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Steve Konowalchuk steps down as Head Coach of the Red Deer Rebels with 86-36-3-3 regular season record


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Red Deer Rebels Coach Steve Konowalchuk behind the bench in Red Deer 2021-2022 season.  Photo courtesy of Rob Wallator and the Red Deer Rebels

Submitted by the Red Deer Rebels

Konowalchuk steps down as Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner/President/General Manager Brent Sutter announced on Thursday that Steve Konowalchuk has resigned as the club’s head coach.

Sutter says Konowalchuk made the decision to step down due to personal/family reasons.

“It’s disappointing to see Steve resign. But I also understand when it comes to personal/family reasons. He’s a great coach, and even more so a great man. I want to thank Steve for the outstanding job he did here for two seasons,” said Sutter.

“I wish Steve and his wife Leah all the best moving forward.”

In two years behind the Rebels bench, Konowalchuk compiled an impressive 86-36-3-3 regular season record and guided the team to two playoff series wins. The Rebels won 40 games in back-to-back regular seasons for the first time since 2001-03 and won the Central Division title in 2022-23. Konowalchuk was named Central Division Coach of the Year in 2021-22.

“I am very sad to be leaving the Red Deer Rebels organization,” Konowalchuk said.

“It was a pleasure and an honour to work with Brent, Shaun, and Merrick Sutter. The Rebels are truly a first-class organization in every way. I wish them and the players all the best going forward.”

Konowalchuk added, “I want to thank the best fans in the WHL, and the community of Red Deer for all their support.”

Steve had one year remaining on his contract with the club.

Also on Thursday, the Rebels announced that Assistant Coach Ryan Colville will not be returning after five seasons with the club as he plans to pursue other professional opportunities.

“Ryan grew a lot here during his time with us,” Sutter noted.

“He’s looking for a coaching opportunity closer to home in Cincinnati. He’s a good man, and I wish him all the best. I want to thank him for the job he did over five seasons.”

“I’ve had a great experience in my five years in Red Deer, I believe I’ve grown as a coach, and as a person under both Brent and Steve,” Colville said.

“I’m grateful for my time with the Rebels. I know that the experience here will serve me well moving forward and has prepared me for the next steps in my career.”

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Rebels earn Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy as WHL Scholastic Team of the Year

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News release from the Red Deer Rebels

It’s a great accomplishment for the Red Deer Rebels as the club is the Western Hockey League’s Scholastic Team of the Year.

The Rebels were announced Tuesday as the 2023-24 winner of the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the WHL member Club that achieves the highest overall academic performance during the regular season.

“On behalf of the Red Deer Rebels, I’d like to thank the league for being selected for the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy. We take great pride in working with our players to be the best they can be,” says Teresa Jaeger, Rebels Education Advisor.

“I’d like to thank the players for all the hard work and commitment they put into getting their assignments done and getting the best grades. I’d also like to thank the teachers at Notre Dame and Athabasca University for helping the team.”

The Rebels had nine players attending École Secondaire Notre Dame High School in Red Deer during the season, while other players did online programming through Athabasca University.

The combined average for all Rebels high school players this season is 88%.

The Rebels have taken a collaborative approach to working with players to achieve academic success. Jaeger, Rebels Hockey Operations Manager Arie Postmus, and Notre Dame Vice Principal Curtis Lansing, work hand in hand to continually monitor how players are progressing. Daily liaisons with players provide the structure and support necessary to getting the most from the time available to learning.

Students not enrolled at Notre Dame are monitored in their progress by the Education Advisor having contact with their teachers and home school administrators.

“It is fantastic to see our players rewarded for the effort they put into their schoolwork. The dedication they showed to balance on ice performance and off ice performance in the classroom is very rewarding” said Postmus.

“I am very happy for them all. Teresa also deserves a ton of credit for the countless hours she gives to head our education program and support these players to ensure they graduate with stellar marks.”

The WHL Scholastic Team of the Year Award is named in honour of Jim Donlevy, long-time WHL Director, Education Services, who passed away in August 2019 following a courageous battle with cancer. This marks the fourth presentation of the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy to a WHL Club since its dedication.

Donlevy was instrumental in the creation and continued success of the WHL Scholarship program – the largest privately-funded amateur sports scholarship program in Canada, and one of the most comprehensive education programs for hockey in the world today. Since the establishment of the WHL Scholarship in 1993-94, nearly 8,000 scholarships have been accessed, totaling an investment of over $35 million by WHL Clubs.

“This award win is a great achievement that celebrates all the hard work by our players and staff. The Rebels place great importance in ensuring our players are focused on their academics during the season, and we take pride in their success.” says Rebels Owner, President, and General Manager Brent Sutter.

“Congratulations to the players, Teresa and Arie for this well-deserved honour, and thank you to our partner schools for all your help.”

The Rebels are just the third Alberta-based team, and first since the Calgary Hitmen in 2013-14, to win the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy/WHL Scholastic Team of the Year Award since 2000.

News release from the Western Hockey League

 The Western Hockey League announced today the Red Deer Rebels have been awarded the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy as the WHL Scholastic Team of the Year for the 2023-24 season.

The WHL Scholastic Team of the Year Award was renamed in honour of Jim Donlevy, longtime WHL Director, Education Services, who passed away in August 2019 following a courageous battle with cancer. This marks the fourth occasion on which the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy will be presented to a WHL Club since its dedication.

