Mister Mayor: Former Raider Latimer reflects on experience in Hockeytown North

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Red Deer Rebels forward Carson Latimer (centre) poses for a photo with the Pagé family after Wednesday night's game at the Art Hauser Centre.

When Carson Latimer donned the Prince Albert Raider sweater, he was affectionately known as “The Mayor of Prince Albert”.

Including playoff statistics, Latimer played 80 games as a Raider posting 61 points including 22 goals. The overage forward says he looks back at his time in Prince Albert with nothing but the best memories and he was excited to play at the Art Hauser Centre with the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday night

“I love playing here. I spent a lot of time in this rink and a lot of great memories here with all the guys so it’s really nice to come back and be able to play in front of the fans again here that were so amazing when I was here.”

Latimer was originally acquired by the Raiders on Dec. 1, 2021 alongside current Raider captain Eric Johnston as part of the Kaiden Guhle trade with the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Other assets from the deal included Kelowna’s 2021 first round pick (used on Cole Peardon, Edmonton’s 2023 first round pick (used on Daxon Rudolph), a 2022 sixth round pick (used on Ethan Bibeau) and a conditional 2025 third round pick.

Latimer was traded by Prince Albert on Dec. 31, 2022 to the Winnipeg ICE in exchange for centreman Aiden Oiring and a pair of third round picks (one in 2024, one in 2025).

During his time with Winnipeg, Latimer posted 12 points in 22 regular season games and six points in 14 playoff games as the ICE would make it all the way to the WHL Championship Series where they fell in five games to the Seattle Thunderbirds, who featured former Raider Nolan Allan.

Latimer says getting the opportunity to play for a WHL championship with Winnipeg was a highlight in his hockey career.

“It was unreal. It was really cool. Probably one of the coolest hockey experiences I’ve ever been able to be a part of. Playing in that huge spotlight with the last two teams, having a chance to compete to go to the Memorial Cup is what you dream of when you come into this league. It’s what you play for. So to have that opportunity, and it sucks being traded, but going to have that opportunity is unbelievable.”

In the offseason, Latimer found himself on the move once again as the Wenatchee Wild (who relocated from Winnipeg) dealt him to the Red Deer Rebels for a 2024 fifth round pick and a conditional 2025 third round selection.

At the time of publication, the Rebels are one of the hottest teams in the WHL as they have recorded points in their last 13 contests and were riding a nine game winning streak that was snapped by the Raiders at the Art Hauser Centre on Wednesday.

The Rebels sit two points back of the Medicine Hat Tigers for the top spot in the Central Division and hold one game in hand.

Latimer says it took some time for the team to adjust to new head coach Derrick Walser who is in his first season behind the bench.

“They had a new coach come in and we took a little bit of time to get used to everything and the way we want to play, but now we’re kicking in all cylinders here, we’re playing the right way, we’re really defensively strong so it gives us a chance in every game and we’ve been able to find a way to win games the last little bit here so it’s been really good.”

With the Rebels not departing for their next game in Brandon until Thursday morning, Latimer had extra time at the rink to reconnect with his billet family. During his time as a Raider, Latimer lived with the Pagé family.

“They’re unbelievable people.” Latimer says. ”It was one of the best billet experiences I was able to have in my career and I’m so thankful for them.”

The first billet player that the Pagé family took in was Aliaksei Protas during the 2018-19 season, who is now with the NHL’s Washington Capitals. A tradition that was started with Protas that has continued with all billets at the Pagé household has been several games of Mario Kart: Wii.

Latimer says his go to Mario Kart character was his Mii character on the Pagé family console.

“I’m a Mii character. I have my own Mii at the house. If you ask Roger, I take him down quite frequently. So it’s really good.”