Top prospect Vlooswyk trending in the right direction
By the time Luke Vlooswyk nails down a full-time roster spot with the Red Deer Rebels, and that will almost certainly be next year, he won’t be a boy among men.
The Calgary native, the Rebels’ first-round pick in this year’s WHL Prospect Draft, already stands nearly six-foot-three. And he’s still growing.
You might say he’s already the model for a major junior hockey defenceman, possessing the dimensions to be a physical force, along with mobility and puck moving talent.
“I mean I have the size, with the height,” he said, following a Rebels rookie camp scrimmage Sunday at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
“My dad is six-foot-seven so I’m not done growing. The only thing I think I need to do is put on some weight and I think if I do that my game will translate really well to the WHL level.”
Vlooswyk has stood out at rookie camp and has been impressed with his surroundings.
“It’s been awesome. It’s my first junior camp and I’ve been blown away with the arena, with the staff, with the players,” he said. “Everything has been first class.”
The 15-year-old, who checks in at around 170 pounds, has also met some new friends over the past few days.
“Because not a lot of the (Rebels) draft picks are from Alberta I’ve been introduced to a lot of new guys that way, so that’s been awesome,” he said.
One of his recent acquaintances is Jeramiah Roberts from Colorado, a first-round pick of the Rebels in May’s U.S. Priority Draft who has also been a standout this week and is another strong possibility to make the team next year.
“He’s awesome, a great player and a great kid,” said Vlooswyk.
The future Rebels rearguard is a solid golfer whose mother, Lisa, is an eight-time Canadian women’s long drive champion.
“It’s kind of my summer hobby,” he said. “I shoot in the mid to low ‘80s. I don’t practice enough to be anywhere good enough, but I’ll take it.”
Naturally, he hits the ball a mile.
“My mom has given me some tips but honestly because of my fast twitching muscles because of hockey, it’s the same movement in a way. I have really good ball speed,” he said.
While the rookie camp comes to an end Monday, Vlooswyk is a virtual lock to stick around for at least Wednesday’s Black and White intrasquad game.
“The plans is if I continue to do well and just get at it then I’ll be here for the Black and White game and potentially for some preseason games,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Vlooswyk will play midget AAA hockey in Calgary this season and will be available to join the Rebels after January when he turns 16.
In the meantime, he’ll still be available for a minimum of games as a 15-year with his home just down the highway.
“That’s actually one of the, I guess, main reasons why Red Deer was the perfect fit for my family,” he said. “It’s only an hour and a half from Calgary and whenever they (Rebels) need me, whether it’s for a game or just a practice, I’m available.”
On Monday, the main camp players will practice at 8 and 9:30 p.m. and scrimmage at 4 p.m., following a rookie scrimmage at 11 a.m.
Main camp players will practice at 9 and 11 a.m. Tuesday and a scrimmage — featuring the players who will participate in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Black and White game — will go at 5 p.m.
The Rebels will open their pre-season schedule Friday in Calgary and will host the Hitmen the following night.