After being the Yorkton Harvest’s final cut at the start of the year in training camp, Koal Roberts tossed and turned about what he could have done different to make the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League club.
“It was very disappointing,” says Roberts. “I played a couple exhibition games and was the last one to get cut. I was really hoping to make it. I wondered maybe if I would have done somethings different whether I would have made it.”
But a roster spot opened up in Yorkton in the middle of December with 16-year-old forward Carson Cayer deciding to leave the Harvest for the Assiniboia Southern Rebels of the Praire Junior Hockey League.
Although Roberts didn’t receive an immediate phone call from Harvest head coach Jeff Odgers, it eventually came after the coaching staff decided the 5-foot-9, 144-pound winger was the best for their club.
“Koal Roberts came up and played some games as an AP (affiliated player) and we thought he played very well,” says Odgers. “We also thought with the playoffs not too far away his style of play would be a good fit for our team.”
Roberts, 15, didn’t think twice about leaving his Melville AA midget club for the Harvest.
“I got the call the day the rosters needed to be set,” says Roberts. “I was really excited. I really wanted to be in this league (SMAAAHL) this year.”
It took Roberts no time at all to make an impact in Yorkton, notching three goals and six points in 12 regular-season games.
“I was happy with getting those points,” says Roberts. “I came in here just focused on helping the team win, so the points were a bonus.”
The Melville native’s versatility has stood out to Odgers as one of his top assets.
“You can put him on any line,” says the head coach. “Koal goes out there and works hard, is a good skater, and has a good shot. We’ve put him on a bunch of different lines and he has contributed on every line he has played on.”
As it stands, the Harvest and Regina Pat Canadians are tied 1-1 in their first-round best-of-five playoff series. Roberts hopes to end his rookie season with a long post-season run.
“We got a good team,” says Roberts. “I think we can go far in the playoffs. That’s what I’m really hoping for.”