Recruiting in full swing for UNLV Skatin’Rebels
By Megan Edmunds
The masterminds behind the UNLV Hockey program are back at it again, assessing the skill and character of a slew of potential future Rebels.
Recruiting essentially never stops – the management and coaching staff are always keeping an eye out for promising players to keep the program on the up rise. However, it gets kicked up a notch around this time of year.
In the past few months, a vast array of players have been looked at intently in order to decide if they are fit to take the ice donning the UNLV logo. But it’s not as simple as merely selecting players. The Skatin’Rebels invite the recruits out to visit Las Vegas and participate in a variety of activities that give them the opportunity to get a taste of the town and see what the team and school have to offer. In addition to a tour of the UNLV campus and the Las Vegas Ice Center facility, the players got to experience hiking at Red Rock and enjoying the view of The Strip from the top of the High Roller, among other activities.
Thus far, twelve recruits have visited Las Vegas and approximately five more will be coming at some point this summer to check out the UNLV Hockey program. Many of these players had very minimal knowledge of the program prior to being contacted by coaches and management, but now see the vision that the Skatin’Rebels have and how they are guaranteed to make big strides in the future.
“The positivity and hard work around the team is something that I noticed right away. Everyone in the program is committed to winning and building a team that will be ready to improve on last year’s success. The professionalism of the staff and facilities is what stuck out to me the most. The environment created by the staff and program promotes winning. There is a big commitment to building a championship team,” said Canadian forward Landen Matechuk, who was among the players who had the opportunity to come to Las Vegas. Matechuk is from British Columbia where he began his junior career.
Another recruit who made the recruiting trip is Hunter Speier, a defenseman who was born in Las Vegas. He only lived here for three years, before moving to Boise, Idaho. He played for the Junior Steelheads before moving to Utah to play for high school. For his senior year, he played for the Coeur d’Alene Hockey Academy in Northern Idaho.
”I really liked the campus and I think college here will be awesome. To be honest, UNLV wasn’t even really an option until I toured the campus and talked to the staff. After the visit, I started thinking and now I definitely want to be a UNLV Rebel.” Speier mentioned.
Coming a bit further than the other recruits is forward Viktor Brask. He is from Sweden, but has some history playing in the United States. Two years ago, he played for the Texas Brahmas of the WSHL. After that, he returned home to Sweden to play senior hockey prior to returning to the United States to play college hockey in North Dakota, for Dakota College.
In regards to his reaction when contacted by UNLV, Brask said, “I got interested instantly since I know Vegas is a cool place and the hockey program is on the rise. After visiting, the time I spent with the staff and players was nothing else but great. I had a great time with some great people and they really showed me that UNLV is a possible future for me.”
With a promising group of recruits, this offseason will be a big one for commitment announcements and other information. Stay tuned for more features on the recruits, as well as details on the upcoming 2016-2017 season!