By CHARLES TWEED
Rimbey Minor Hockey is skating into the new year with some good news.
Hockey Alberta formally announced the 43 host sites for the 2011 Investors Group Hockey Alberta Provincials and Rimbey has made the grade.
The Rimbey Renegades midget team will play host to seven teams featuring more than 150 amateur hockey players March 24 to 27.
Desiree Vandenhoven is co-ordinating the event and is enthusiastic about the support the community has shown for the tournament.
“Our support base is large, we went to the service groups and volunteers in town and they have all been great. Everyone is very excited,” she said. The tournament has garnered support from outside of Rimbey as well, with the team consisting of players from Winfield, Bentley, Hoadley, Bluffton, Eckville and Blackfalds.
The Renegades sit in first place in the North Central Hockey League’s tier 2 midget division, up six points on their closest competition, the Kneehill Midget Chiefs. Many of the players on the team have been playing together since they were in novice and their familiarity with one another has shown up on the league’s scoring leaderboard. Rimbey boasts three of the top five league scorers, led by their captain, Kevin Vandenhoven with 36 points — a feat made more impressive by the fact he’s a defenseman. Tyler Strain and Lucas Fraser round out the top five with 30 and 28 points respectively.
With the Renegades’ record and the lowest goals against in the league courtesy of goaltenders Levi Fleming and Devin Elst, Rimbey isn’t satisfied just playing host to such a premier tournament.
Vandenhoven is confident the Renegades will be very competitive throughout the tournament and when asked what it would mean to win the event in Rimbey she said, “it would be the ultimate icing on the cake.”