Saturday, July 16, 2011
July by the Numbers travels to western Canada for jersey #16.
Members of the Western Hockey League since their founding in 1992, the Red Deer Rebels took five seasons to achieve their first winning record in the 1996-97 season when they finished at 43-26-3. After a step back the following season, Red Deer (which is located midway between Edmonton and Calgary) began a run of seven consecutive winning records in 1998-99.
They admittedly started slowly with two seasons barely above .500, but stormed through the league in 2000-01 with a league best 54-12-3 record, led by WHL scoring champion Justin Mapletoft's 43 goal, 120 point season, while teammate Kyle Wanvig was sixth in the WHL with 101 points.
Red Deer cruised to the WHL title with a 16-6 playoff record to earn a place in the 2001 Memorial Cup. They opened with a 5-4 overtime win over Val D'Or and downed Ottawa 4-2 before dropping a game to Regina 5-2. Still, their place in the final was set, and they defeated Val D'Or once again in a 6-5 overtime thriller to win the first Memorial Cup in franchise history.
The 2001 Memorial Cup champion Red Deer Rebels
Two more strong seasons followed, including once again having the league's best record in 2001-02 at 46-18-7 and another 50 win season in 2002-03, but were unable to repeat as WHL playoff champions.
Starting in 2005-06 the Rebels would miss the playoffs three out of four seasons, but they would rebound in 2010-11 with their third Central Division title after being led in scoring by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who went on to become the first player from Red Deer ever taken first overall in the NHL Draft.
Nugent-Hopkins joins a list of Rebels taken in the first round of the NHL Draft along with Colby Armstrong, Boyd Gordon, Dion Phaneuf, Brandon Sutter, Cam Ward and Jeff Woywitka. Other recognizeable Rebels to have played in the NHL include Martin Erat, Colin Fraser, Darren Van Impe and Kris Versteeg.
The Rebels are currently owned by Alberta native and former NHLer Brent Sutter, who also spent seven seasons as the club's head coach and general manager, including their Memorial Cup winning season of 2000-01.
Today's featured jersey is a 2000-01 Red Deer Rebels Derek Endicott jersey. This jersey has a classic look, with a basic template quite similar to the Chicago Black Hawks white jerseys thanks to it's three equal width stripes on the arms and waist. Paired with the spooky main crest which features a steer skull logo, which was adopted in 1997, the overall package makes for an excellent look.
Today's video is about Nugent-Hopkins prior to the 2011 NHL Draft showing him in a variety of Red Deer Rebels jerseys.