Siksika Nation Teen Impresses Top Alberta Hockey Coach

Mandi Running Rabbit (mom), Anson McMaster, and Trevor Running Rabbit (dad)


Anson McMaster from the Siksika Nation recently helped Team South win the Alberta Cup Bantam Hockey Championships in a tournament held for the Top 160 bantam hockey players in that province.
“The Alberta Cup Championships takes place a week before the hockey drafts and is a higher level than the Bantam AAA which involves the top 160 hockey players in Alberta,” said Jamie Steer, head coach for Team South.
“They are split into eight teams and this year Alberta South won the championship!”
Steer named McMaster the team’s assistant captain for the hockey tournament at the first try-outs. “It was fairly easy because Anson is one of the best. He skates really well both forward and backwards, and he works really hard,” Steer said. “He’s a quiet leader, a front-of-the-line player. One thing I noticed as the tournament progressed is he got better. I always tell my players if a team gets better every game, they’ll win the tournament.”
At the team’s awards banquet, the 14 year old, 6 feet 4 inch tall, 175 pound McMaster won Defensemen of the Year, Top Scorer, and Most Valuable Player, plus the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League chose him as Top Defensemen of the Year for the South Division.
I asked McMaster what he thought about winning the Alberta Cup with Team South, and his recent awards and recognition while playing for the Rocky Mountain Raiders.
“It was a pretty good experience playing with the best hockey players in the province, and winning wasn’t bad as well,” said McMaster.
During the Alberta Cup, McMaster was chosen Game Star for one of the games as Team South went on to defeat Team Northwest 5-1 in the championship game.
Among his most recent achievements, McMaster was just drafted 23rd overall in the WHL bantam draft by Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook. His parents, Mandi and Trevor Running Rabbit, are very proud of their son and instill education as a top priority.
“We are so proud and happy for our boy. He’s worked so hard through training five times a week and also keeping up his school average to 85%,” Mandi said. “We as parents have always told our kids that if they keep up with their education they can do anything they want, and for Anson that is to make it as far as he can in hockey, plus getting his schooling done along the way.”
McMaster appears to be listening to his parents as he told First Nations Drum he’s just finishing Grade 9 at the Crowther Memorial Junior High School in Strathmore, Alberta.
“Math is my favourite subject with an 85 percent average. I would like one day, maybe after hockey, possibly being a scientist.”
His favourite NHL player is Shea Webber, and if he had a choice to play for an NHL team it would definitely be his favourite team to cheer for, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
McMaster is on his way toward a bright future, and coach Steer thinks the same.
“So far he`s heading in the right direction. He’s 6 – 4, he needs to gain more body weight, needs to get stronger, and with his growth spurt he’ll continue working hard on his hockey skills. Anything is possible with this kid,” said coach Steer.