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The Suite Life

The WHL’s Red Deer Rebels are going to crash at the arena for their entire season and we are so jealous it hurts

February 11, 2021

Remember bubble sports—that weird little blip in athletic history that feels like it happened four decades ago but was really just September? Well, as it turns out, in certain far flung corners of the sports world, bubbles of all shapes and sizes are still being erected, including in the WHL—Western Canada’s major junior ice hockey league—where the Red Deer Rebels announced plans this week to have the team bunk out at the arena sleepover-style for the duration of their 24-game season. Sound like hell to you? WRONG ANSWER. Just check out these dream digs and prepare to get absurdly jealous.

Instead of housing the players at local billets as they would during an ordinary season, the Rebels will be converting the suites at the Westerner Park Centrium arena into makeshift dorms. In addition to wifi and dope views of the ice, the team is also setting up basketball hoops, spikeball, ping pong and more on the concourse to keep players entertained. We assume Mountain Dew will flow like wine and ‘Halo’ will be a regular fixture on the jumbotron. If not, what's the point?

One second thought, we'll let Rebels GM and head coach Brian Sutter answer that:

“That was the whole thing for myself, from an ownership point of view, we’ve gotta do everything we can to get back to playing for our players . . . These kids are trying to make their careers out of this. This is major junior hockey, the next level is professional hockey . . . and to miss a year of hockey as it is [the Rebels last game was March 11th, 2020], it sets everybody back some.”

Makes sense to us. Say coach, got an extra cot?