Scoring a point and a half per game and sitting fourth in scoring in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League had specific eyes looking at Rhett Gardner this season.
Those types of skills had Gardner on the radar for Team West for the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge. He received the phone call earlier this week stating he made the roster.
“It was huge honour. We had the summer camp and I’ve been working hard for it ever since the U16s,” he said. “All the hard work paid off and I’m just happy to know I made the spot.”
Gardner is just one of the six Midget AAA players, along with 14 Western Hockey League players to have made the roster. Although he is a pure goal scorer for the Moose Jaw Generals, Gardner hopes to play an important role on the team.
“I want to be a tough guy to play against. There is a lot of skill there, so you can’t have all scorers on the team,” he stated. “I just want to focus on my own end and shutting down their top line.”
Although Gardner is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury that has him out for approximately three to four weeks, Generals head coach Ray Wareham feels his captain deserves this opportunity.
“It is always nice to have guys get recognized like that. Good for Rhett…he has done everything we have asked him to do,” Wareham stated. “He has been a good leader on the ice and off the ice. I think he play is very deserving of that call.”
The Moose Jaw Warriors Assistant General Manager and head scout, Rob Maclachlan is also the head scout for Team West and like what he saw from the local 16-year old.
“He is a big, strong forward and he is playing really well. When I watched him play, he controls the game and a lot of nights; he is Moose Jaw’s best player,” Maclachlan explained. “He fits the mould of what we were looking for he can put the puck in the net.”
For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.