CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – Sometimes, one must take the road less traveled to get to their final destination.
For Logan Rempel (Grande Prairie, Alta.), the road less traveled has had its share of detours, pit stops, and roadblocks along the way. While he didn’t necessarily choose to take this path willingly, his road map has included a redshirt season right out of high school, a season-ending injury, and a cross-country journey that landed him in a spot that wasn’t his original destination.
Rempel’s road spanned 52 hours of driving along the Trans Canada Highway, and the distance eclipsed 5,100 kilometres. From Grande Prairie, Alberta to Charlottetown, PEI, Rempel drove himself across the country with the hopes of returning to the basketball court while finishing his degree.
Throughout his entire basketball journey, Rempel has remained positive and will be looking to help one of the CCAA’s most successful teams from the past decade continue their success when he becomes eligible in January.
Out of high school, Rempel joined the GPRC Wolves in the ACAC, his hometown college, for the 2016-17 season. After starring at Grande Prairie Composite High School where he averaged 21 points per game in Grade 12, coming to college was a humbling experience.
Making the jump to the college level is an adjustment for everyone on the court. In year one, Rempel took a redshirt year with the Wolves, and that came with its own set of adjustments.
“To make the most of a redshirt year, you must make a mental adjustment,” said Rempel. “You have to be okay with never touching the court and sitting on the sideline of every game in a pair of dress pants.”
“I may have averaged 21 points per game in my Grade 12 year, but everyone else at the collegiate level has done the same. After I accepted the fact that I was not capable of doing that my first year, I had to figure out what would help me get back onto the court.”
The process of returning to the court for Rempel started with identifying the areas of his game that were weaknesses. After identifying two key areas of growth, Rempel put a plan into action to get himself ready for the rigors of ACAC play.
“One of the major things about making the jump from high school to the collegiate level is the athleticism and strength of the players, both of which were major weaknesses of mine,” continued Rempel. “I spent a lot of time in the weight room my redshirt year to get stronger and faster.”
“I coupled that with countless hours of getting shots up in the gym. I knew I had to do that every single day, as I did not have to be rested for practice to try and battle for playing time or be ready to go come game time on the weekend.”
Rempel also used his time on the sidelines to learn from his teammates. He learned from the guys that were there before him, and he watched to see how they handled life at the collegiate level. In practice, Rempel was able to get a feel for the physicality of the game, and that ultimately put him in a position to succeed.
Admittedly, the redshirt year was a challenge, one that tested his mental strength.
“It was a very long year and it tested my love for the game,” said Rempel. “But, it was worth it in the long run.”
“When it was time to make the jump the next year, everything just fell into place.”
After the work that Rempel put in during his redshirt season, his efforts were rewarded.
To begin the 2017-18 season, Rempel found himself on the court with the Wolves, and his hard work the year prior had paid off. Rempel found himself in the starting five for GPRC on opening night, and he was back playing the game he loved.
Rempel recorded four points and four rebounds in his regular season collegiate debut, a 76-74 win over the Keyano College Huskies at home in Grande Prairie.
As the season wore on, Rempel got more comfortable with the collegiate game. He made nine consecutive starts to begin his career, and he saw the floor in 11 of the Wolves’ 12 games in the first half of the season. Rempel recorded five games with double-digit points, including a season-high 16 points against the NAIT Ooks.
Just when things were trending in the right direction, Rempel’s road less traveled took yet another detour. After the work he put in as a redshirt to get his body into shape for the challenges that the ACAC would throw at him, it all took a turn for the worse.
Rempel had one-third of the lateral meniscus in his left knee removed, forcing him to miss six games to start the winter semester. He played four games on the injury before things took another turn, piling on the injuries.
After four games of trying to playing through his knee injury, Rempel suffered a season-ending ankle injury on the same leg, ultimately ending his season.
The injury kicked off a long eight-month recovery for Rempel. He suffered the injury in January, and wasn’t cleared for basketball action until August.
“During those eight months, I couldn’t train because of swelling and decreased range of motion in my knee,” continued Rempel. “I got very out of shape.”
“The last time I played I wasn’t out of shape, so my mind was trying to move like I had before and my body couldn’t do it.”
With his body not being able to keep up, Rempel questioned whether or not the game was still right for him.
“I think I had returned to action too soon,” said Rempel in regards to his initial knee injury. “It was very frustrating for me.”
“I struggled with giving up altogether or even taking a year off, but I opted to push through.”
After his eight-month recovery, Rempel was cleared for action in August. Slowly but surely, he got himself back into game shape ahead of the 2018-19 season. With the experience of having to work to earn a spot in the starting five with the Wolves the previous summer, Rempel knew what was needed to succeed in his recovery process.
Rempel got himself ready for the season, and he played in every game for GPRC that year. He finished the season averaging 9.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 35.5% from the floor and 35.3% from three-point range.
Once again, Rempel had navigated a detour in his basketball career, one that led him to question whether the game was still right for him.
Following the 2018-19 season, Rempel began looking at other schools that would allow for him to finish the degree that he had started at GPRC. With several options that he could take, Rempel had his sights set on one school in particular.
University of Prince Edward Island.
“My heart was set on UPEI pretty much from the start of me looking at schools,” continued Rempel. “UPEI allowed me to finish my degree that I started at GPRC, and gave me a shot to play basketball last the U Sports level.”
“My girlfriend transferred to Holland College last year, so I figured I could come to PEI with her. That was a big reason for my decision.”
