Former Oil King brings winning ways to Golden Bears
Rachinski joined by Silvertips’ Yadlowski on U of A squad
By Evan Daum, edmontonjournal.com
July 9, 2012
Edmonton Oil Kings Rhett Rachinski holds the Ed Chynoweth Cup after defeating the Portland WinterHawks in game 7 of the WHL championship series on May, 13 2012 in Edmonton.
Greg Southam , Edmonton Journal)Photograph by: Greg Southam Greg Southam
EDMONTON - Rhett Rachinski hopes his winning ways in Edmonton are just getting started.
Fresh off his Western Hockey League championship season with the Edmonton Oil Kings, Rachinski, along with former Everett Silvertip Brennan Yadlowski, were announced Monday as the newest members of the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey squad.
Both Rachinski and Yadlowski are well aware of the Golden Bears’ past success as they prepare for their historic 100th season and a run at a 14th University Cup.
“Being from Edmonton, I grew up going to some of the games and even playing minor hockey tournaments at Clare Drake Arena, so obviously being around the rink and going to some of the games you’re familiar with the winning tradition behind the Golden Bears and all the national titles they’ve won,” said Rachinski, a forward.
“It’s a winning tradition the U of A’s established for really forever,” said Yadlowski, a defenceman. “Growing up going to games you expected them to win and, if they didn’t, it was a disappointment every game, night in and night out. That’s what I wanted to be a part of.”
Coming off a career year in which he notched 50 points in 72 games for the Oil Kings, Rachinski garnered attention from schools across the country, including the defending Canadian Interuniversity Sport champions McGill Redmen.
“I flew out east two weeks ago, about a week before I made my decision here, and I had been considering that for quite a while, too. They were one of the first teams to come and talk to me and they’ve got a pretty good school and a pretty good program,” Rachinski said.
In the end, however, Rachinski decided to stay in Edmonton and play for Alberta, where he’ll be reunited with former Oil Kings teammates Jordan Hickmott and Drew Nichol.
“It seemed like after getting back, my heart was telling me that I wanted to go to the U of A. I’ve been taking courses here part-time the last couple of years, I know a lot of the guys, and Brennan is one of my buddies that I’ve grown up playing with all my life, so it just felt U of A was a good fit for me,” Rachinski said.
“I played with Nichol for two years and Hickmott for one and they’re great guys. I’m looking forward to playing with them again. There are a lot of guys who are local guys and, whether it’s playing with or against them, training or just passing by, it seems like a pretty close-knit group and being a part of the team next year it will be a pretty easy transition for me.”
Like Rachinski, Yadlowski had no shortage of options in terms of schools who were interested in bringing the versatile defenceman on board.
“Pretty much every school in the western part of CIS talked to me and some eastern teams too, like University of New Brunswick, Western, but the U of A was always the place that was No. 1 on my list,” he said.
While the transition to the rigours of life as a student-athlete isn’t always easy for major junior players who are often years removed from high school, Rachinski is no stranger to the classroom after taking courses at the U of A over the last three years while finishing his junior career.
“I’m looking towards getting into a business program. My mom is a school teacher, so she was on me pretty hard about school. It’s going to make my transition of getting back into school a little bit easier,” he said.
Yadlowski, who played five full seasons in the WHL, will join a crowded Alberta defensive corps that potentially could have all eight D-men who saw game action last season return to the mix.
With a new coach in Ian Herbers, Yadlowski is confident his abilities will help secure playing time.
“The thing with Ian coming on as the new coach, everyone has a clean slate,” Yadlowski said. “No one really has spots made for them right now. We’ve all got to earn spots heading into camp and that’s what I’ll try and do heading into camp — earn a spot inside the top six.”
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