“On behalf of the Red Deer Rebels, I’d like to thank the league in being selected for the Jim Donlevy Scholastic Team,” said  Teresa Jaeger, Education Advisor for the Red Deer Rebels. “We take great pride in education here and working with our players to be the best that they can be.

“I’d like to thank the players for their hard work and all their commitment they put into getting the best grades and getting their assignments done. I’d also like to thank the teachers at Notre Dame and Athabasca University for helping the team.”

With nine players attending high school, the Rebels combined high-school average for the 2023-24 academic season was 88 per cent. A hardworking group, the Rebels’ high-school aged players put pride in achieving in the classroom, going the extra mile in order to have success.

“On behalf of my family, I am honoured to present the winner of the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy, presented to the WHL Scholastic Team of the Year,” said Lisa Stollery, daughter of Jim Donlevy. “A huge congratulations to the Red Deer Rebels – their extremely hardworking student-athletes, their teachers who help these young men to excel in their academics, their Education Advisor Teresa Jaeger, the Rebels coaches and management team, and the families that support and love them. They are extremely hardworking students.”

As an organization, the Rebels have taken a collaborative approach to working with players to ensure academic success. Jaeger works closely with Hockey Operations staff and leadership from Red Deer’s Notre Dame High School to continually monitor how players are progressing. By having daily sessions, players are provided with the structure and support required to get the most from the learning time available to them.

While on the road, Hockey Operations staff provide leadership and support to keep players on academic track during road trips. Times are designated for players to focus on coursework and they have the opportunity to connect with teachers and Jaeger through Zoom, text, email and Google Meets.

The Rebels insistence on a regular and productive academic routine, combined with support and supervision, has created an environment that fosters academic success.

This is the first occasion in which the Red Deer Rebels have been named the WHL Scholastic Team of the Year.

Winners of the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy (since 2004)

2023-24: Red Deer Rebels

2022-23: Portland Winterhawks

2021-22: Brandon Wheat Kings

2020-21: Not presented due to COVID-19

2019-20: Kamloops Blazers

2018-19: Portland Winterhawks

2017-18: Saskatoon Blades

2016-17: Victoria Royals

2015-16: Spokane Chiefs

2014-15: Kamloops Blazers

2013-14: Calgary Hitmen

2012-13: Portland Winterhawks

2011-12: Edmonton Oil Kings

2010-11: Swift Current Broncos

2009-10: Tri-City Americans

2008-09: Prince Albert Raiders

2007-08: Chilliwack Bruins

2006-07: Kamloops Blazers

2005-06: Kootenay ICE

2004-05: Vancouver Giants

2003-04: Portland Winter Hawks

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Red Deer Rebels Memorial Cup Team to join Iginla, MacTavish, King and Kisio in the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame

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Six individuals and one team set to enter the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame.

RED DEER – Six individuals and a Memorial Cup championship team are being called to the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame (AHHF) as the Class of 2024.

The members of this year’s class are:

  • BILLY DEA – 19-year pro hockey career, along with several years coaching in the NHL. He had two playing stints in the NHL, sandwiched around nine years in the American Hockey League with the Buffalo Bisons, where he set a longevity record by playing 596 straight games. He is a member of the AHL Hall of Fame.


  • JAROME IGINLA – 20 seasons in the National Hockey League, including 16 with the Calgary Flames. He is the all-time leader for the Calgary Flames in games played (1,219), goals (525) and points (1,095). He is also a multi-time gold medalist with Team Canada, a two-time Memorial Cup champion, and an Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.


  • DAVE KING – Coach and mentor for over 40 years and one of hockey’s finest tacticians and teachers of the game. He has coached at every level of hockey around the world, including major junior, Canadian university, Canada’s national team, the National Hockey League, and European and Russian pro leagues. He is a two-time medalist at the Winter Olympics.


  • KELLY KISIO – 761 games in the National Hockey League and captain of the New York Rangers for more than three years. He helped turn the Calgary Hitmen into one of the most successful franchises in the Western Hockey League (including two WHL championships), as coach and general manager. Currently a scout with the Vegas Golden Knights, 2023 Stanley Cup champions.


  • CRAIG MACTAVISH – Four-time Stanley Cup champion during a 17-year playing career in the National Hockey League. Craig also served as an executive, coach and assistant coach in the NHL, coached Team Canada internationally, and coached internationally n Russia and Switzerland. Craig was the last NHL player not to wear a helmet during games.


  • SHANNON SZABADOS – Trailblazer for female hockey players, one of Canada’s top goaltenders, and the IIHF’s Goaltender of the Decade (2010-20). She is the only goaltender in women’s hockey history to backstop her nation to two gold medals at the Winter Olympics; the first and only female to record a shutout in men’s pro hockey; and the first female to play in the WHL and the Southern Professional Hockey League.


  • RED DEER REBELS, 2000-01 – The 2001 Memorial Cup champions, defeating Val-d’Or in a come-from-behind overtime victory in Regina. The Rebels had a dominating season, leading the Canadian Hockey League with a 54-12-3-3 regular season. They advanced to the Memorial Cup by defeating Lethbridge, Calgary, Swift Current and Portland in the WHL playoffs.


Hockey Alberta hosted the announcement on Tuesday morning at the Gary W. Harris Centre at Red Deer Polytechnic. It was also announced that the AHHF Induction Gala is returning to Red Deer and is being hosted at the Gary W. Harris Centre on Saturday, July 20.

Tickets for the AHHF Induction Gala are available to purchase on

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