A local goaltender will be between the pipes for the Central Zone at the annual Alberta Cup.
Drew Sim of Tees, Alta. has been named to the roster for this year’s tournament, which takes place April 25-29 in Spruce Grove.
Fresh off a Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL) championship win with his Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) Edmonton Bantam Prep team, Sim says he’s looking forward to the experience.
“It’s excitement mostly – it helps with development, getting more experience with Hockey Alberta,” he said. “It’s more opportunity to get noticed, to learn more about the game and what it takes to get to that next level.”
Living in Tees, Sim grew up playing locally, but across a number of different minor hockey associations. He played in Alix until he finished first year in atom, then switched to Blackfalds Minor Hockey for his second year, which is about the time he made the switch from being a player to a goaltender.
“I went to tryouts as a goalie and something just clicked,” he said. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do…The pressure’s always on – the spotlight’s on you if you win or lose.”
The pressure, he says, is something he thrives under and took with him as he moved from Blackfalds to the Central Alberta Selects Pee Wee AA team.
Eventually, however, he was forced to move further away from home to continue playing hockey at the highest level possible.
After being cut as a goaltender in Red Deer, he found a home between the pipes in the 2016-17 season with the Camrose Red Wings Bantam AAA team, and finished with a .914 save percentage and a 2.30 goals against average in 15 games played.
This year, he joined the OHA Edmonton Bantam Prep team, where hockey is part of the regular school day. During the regular season, he had a .916 save percentage, 2.05 goals against average in 16 games played, as well as a championship game win.
“It’s awesome, because every day you have a chance of getting better instead of just practicing two times a week. We get a designated goalie skate,” he said.
“I’ve come a long ways just in reading the play in situations and what I need to do to help my team.”
Sim describes himself as a goaltender that plays at the top of his crease, using his size – all 6’1” – to take away the angles from shooters. He also says he tries to communicate well with his teammates.
He intends to put that to good use at the four-day Alberta Cup tournament where he’ll face 12 of his OHA Edmonton teammates as opponents, working to earn one of 80 spots available to attend Team Alberta’s provincial camp in July, with a chance to represent the province during the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
Moving beyond the Alberta Cup, the plan is for Sims to continue at OHA for the rest of the season to keep skating as long as possible. No plans have made for next year, but he is eligible for the WHL Bantam Draft this year.
Fellow teammate Sean Tschigerl is ranked within the top five of every bantam draft ranking list out there, with Corson Ceulemans and Colton Dach not too far behind. While Sims said he’d be happy if anyone picked him up, his dream location, naturally, would be the Red Deer Rebels, followed by teams in the U.S. division.
If he doesn’t get drafted, however, he may have another sport to fall back on. Sim was named to Camrose Minor Baseball Association’s Bantam AAA roster last Friday.
Foxx Doell and Myles Hilman, both of which play with the Red Deer Rebels Bantam AAA team, were also named to the Central Zone team.