When it comes to glitter games and international representation, recent history confirms the Regina Pats have consistently supplied talent to the mix, both on and off the ice.
Behind the bench, head coach Curtis Hunt has been an assistant coach with Team Canada’s past two gold medal winners at the World Junior Championships. Between the boards, defensemen Logan Pyett and recently departed Nick Ross (traded to Kamloops) have enjoyed international success through Hockey Canada programs, along with goaltender Linden Rowat.
And the list continues to grow, as defenseman Colten Teubert and forward Jordan Eberle are set to perform at the 2008 Home Hardware CHL Top Prospects Game in Edmonton, Alberta. The pair has spent much of their junior hockey journey together.
“It’s a great honor to be part of it with Ebs,” grinned the 17-year-old Teubert at the players’ luncheon in Edmonton. “Geez, you can’t get us away from each other, we’ve been playing together ever since we were 15 years old.
“We battled at the Canada Winter Games and then together for Canada at the U17. And we just want to try and get as much as we can from the experience here.”
Eberle, also 17, was quick to echo the comments of his teammate.
“To be here with Colten, it makes it a bit of an easier experience when you see a familiar face in the dressing room,” Eberle explained. “And it is cool that we’re able to go through it together.
“When you get the call to come play in a game like this, it’s certainly an honor. I’ve watched the guys play it on TV before and have seen what many of them have gone on to achieve.”
Heading into the Top Prospects tilt, the 6’4 Teubert finds himself ranked 27th among North American skaters by Central Scouting and was eighth in the International Scouting Services December rankings. Strangely, Teubert is listed at either 181 or 188 pounds, although no one looking at him believes the White Rock, B.C. native looks an ounce under 200 pounds. During the on-ice testing, which included timed skating agility and puck-handling drills, Teubert was indeed the stud among the Team Red skaters.
“It was really interesting to see how that new technology works, I haven’t really experienced that before,” Teubert said. “I guess I did surprisingly well for a big tall defenseman. But just to look at that and see where you’re at — sure, it’s nice to come out on top in some of those tests.”
Eberle, ranked 24th by Central Scouting and 17th by ISS, checks in at 5’11 and 170 pounds. He will also skate for Team Red. While there is a stark physical contrast between he and Teubert, the pair are certain to be key contributors in Regina, beyond what occurs at the Top Prospects Game.
“It’s always special when you’re called one of the go-to guys, especially with the type of team we have in Regina,” Eberle said. “Adding the guys at the trade deadline, we have more depth now and we’ve been undefeated — knock on wood — since then. We have been built to be a team that can produce a long playoff run.”
Teubert, wholeheartedly agrees.
“We just traded for a couple new defensemen,” he explained, referring to the deal that saw Ross head to the Kamloops Blazers along with defenseman Spencer Fraipont in return for veteran rearguards Ryan Bender and Victor Bartley. “I guess (Ryan) Bender and I will be the anchors at this point, kind of the shutdown defensive pairing. We have to be guys who make all the other players in the league miserable.
“We have great skill on the backend with Logan Pyett and Victor Bartley. I just think we’re getting stronger and stronger every day.”
In an era when CHL teams must effectively build through the bantam draft, the Pats can point with satisfaction to the 2005 edition where they selected both Eberle and Teubert. Backup goaltender Jeff Bosch also arrived in Regina courtesy of the 2005 lottery while two other picks, Brayden Metz and Kyle St. Denis, have been moved in deals made to bolster the Pats current roster.
Teubert was chosen first overall by the Pats at the 2005 WHL Bantam Draft. He played in 14 games as a 15-year-old and has become a mainstay for the club during the past two seasons. Through 47 WHL games this season, Teubert has scored five goals and six assists while standing guard to the tune of 109 penalty minutes.
Eberle, chosen 126th overall at the same 2005 Draft, brings a different set of skills to the Pats. As a rookie, the Regina native collected 28 goals and 27 assists to finish second among 16-year-olds in league scoring. He hasn’t missed a step this season with 30 goals and 22 assists through 48 games.
“With the rules changing the last couple years, there’s certainly room for guys like me,” Eberle agreed when asked how the rules enforcement of the past couple seasons has perhaps contributed to his offensive production. “There are other guys like Zach Boychuk and Tyler Ennis who are at this game, guys who are smaller and skilled. The bigger guys can no longer hold on and clutch anymore. You see it now in the NHL, and I think that really helps guys like us.”
Both Eberle and Teubert are relishing the opportunity to be a part of the Top Prospects Game, including the off-ice events and the chance to meet the best of the best from across the CHL. They see it as a stepping stone during a season where there has been a noticeable increase in attendance by scouts at Regina Pats’ games. They understand the importance of maintaining their focus and also how to approach the special moments.
“Obviously I take a positive approach because I was selected to be here,” Teubert said. “It’s really a great honor. But, I think it’s one thing to be selected and another to come in and compete and play well. That’s what I have to do here, just stick to my game. I guess you could say I’ll just try to keep it simple.”
“You try not to think about it, but yeah, I know they’re there,” Eberle acknowledged when the scouting presence was suggested. “It’s really important to be at your best every night. I think if you spend too much time thinking about it, you wind up putting too much pressure on yourself and you may not perform as well.
“The Top Prospects Game is a great opportunity for Colten and I, and I know we want to play well and take everything positive that we can from it.”