelson, before returning home to face the Grand Forks Border Bruins Sunday night. The Rebels entered the game against Grand Forks, with one win and one loss on the weekend, but tired legs set in, and they came up a just short, falling 5-4 to the Bruins.