Cam Hausinger never envisioned a scenario in which he’d rejoin the Red Deer Rebels.
The Alaska native was acquired, along with fellow winger Brett Davis, from the Kootenay Ice last week and will make his season debut with the Rebels on Friday versus the visiting Regina Pats.
Hausinger played 41 games with the Rebels after coming over from the Saskatoon Blades during the 2016-17 Western Hockey League season, then was dealt to the Kootenay Ice the following June.
Now he’s back in a Rebels jersey due to a transaction he never saw coming, a deal, as it turned out, that might have landed him elsewhere but turned in the favour of Red Deer GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
“It was a little overwhelming, it kind of happened real fast,” Hausinger said on Thursday, looking back on last Friday’s trade. “Our GM (Matt Cockell) pulled us aside and said some teams were looking for us. I guess Brent (Rebels GM/head coach Sutter) made a call and secured the deal.
“After it sunk in a bit I was excited once I heard about it and heard I was coming with Brett, one of my good friends. It’s nice.
“I never thought I’d be coming back to the Rebels. I think it makes a good statement on Brent’s opinion of me. I think he does like me and he gave me that time to mature and grow as a player and a person. I’m back now and hopefully this round is a little better than the last one.”
Hausinger, who will celebrate his 20th birthday on Jan. 12th, scored seven goals and collected 12 points during his first stint with the Rebels.
Last season he emerged as somewhat of an offensive force with 21 goals and 43 points in 70 games with the Ice.
He credited his newfound scoring touch to being another year older and the fact he was granted a bigger role with Kootenay.
“It was good to be able to play good minutes and be able to get more comfortable with the puck, get more confidence on the ice . . . learn the game more, that’s the biggest thing.
“Learn when to go, learn when to stay back, always be a learner of the game. That helped a lot because it made me into a better player all around in both a skill game and a working game.”
One aspect of Hausinger’s game that has remained constant is his willingness to play a feisty, physical style and the five-foot-10, 187-pound forward is effective in that role.
“I’ll continue to be a guy who gets under people’s skin and creates some energy for the guys when they need it,” he said. “Just be that player who will be everywhere on the ice, just creating whatever I can during that moment.”
After a season and change with a team that missed the playoffs last spring and are likely headed for a similar fate this season, Hausinger is naturally pleased to be with a winning club.
“I see 22 guys here who are prepared to work every night, prepared to work every practice,” he said.
“The competitiveness and the work ethic here is at a high and I think we have a lot of good young talent, good talent both young and old.
“I think our 20-year-olds (forwards Brandon Hagel, Reese Johnson and Jeff de Wit) are probably the best in the league. They all bring something to table, something different.
“It’s different to see that from where I was playing.”
The Rebels will also host the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday and next week will conclude the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with Tuesday and Friday home-ice games against the Kamloops Blazers and Medicine Hat Tigers.
° Meanwhile, Rebels 2018 WHL bantam draft picks Jayden Grubbe and Kyle Masters have been named to the Team Alberta U16 men’s hockey team that will compete in the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
Grubbe, a six-foot-one, 181-pound forward and one of two first-round picks — seventh overall — by Red Deer last May, has scored two goals and collected 21 points in 20 games with his hometown midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes this season.
Masters was also drafted in the first round, 16th overall, and the five-foot-10, 140-pound defenceman has contributed two goals and 10 assists in 22 games with the OHA Edmonton Prep team, which is also at the midget AAA level.
Red Deer’s third- and fourth-round picks in the 2018 bantam draft, defenceman Trey Patterson of Calgary and forward Josh Medernach of Lloydminster, were on the short list for Team Alberta.
Dustin Moore of Red Deer will serve as the assistant director of hockey operations for the provincial squad, while former Red Deer Optimist Chiefs midget AAA bench boss Brandin Cote, now an assistant with the Swift Current Broncos, will be the associate coach.
Drew Sim of Tees, the second goaltender to be selected in the 2018 bantam draft — by the Vancouver Giants — was also named to the team.
Team Alberta will play a pair of exhibition games later this month at the Centrium. The Optimist Chiefs will provide the opposition Dec. 19 (7:30 p.m. start) and the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders will take on the provincial team Dec. 21 (2 p.m. start).
Both games are open to the public.
The Canada Winter Games will run from Feb. 15 to March 3, with the men’s hockey to be played Feb. 17-22.
° Former Rebels forward Riley Sheen is the WHL graduate of the month for November.
Sheen, a second-year arts student at the University of Calgary, leads the Dinos men’s team in scoring and is tied for first in Canada West scoring with 20 points that includes a league-best 12 goals.
Rebels vs. Regina Pats
Friday, 7 p.m., Centrium
The Pats have just one win in their last 10 games and with an 8-21-0-0 record are fifth in the East Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference . . . Friday’s game will be the first of four meetings between the Pats and Rebels this season. The clubs will also clash Jan. 12 in Regina, Feb. 8 at the Centrium and Feb. 27 in the Saskatchewan capital . . . Former Rebels RW Austin Pratt leads the Pats’ point parade with 11 goals and 14 assists in 29 games. He’s followed by the two players who came over in a recent blockbuster trade with the Lethbridge Hurricanes — C Jadon Joseph (11g, 10a in 27 games) and C Ty Kolle (8-6-14 in 25 games). The other Regina player in double figures for points is LW Sergei Alkhimov (5-5-10 in 25 games) . . . Pats starting G Max Paddock possesses a 6-15-0-0 record with a 3.95 goals-against average and an .879 save percentage. Crease mate Dean McNabb is 2-6-0-0 with a 5.02 GAA and .841 save percentage.
Injuries: Regina — C Koby Morrisseau (upper body, indefinite), LW Robbie Holmes (lower body, week-to-week), D Ryker Evans (lower body, 6-8 weeks). Red Deer — None.
Special teams: Regina — Power play 17.6 per cent, 17th overall; penalty kill 70.4 per cent, 19th. Red Deer — Power play 24.5 per cent, ninth overall; penalty kill 76.6 per cent, 15th.