After talking with the UPEI coaching staff from February onwards, Rempel was told that he could come to UPEI to try out and earn his place with the program, but no guarantees were made for him to play. So, Rempel loaded up his vehicle and made the 52-hour trek from Grande Prairie, Alberta to PEI to continue his educational and basketball careers.
Training camp began in late-August, and cuts were to happen in September. At the end of training camp, Rempel was assured that he would have a role with the team, one that was very similar to his role with the Wolves just two years prior.
“I was informed that I would have a redshirt role with the team,” said Rempel. “That was fine with me, as I could take a year off to get my body to where it needed to be because I was still only a year off surgery.”
“I had been in this situation two years prior, but I was a little bit older and more experienced now.”
From there, Rempel started to do whatever he could to earn his place as a Panther. He made sure the correct paper work was filled out, and he took part in team events like car washes and other time-consuming events to show that he was willing to do whatever was needed to be part of the team.
Fast forward to late-September, and Rempel met with the coaching staff once more. He was assured that if he put in the time and effort to be successful, he would have a future with the program. That lit a fire under Rempel, and he started to ramp up the work he was putting in.
“I began training every day, as I had before in my redshirt year at GPRC,” said Rempel.
Little did Rempel know at the time, but there was another detour just around the corner.
Another meeting between Rempel and the coaching staff for the Panthers was set for October. UPEI had just played its first exhibition games at home, and all players were to meet with the Head Coach one-on-one to discuss their academic standing and how everything else was going overall.
What Rempel thought was a routine check-in turned out to be an unexpected detour.
“Coach had assured me that I had done nothing wrong, but he told me that the UPEI program and I needed to go separate ways,” stated Rempel. “I sat and waited for what I thought was a routine check-in, but this was not the case.”
After being assured that he would have a spot on the team if he put in the time and effort to be successful, Rempel was left without a program to call his own.
“I was now across the country with my tuition paid and no way of getting it back,” said Rempel. “I was left with no team, no way home, and the only people I knew in PEI were associated with the team that I was no longer apart of.”
Rempel didn’t know many people in Charlottetown, PEI outside of the Men’s Basketball team at UPEI, the program he was no longer part of. He had his girlfriend, who was already enrolled at Holland College, but that was the extent of his network.
However, he knew someone that had ties to the community, and more specifically, the Holland College Hurricanes and their basketball programs.
“I know the now-former Holland Hurricanes Women’s Basketball Head Coach from my redshirt year at GPRC, when he was the Women’s Head Coach there at the time,” said Rempel. “I got in contact with him, and he put me in contact with the Holland College Men’s Basketball Head Coach [Josh Whitty].”
“It made sense for me to try to go to Holland College because I would not have to move from Charlottetown, and I could start to acquaint myself with the team right away.”
Rempel and Holland College Head Coach Josh Whitty got in contact with one another. One thing led to another, and Rempel now has himself a program to call his own.
One of the main reasons for Rempel’s decision to move to Prince Edward Island was because his girlfriend was attending Holland College. Fate took over from there, and now both share the same campus in Charlottetown.
Rempel is a member of the Holland College Hurricanes.
“I can’t finish my degree at Holland, but you can only play five years of basketball so I may as well make the most of that time while I have it.”
Once again, Rempel was able to successfully navigate his way through another unexpected detour, only this one was 5,200-kilometres away from home. His ability to bounce back on his feet after being repeatedly knocked down by life puts his drive to succeed into perspective.
While Rempel is currently enrolled at Holland College, he won’t become eligible for the Hurricanes until the second semester. Equipped with a chance to play for one of the most successful teams in Canada, Rempel is ready to do whatever he can to help the team win.
“I’d like to bring my experience and passion for the game to help the team in any way that I can,” said Rempel. “The Hurricanes are one of the most successful teams in the CCAA over the last decade, and I would like to not only be part of that history, but continue it.”
When asked what fans can expect from himself when he steps on the court in January for the Hurricanes, Rempel reiterated the fact that he’s here to contribute in any way that he can.
“What they can expect from me is to hit open shows and help create for others,” concluded Rempel. “I’m not the most flashy or athletic player, so the fans shouldn’t expect any posters coming from me.”
“Holland has some very skilled players, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to play alongside them.”
Night in and night out, Rempel will be ready to contribute in any way that he can for Coach Whitty and the coaching staff with the Hurricanes. Rempel is no stranger when it comes to working his way into an opportunity, so one can rest assured that he’ll be ready at a moment’s notice for the Hurricanes as they embark on yet another run towards the ACAA Championship.
If Rempel were to write an autobiography on his career, the title would be rather simple.
Time and time again, Rempel has been faced with an unexpected detour in his collegiate basketball career. He worked his way into a starting role at GPRC after a redshirt year, only to be met with a pair of injuries which cost him eight months.
From there, he worked his way back into a starting role at GPRC before transferring to finish his degree on the other side of the country. Once at UPEI, another detour met him head-on, but he was able to turn that into a positive when he committed to Holland College.
Rempel’s resolve and ability to overcome challenges should serve as inspiration to anyone who thinks they can’t overcome something. Admittedly, Rempel was close to quitting altogether, but he chose to keep pushing, and he’s in a better place because of his drive to be successful.
It would have been easy for Rempel to give up on basketball. After two injuries in the same season, both on the same leg, nobody would have questioned Rempel if he opted to quit.
That was the easy way out, and that’s the way most people tend to take.
Sometimes, you need to take the road less traveled to get where you want to be.
Willingly or not, Logan Rempel’s career took him on the road less traveled. Sometimes, that’s the route you need to take in order to get where you’re destined to be.
– T. Bennett