DIDSBURY – Winger Raegen Keim, a 16-year-old rookie on the Mountainview Colts, is following in his father’s footsteps, or rather skate strides. Raegen’s father Robbin suited up with the Colts back in 1994-95 and loves watching his son play for the same team.
“I really enjoy watching Raegen play as he is only in his fifth season of hockey,” said Robbin. “His improvement has been very quick. To put it in perspective: he got his first pair of skates and learned to skate when some of the players he is playing with were already playing elite midget hockey or junior.”
The family lives on a farm just outside Acme. Raegen, who attends school in Acme, commutes almost every day to practices and games with the Colts.
Raegen told the Gazette he is enjoying playing with the Colts and learning the ropes of junior B.
“It’s gone well,” he said. “I’m learning lots and having fun. It’s definitely a big adjustment having to play against guys five years older than you.”
Raegen played for an Olds Midget AA team last season before trying out for the Colts and making the roster as one of the youngest players.
Between taking courses at Acme High School, playing for the Colts and helping out around the farm, Raegen doesn’t have a lot of free time.
“I’m lucky I have a spare,” he said. “I can catch up there. I did a bunch of work experience at a truck shop and got a lot of credits. So I don’t need a full course load because I have extra credits.”
Raegen’s father Robbin played forward for the Colts as well, although they are vastly different players.
“I was better down low in front of the net and Raegen has a better shot than I did,” said the elder Keim.
Robbin says the game today is much less physical and much more skill based. “It’s not as physical and the fighting is not nearly as big a part as it was when I played,” he said.
Robbin is very glad that his son can play junior hockey and still live at home and help around the farm.
“It’s nice to have somewhere that these local kids can play a high level without sending them off to billet away from home,” he said.
“I made friends from other towns that I still have to this day. That is what is great about the game. It’s the people.”
Both players are/were strong power forwards, which Raegen says is probably from working on the farm.
“It’s neat that we were able to play on the same team,” said Raegen. “I don’t know if there have been many other father and sons play for the Colts.”
Father and son talk quite a bit about the team and the different playing styles. “He said it was quite a bit different,” said Raegen. “It was more physical, they played with a red line. There was much more hitting and holding. You had to be a different type of player.
“You had to have more size and strength. Back then you were allowed to fight three times before you were kicked out.”
The two do get to play together occasionally, either at their own outdoor ice rink or at Acme’s outdoor ice surface.
Robbin is grateful to the Colts organization for giving him a chance to play junior B.
“They’ve been helping me along and teaching me,” he said.
Raegen said the team is looking forward to having a strong playoff run. “It was exciting for them to win last year and it would be neat to be a part of something like that again,” he said.
As for the future, Raegen said he would love to make a junior A squad, but would be just as happy to play for the Colts and continue to improve. As for who wins those backyard puck battles-neither would say.