Colorado Springs native, Rampage star Roberts signs with WHL’s Rebels after being first-round pick in May’s U.S. draft
Earlier this month, the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels announced that forward Jeramiah Roberts had signed a standard player agreement with the team.
Roberts was selected by the Rebels 14th overall in the first round at the 2022 U.S. Priority Draft back on May 18.
“We’re very excited that Jeramiah and his family have chosen to pursue his academic and hockey goals with our club,” said Rebels associate general manager Shaun Sutter. “He is a fast, talented player who likes to get involved physically and battle. He was a standout at our training camp with his speed and skill while showing he has a bright future in the WHL.”
A native of Colorado Springs, Roberts played in 46 games in 2021-22 with the Colorado Rampage 14U AAA, recording 29 goals and 20 assists for 49 points, along with 82 penalty minutes. This season, he is skating for the Rampage 15U AAA team.
Roberts said that on draft day last spring, he didn’t even pay attention to the draft.
“Started with my coaches Tyler Shipstad and Kevin Patterson telling me that there are a couple teams looking at me,” Roberts said. “I had no idea of the WHL at this time. Received a call from the Red Deer Rebels that they were interested in me. Had no clue that I was going to be drafted on draft day. I was so excited when my dad told me Red Deer drafted me because I was in school. Getting to Canada was a struggle with all the situations going on, but my dad made it happen.
“On the first day of camp, I was nervous. I was thinking I wouldn’t play well or have a good game. My dad told me to just play my game and have fun. After the first game, we had meetings. My dad and I did some research on the culture there and we really started to like the organization. By the second day, my dad and I knew this is where I wanted to be, this is what I had been working for. That is why we made the decision for me to sign with the Red Deer Rebels. It seems this is the place to get me where I want to be for the sport I love.”
Once he signed with the Rebels, Roberts went to work on finding out more about the franchise.
“I did a lot of research watching highlight videos on the team and saw how they played, both physical and fast paced, and I liked that,” said Roberts. “It made me excited that I would be coming to the team next year. I would love to get called on this year, but also a little nervous to leave next year. I do feel like this is going to be an amazing opportunity for me. I’ve never been away from my family before.”
Born in 2007, Roberts is ineligible to play any games with the Rebels during the 2022-23 season due to USA Hockey regulations.
Last season with the Rampage was a “really good” season, according to Roberts, who has high expectations for the current 2022-23 season.
“There were a lot of hard-working guys out there,” Roberts said. “If we play like how we did last year, just faster, smoother, and with intensity, we will be the team to beat this season. This last year was a little rough. We lost a lot of games, but we did not give up. That showed me what type of a team we can be. I pushed myself and my teammates harder and harder every day so that we could be the team everyone wants to beat this year.”
As with many high-end Americans when it comes to the Canadian Hockey League, Roberts had to make a decision between playing Major Junior or looking at NCAA options.
“It was challenging picking between the WHL and the NCAA,” admitted Roberts. “I picked what I thought was the best for me, which was the WHL, which could get me to my ending goal of playing in the NHL.”
Growing up, Roberts found his passion playing hockey and has not looked back.
“When I was younger, I played with Green Mountain Falls in 2015-16 under coach Brian Kane, and he moved me up to play with the 10U A team and we won a state title that year,” said Roberts. “Got to learn a lot from the older kids that year and play at their pace. Then I went to the Colorado Rampage and have been playing with them for a long time. They helped support and get me to the next level. I have really enjoyed all of it. One of my old coaches Kevin Patterson and my current coach ‘Ship’ pushed me very hard because they knew what I was capable of. They put in time to help me improve my game taking me to where I am today.
“I owe a lot to the Rampage organization for everything they have done to get me to this point in my hockey career.”
Looking ahead, Roberts has his goals ready to be achieved.
“My long-term goal is to play in the NHL – that is something I have always dreamed of,” Roberts said. “I want to succeed in school as well to make sure I have a backup plan. I want to have a wonderful life doing what I love.
“Hockey is not work – it is my life.”
Photo provided by Charles Roberts
— Matt Mackinder
(September 29, 2022)