June 21st, 2024

Tigers wrap prospects camp, sign 1st rounder Ruptash

By JAMES TUBB on June 4, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Tigers prospect Luke Ruptash skates with the puck during a scrimmage Sunday, the second day of the Tigers' prospects camp held at the Hockey Hounds arena this weekend.


The Medicine Hat Tigers got their first look at the 2024 WHL Draft class in the orange and black.

The Tigers held their annual prospects camp over the weekend, with players from the recent draft, the U.S. drafts and other rookies to showcase their skills and take in presentations.

“It’s always an exciting weekend, you get to see the future of your team and that’s always a big moment,” head coach Willie Desjardins said. “You looked at these guys in the past at the Albert Cup, B.C. Cup but you finally get to see everybody together. So it’s exciting for us. We have some really good young players and that’s what makes it exciting for our future.”

The weekend included two on-ice sessions of skills and drills Friday and Saturday, fitness testing and presentations supplemented throughout providing the prospects information regarding the WHL scholarship program, what it takes to reach the WHL and beyond and what it means to be a Medicine Hat Tiger. It wrapped up with an inter squad scrimmage on Sunday.

Desjardins says they bring players in and give them an idea of what they want and expect of them this summer ahead of training camp.

“It’s really important because then they don’t go home and waste a whole summer, not knowing what they’re going to have to do to be ready,” Desjardins said. “It’s huge. We want them to know what you’re going to need to do this summer to be ready for the fall. That’s our parting message. It’s great to be where you’re at but you have a lot of work to do to get where you want to go.”

After the scrimmage Sunday, the Tigers put pen to paper with multiple players to be announced later with the first announced signing being first-round pick Luke Ruptash.

The 15-year-old forward had 28 goals and 57 points with the St. Albert Sabres U15 AAA and was selected 16th overall by Medicine Hat.

“He’s a really competitive, young man who plays hard,” Desjardins said. “He’ll be a guy that you can find ways to win. He’s just really responsible, but has an edge to his game, people don’t like playing against him but we’ll like him on our team.”

Ruptash spoke with media after the signing and says he was honoured to be a Tiger and he enjoyed the professional feel of the organization and the camp weekend.

He’s looking forward to training camp in the fall and already has his focus for what he needs to work on this summer.

“My awareness and positional play in the defensive zone I could get better at and I could work on in the summer,” Ruptash said.

The Tigers’ recently-signed U.S. Draft pick Shaeffer Gordon-Carroll took part in the camp, his first team activity as a member of the organization. He enjoyed the weekend and is looking forward to working for a spot in the lineup this fall.

“It was fun seeing all the ’09 boys get where I was last year, didn’t really change much just like my game, and fun to see all the boys and the coaches,” Gordon-Carroll said.

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