Labant shortlisted for Team Alberta
Local hockey player Brayden Labant can now add another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments, as he was recently shortlisted for the Team Alberta Under-16 Team.
The pool of talent was selected from the Alberta Cup rosters, and 80 players were then chosen to participate in a weeklong camp in Camrose. “It was pretty grueling,” Labant said of the tryouts. “They woke us up at 5:30 in the morning and sent us on a 5km run.”
Ice time would follow around 8:30 a.m., with scrimmages later in the afternoon. All told, the players were subjected to four scrimmages and six practices, making for a scrutinizing week of evaluations. “It’s a little nerve racking, but you get used to it over time,” Labant said.
From there the players were sent home, with the top 35 making it to the next round of selections. Labant’s next on-ice experience will be in the form of Midget AAA tryouts in Fort Saskatchewan. All of the shortlisted players will be moving forward with their respective teams while Team Alberta keeps a watchful eye on their progress. “They’ll be watching us during the season, and they’ll evaluate us, and the team will be finalized in September,” Labant said.
Though Labant was drafted to the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League this spring, he will have to wait a little longer before taking his true shot at the WHL. “Next year I can try out, because you have to be 16,” he said. “I did go to a camp there and made top 40, but they can’t take me any further yet.”
Labant claims that he received some good coaching as a minor hockey player in St. Paul, something that has helped him “develop as a player.” He plans to continue to work and develop, with dreams of one day getting a shot at the NHL. “That’s the ultimate goal, but it’s pretty tough to do that,” he said. “It would be great to end up there one day.”
His more immediate goals include a successful Midget AAA season, with the hopes of participating in the Canada Winter Games with the Team Alberta Under-16 Team next February in Prince George. The two may go hand in hand, as Labant feels in better shape following the tryouts, and is ready to once again take to the ice.