The Rebels have announced a pair of college commitments today.
First, forward Erik Wentzel is off to Adrian College (ACHA Div. I). The 21 year-old from Kelowna scored 51 points (28-23) in 2010-11, chipping in a further 8 points (3-5) in Castlegar's run to the KIJHL finals. Wentzel, who sandwiched two stints in Castlegar around a season in the SJHL with the Estevan Bruins, will be a welcome addition on a squad that finished 5th in its first-ever trip to the ACHA national championships this season (head coach Dan Phelps was recently named ACHA Division I coach of the year to boot).
What Wentzel also brings to the table is heart and leadership. He was one of, if not the hardest worker in a Rebel uniform every night last season, and was a vocal presence on and off the ice. I'm sure he'll be giving opposing goaltenders fits for the next four years.
Defenseman Ryan Reid is also headed south, as he has committed to Iowa State University (ACHA Div. I). A fellow Kelowna product, Reid led the Rebels with 181 penalty minutes last season, and logged a ton of minutes in the playoffs after injuries to other Castlegar blueliners thrust him into a more prominent role. Reid will have at least one familiar face in Ames, former Nelson Leaf Chris Cucullu recently wrapped up his first season as a Cyclone with 34 points in 42 games.
Wentzel and Reid are the third and fourth members of the 2010-11 Rebels to commit to US colleges, joining Ryan Aynsley (NCAA Northern Michigan) and Anthony DeLong (ACHA Central Oklahoma) in preparing for life south of the 49th in September.
Congrats to both Wentzel and Reid, two quality individuals who absolutely deserve the opportunities they're getting. Best of luck in the States, and we'll be watching!