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Regina Rebels forward striving for top step of podium

Click to play video: 'Rebels gearing up for another Esso Cup'
Rebels gearing up for another Esso Cup
Regina Rebels' star forward Stryker Zablocki says the team is hungry to turn last year's third-place Esso Cup finish into a national championship this year – Apr 18, 2024

For the second consecutive season the Regina Rebels are headed to the Esso Cup to square off against the best under-18 female hockey clubs in Canada.

And the team wants to take a few steps up the podium this year.

“Our team is searching for gold this year and obviously after the bronze win last year, we want to step our game up and I think we have to the team to do that,” said Regina Rebels forward Stryker Zablocki.

Zablocki now has two bronze medals to her name, one with last year’s Rebels and one with the under-18 Canadian team from the 2024 Worlds.

She credits much of her success to her now two seasons spent in the Rebels organization.

“It’s been amazing, the coaching staff has been unreal the past two years, obviously we had a bit of a change in the staff but it’s still been so awesome and all the girls here are amazing and super supportive so it’s a really good environment and a great team to play on,” Zablocki said.

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Rebels’ head coach Kim Perepeluk lauded Zablocki with praise for not only her on-ice prowess but also the intangibles off the ice.

“She leads in a lot of ways both on and off the ice. She is very, very coachable, which I think is a very important trait to have as a young player, and I think one of her greatest qualities is she makes the players around her better,” Perepeluk said.

Zablocki is one piece of a deep Rebels team, and the club hopes that depth will serve them well during a tournament where Regina will play a game per day.

The first test for the Rebels will be the North York Storm out of Ontario.

“They could probably be our toughest opponent there. Last year the Ontario rep won as well so I think we’re going to start off with a bang and hopefully we can take it to them, but we’ll see how it goes, Zablocki said.

Regardless of the outcome for the Rebels, they can look forward to enjoying Zablocki’s services for one more year, before the skilled forward heads to Northeastern University in 2025.

But assuredly, Zablocki would love a gold medal to add to her already impressive medal haul.

Regina begin their quest to become national champions this Sunday afternoon from Vernon, B.C.

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