Drew Sim had a goal to play in Red Deer at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, but now he’ll have to find a new one.
That’s because on Thursday, he officially achieved his goal and was named to the Team Alberta U16 male roster as one of two goaltenders.
He got the call riding the bus home from school the same day.
“They said welcome to the team – see you in a few weeks,” he said. “A couple of my teammates were sitting there yelling and cheering… I just looked around and smiled.”
Sim, who hails from Tees and represents the Alix Minor Hockey Association, is the only player on the roster who hails from the immediate Red Deer vicinity, however, Team staff includes Director of Hockey Operations Michael Kraichy, Asst. Director of Hockey Operations Dustine Moore, and Asst. Coach Brandin Cote who are all from Red Deer.
Two Red Deer Rebels prospects in forward Jayden Grubbe and defenceman Kyle Masters are also on the team.
As a player who now tends the twine for Delta Hockey Academy’s Midget Prep team in the CSSHL in Delta, B.C., he says he’s looking forward to the opportunity to play in front of a more hometown crowd.
“It’ll be really cool, really special (to step on the ice),” he said. “Anything this big, nerves are always a factor, but I use them as excitement – a way to get fired up and ready to go.”
As for his new goal, it’s a pretty simple one – and one his teammates are most certainly striving to achieve.
“I just want to go in and win it all,” he said.
The Canada Winter Games runs Feb. 15-March 3 in Red Deer. The men’s hockey portion will run Feb. 17-22, however, preparations will begin long before then.
Sim says he wants to work on getting faster, and more athletic, but overall just wants to make sure he’s giving himself the best opportunity to help his team being successful.
“It’s practicing every day, working hard in the gym, eating right – just making sure you’re doing the right things,” he said.
A Christmas Camp will be held Dec. 19-21 in Red Deer, with two exhibitions matches to be played at the Enmax Centrium – Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. against the Red Deer Midget AAA Optimist Chiefs, and Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. against the St. Albert Midget AAA Raiders. Both games will be open to the public.
Overall, a total of 13 different hockey associations are represented on the roster, including Alix Minor Hockey Association, Airdrie, Beaumont, Beiseker, Bonnyville, Calgary, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Okotoks, St. Albert, and Whitecourt.
“The depth of hockey talent in this province is significant, which resulted in many difficult decisions for us,” said U16 Head Coach Bobby Fox in a release. “Our staff is excited to work with this group of 20 players moving forward to the Canada Winter Games.”
Sim was also drafted by the Vancouver Giants of the WHL in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, and appeared in two preseason games for the team. Last year, he played for the OHA Edmonton Bantam Prep where had a 13-0-1 record, .916 save percentage and a 2.05 goals against average. This year, after making the move to Delta for more on and off-ice training, he is 4-2 on the season.