Rebels prospect Sorensen small in size but large in talent
Randy Peterson remembers very well the evening the Red Deer Rebels officially added Keaton Sorensen to their 50-player protected list.
“When we listed him I think the hockey bag he was carrying out of the rink that night was a little bit bigger than he was,” the Rebels director of scouting/player development chuckled during a rookie camp session at the Centrium on Sunday.
But the Red Deer native played bigger than his size that evening, scoring once and adding an assist as his Notre Dame Argos engaged the host Swift Current Legionnaires in a Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League contest.
In fact, Sorensen was better than most players on the ice, considering he was still two weeks short of his 16th birthday.
“The Hounds is the stronger club of the two out of Notre Dame, but having said that (Sorensen) was probably the best player on that team (Argos),” said Peterson.
“He put up similar numbers, as a 15-year-old, to a lot of top three-round players who were taken in the WHL draft.”
Sorensen was indeed an invaluable member of the Argos and an impact player in the SMAAAHL, scoring 20 goals, collecting 36 points and racking up 68 minutes in penalties in 43 games, all against teams featuring players one and two years older than the talented forward.
Sorensen took his talents to Notre Dame College, located in Wilcox, Sask., two years ago, scoring six goals and adding six assists in 30 games with the bantam AAA Hounds in 2016-17. He also suited up with the midget AA Hounds for five games that season — putting up four points (3g,1a) — and contributed a goal and a single helper in seven games with the midget AAA Argos.
“It’s not really just hockey, it’s education too,” the 16-year-old said of his decision to attend Notre Dame. “Plus I really developed there. There’s a shooting centre and it’s open most of the time, and the gym is open seven days a week so I can go there any time.”
Clearly, his development took an upward curve last season considering his offensive output with the Argos while toiling in one of the best — if not the best — midget AAA leagues in the country.
“It was good. I was a 15-year-old playing against kids two year older than me,” he said. “I got to know how to play and protect myself against bigger, stronger players.
“I think I’m a good playmaker. I can find someone in the slot and I think my shot has gotten a lot better, so I can score from a lot of spots.”
In less than a year, Sorensen has grown roughly two inches to five-foot-nine and his weight is up to 150 pounds.
“He was always a kid who was under-sized but with a good skill set,” said Peterson, who was convinced by Rebels Saskatoon-based scout Thomas Miller to watch Sorenson a little closer last winter.
“The night Shaun (Rebels assistant GM/director of player personnel Sutter) and I went to Swift Current to watch him, his competitiveness, his hockey sense and his skating ability really stood out.
“He’s a really intelligent player and has great hands. He’s a good skater who can dart in and out of traffic. He doesn’t back down and he goes hard to the net.”
Sorensen will head back to Notre Dame this fall and is a good bet to suit up with the defending national champion midget AAA Hounds this season.
And as early as next year he could find himself in a Rebels jersey on the opening night of the 2019-20 Western Hockey League season.
“That would be really cool,” he said. “I grew up watching this team and it would be awesome if one day I could put on the jersey.”
Both the Rebels rookie and main camps resume Monday and training camp will officially conclude with Wednesday’s Black and White intrasquad game.
Main camp rosters
(Includes year of birth and hometown; x-returnee)
Goal — Byron Fancy (2001), Claresholm; Carter Serhyenko (’02), Saskatoon.
Defence — x-Hunter Donohoe (’00), Surrey, B.C.; x-Colin Paradis (’98), Sherwood Park; Ryan Gottfried (’01), Winnipeg; x-Dawson Barteaux (’00), Foxwarren, Man.; Jace Isley (’02), Grande Prairie; x-Ethan Sakowich (’99), Athabasca.
Forwards — x-Josh Tarzwell (’00), Red Deer; x-Reese Johnson (’98, Saskatoon; Jordan Borysiuk (’02), Manville; x-Austin Schellenberg (’00), Grande Prairie; x-Alex Morozoff (’01), Saskatoon; Jeff de Wit (’98), Red Deer; x-Zak Smith (’01), Austin, Man.; Jayden McCarthy (’01), Morris, Man.; x-Justin Svenson (’01), Ile Des Chenes, Man.; Garrett Valk (’02), North Vancouver.
Goal — x-Ethan Anders (’00), Pilot Butte, Sask.
Defence — x-Alex Alexeyev (’99), St. Petersburg, Russia; Nic Draffin (’01), Lethbridge; x-Carson Sass (’99), Melville, Sask.; x-Sam Pouliot (’00), North Vancouver; Chase Leslie (’02), Camrose; x-Jacob Herauf (’00), Sherwood Park.
Forwards — x-Brandon Hagel (’98), Morinville; Oleg Zaytsev (’01), Moscow, Russia; Jayden Grubbe (’03), Calgary; Blake Sydlowski (’01), St. Albert; x-Chris Douglas (’00), Richmond, B.C.; x-Arshdeep Bains (’01), Surrey, B.C.; x-River Fahey (;01), Campbell River, B.C.; Ethan Rowland (;02), Calgary; x-Brandon Cutler (’00), Spruce Grove; Jaxson Wiebe (;02), Moose Jaw.
Rookie camp rosters
(Includes year of birth and hometown; x-draft pick; y-listed; z-invited)
Goal — x-Zane Winter (2003), Carlyle, Sask.; z-Nolan McDowell (’03), Edmonton.
Defence — x-Blake Gustafson (’02), Ardrossan, Alta.; z-Quintin Unreiner (’03), Medicine Hat; x-Trey Patterson (’03), Calgary; y-Jordan Edwards (’02), Saskatoon; y-Connor Klassen (’03), Crooked Creek, Alta.; y-Mason Ward (’02), Lloydminster.
Forwards — z-Evan Forrest (’03), Spruce Grove; x-Dylan Fader (’03), Vancouver; z-Ethan Matthews (’02), Calgary; z-Nicholas Steciuk (’02), Regina; y-Keaton Sorensen (’02), Red Deer; x-Josh Medernach (’03), Lloydminster; z-Simon Pollock (’03), Victoria; z-Hezekiah Mbaja (’03), Fort McMurray; z-Riley Borody (’03), Portage la Prairie, Man.; z-Jordan Saunders (’02), Olds; z-Austin Berezowski (’03), Humboldt, Sask.; z-Zach Cain (’02), Pilot Butte, Sask.
Goal — x-Dylan Lacroix (’03), Calgary; z-Owen Anderson (’03), Calgary.
Defence — x-Anthony Williams (;02), Trail, B.C.; x-Kyle Masters (;03), Edmonton; y-Skyler Cameron (’02), Nanaimo, B.C.; z-Matthew Quebec (’03), Langdon; z-Boris Protsenko (’02), Calgary; x-Jeremy Hancock (;03), Melfort, Sask.
Forwards — z-Foxx Doell (’03), Blackfalds; x-Nick de Beurs (;02), Cochrane; z-Nathan Flodell (’03), Prince Albert; z-Kaiden Korolchuk (’03), Quill Lake, Sask.; y-Jamie Valentino (’02), Thompson, Man.; x-Hunter Brown (’03), Fort St. John, B.C.; z-Liam Hughes (’03), Edmonton; z-Ryan Chambers (’03), Drayton Valley; z-Andrew Alonzo (’03), Bonney Lake, Wash.; z-Connor Poffenroth (’03), Okotoks; z-Jackson Smith (’03), Regina; z-Davis Chorney (’02), Tisdale, Sask.