Former Edmonton Oil King Rhett Rachinski is one of two local recruits that have chosen the University of Alberta Golden Bears’ hockey program to continue their hockey and educational paths with. Rachinski, who scored the overtime winner in game four of the Western Hockey League championship series, joins along with former WHL’er, and Edmonton-born player Brennan Yadlowski.
“Both Rhett and Brennan are from Edmonton, wanted to be part of the Golden Bears’ program, and play a style of game we like, so it was an easy decision to recruit them to the program,” said Golden Bears’ General Manager Stan Marple, who had an opportunity to follow both players all season.
The longest serving player in Oil Kings’ modern history, Rachinski finished his final season with 50 points, including 27 goals, in 72 games, and then added 12 points in 20 playoff games to help Edmonton capture the Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champions, as well as a berth to the Memorial Cup Canadian Hockey League championship tournament.
“Growing up in Edmonton, I went to Golden Bears games as a kid, and having played with the Oil Kings, I’m already familiar with a lot of the current players, so this is a pretty special transition for me,” noted Rachinski. “I had an opportunity to meet Coach Herbers and based on what he said, I’m pretty excited about joining the Bears, the opportunities I have with this team, and the moves that are being made to make this team better," he added.
“He’s a great skater, who brings excellent work ethic and attitude, and can help us at either centre or wing,” said Marple. “He’s good in the faceoff circle, and very responsible and productive, at both ends of the ice.”
“He’ll have a big impact right away at the CIS level,” said Oil Kings General Manager, 2012 WHL Executive of the Year Bob Green. “Rhett is a great kid with tremendous character, and a very well-rounded player. He scored lots of goals for us, killed penalties, played on the power-play, and played well in all situations. I think he’ll bring a lot to the Golden Bears’ program.”
Yadlowski, who played five years in the WHL, most recently with Everett, joins an Alberta’s blue-line brigade that yielded the fewest goals against last season. With Everett last season, the 6’1” defenceman scored 24 points and 91 penalty minutes in 59 regular season games. His best season was in 2010, while with Lethbridge, when he scored 34 points and had 139 PIMs.
“Brennan gives us some depth and size, and he plays a tough, no-nonsense style of game that I like,” noted Marple. “He played a lot of minutes for Everett, and will complement our already strong defensive group.”
“I think it’s a goal from a young age, especially with local kids in the WHL, to want to go to the U of A to play hockey and get education,” noted Green. “The degrees earned mean something, the team is always competitive, and has a good network into the European leagues, as well as the AHL. More and more players from CIS are being signed to NHL and pro opportunities, and playing with the Golden Bears is a great step to further an education and a hockey career.”