Rebels rearguard prospect coming off busy — and successful — spring and summer
Jeremy Hancock was one busy athlete through the spring and summer, with a world ball hockey title and a bronze medal in the Canadian midget AAA hockey championship to show for his efforts.
Hancock won bronze with the Tisdale Trojans in the Telus Cup in Thunder Bay in April, then captured gold in the world under-16 ball hockey championship in the Czech Republic in July.
“It was amazing going overseas,” the Red Deer Rebels prospect, a six-foot-four defenceman, said Monday in reference to the ball hockey worlds. “The team members only knew each other for five days (prior to the tournament) and we really bonded a ton in that amount of time.
“It felt great to win.”
Although the Trojans didn’t capture the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League title, they earned their berth in the Telus Cup by defeating Thunder Bay in the final of the West regional playdowns, which they hosted.
From there, Tisdale defeated the Calgary Buffaloes in the Telus Cup bronze medal game.
“That was actually so cool, just the fan support, Thunder Bay itself and being one of two western teams in the tournament,” said Hancock, who suited up for Team White in a 3-0 win over Team Black in a Rebels main camp scrimmage at the Centrium Monday.
“The support in Thunder Bay, they loved us. Even the team that hosted, the team we beat to go to the Telus, their coaches were really positive toward us. Anything we needed they made sure we were supported on, so it was really great.”
As a 16-year-old, Hancock is likely a longshot to earn employment with the Rebels — who have five returning defencemen and a few players ahead of him on the depth chart — this fall.
As a result, chances are he’ll be back in Tisdale this season, although he will likely attend camp with his hometown Saskatchewan Junior League Melfort Mustangs.
“There’s a chance with the Mustangs, but I think the best for me and my development would be back in Tisdale,” said Hancock.
Rebels assistant general manager Shaun Sutter would certainly prefer that Hancock spends another season in the midget ranks.
“He’s a big guy. He skates well, thinks the game, moves the puck,” said Sutter. “It’s just a matter of him filling out and getting stronger. With strength comes confidence and engaging more. He knows the things he needs to work on and now it’s just a matter of his strength kind of catching up to his body.”
Sutter kept close tabs on Hancock last winter and was encouraged with the manner in which the youngster improved as the season progressed.
“He was a 15-year-old playing midget triple A and he played top four by the end of the year, in the playoffs and the Telus Cup,” he said.
Hancock suggested that his mindset, as much as anything else, improved as the season went on.
“My confidence is probably the biggest thing that’s gone way up for me,” he said. “Starting in Tisdale, my confidence wasn’t the greatest and then Darrell (Trojans head coach Mann) got on my back a bit and I started to come back near the end. I felt like he was on my side then.”
When, and if, Hancock does eventually crack the Rebels lineup, he’ll bring that confidence to the club.
“A positive attitude, that’s one thing I’m really working on and I feel is the biggest thing to bring to a team,” he said. “I have to continue to work on my work ethic too, because I need to be consistent and give a 100 per cent effort every time if I want to go anywhere.”
As for his playing style . . .
“I’d like to say I’m a two-way defenceman, but I may lean more on the defensive side,” said the Rebels’ fourth-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft.
One fact is obvious — Hancock will remain on the Rebels’ radar due to the promise he’s shown to date.
“He’s a guy with a lot of potential, you can see it,” said Sutter. “It’s just with him being a skinnier guy, it’s a matter of him getting stronger and being able to compete and engage against bigger and stronger guys.”
Team White got goals from Brett Davis, Dallon Melin and Arshdeep Bains in Monday’s scrimmage.
Rebels main camp continues Tuesday with a pair of morning practices, followed by a scrimmage at 3:30 p.m.
Main camp rosters (includes year of birth and hometown; x-returnee)
Team A Black
Goal — x-Byron Fancy, 2001, Claresholm; Eric Ward, 2001, Edmonton.
Defence — x-Ethan Sakowich, 1999, Athabasca; Kyle Masters, 2003, Edmonton; Trey Patterson, 2003, Calgary; x-Jacob Herauf, 2000, Sherwood Park; x-Hunter Donohoe, 2000, Surrey, B.C.; Mason Ward, 2002, Lloydminster.
Forwards — x-Josh Tarzwell, 2000, Red Deer; Keaton Sorensen, 2002, Red Deer; Jaxsen Wiebe, 2002, Moose Jaw; Braden Fischer, 2002, Winnipeg; x-Alex Morozoff, 2001, Saskatoon; x-Zak Smith, 2001, Austin, Man.; Jace Isley, 2002, Grande Prairie; Ethan Rowland, 2002, Calgary; x-Cameron Hausinger, 1999, Anchorage, Alaska.
Guest forward: Reese Johnson, Saskatoon.
Team B White
Goal — x-Ethan Anders, 2000, Pilot Butte, Sask; Chase Coward, 2003, Swift Current.
Defence — Christoffer Sedoff, 2002, Helsinki, Finland; x-Dawson Barteaux, 2000, Foxwarren, Man.; x-Chase Leslie, 2002, Camrose; Jeremy Hancock, 2003, Melfort, Sask.; x-Ryan Gottfried, 2001, Winnipeg; Blake Gustafson, 2002, Ardrossan.
Forwards — x-Dallon Melon, 2002, Czar; x-Brett Davis, 1999, Winnipeg; Jordan Borysiuk, 2002, Lloydminster; x-Arshdeep Bains, 2001, Surrey, B.C.; Jayden Grubbe, 2003, Calgary; x-Chris Douglas, 2000, Richmond, B.C.; Josh Medernach, 2003, Lloydminster; x-Blake Sydlowski, 2001, St. Albert.
Guest forwards — Brandon Hagel, Morinville; Scott Feser, Red Deer.