For Cameron Hausinger, adjusting to life with the Red Deer Rebels has been going quite smoothly.
It’s been nearly three weeks since the feisty forward from Anchorage, Alaska joined the Rebels after requesting a trade away from the Saskatoon Blades last month, and, if his first few games are anything to go by, the 17-year-0ld forward is going to be a good fit with the Rebels’ offense.
“It’s fun. The guys are good. The team’s good, the coaches are good; the atmosphere. And, of course, my billet family. It’s awesome here,” said Hausinger, whom the Rebels acquired from the Blades in mid-November in exchange for a 7th round pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft and a 5th round pick in 2018.
At the time, he had posted just three assists in 20 games with the Blades this season, though he did find some scoring success while playing with the team as a 16-year-old last year, posting six goals and five assists in 58 games with the team.
Since joining the Rebels, though, Hausinger has been given some extra responsibility as part of a young Red Deer forward corps.
With Rebels captain Adam Musil and star forward Michael Spacek playing at the World Juniors with the Czech Republic until the New Year and key centreman Grayson Pawlenchuck now out for the season after undergoing surgery for an upper-body injury, the team will be in dire need of some of their younger forwards to step up and lead the team.
Just last week, Rebels Head Coach and GM Brent Sutter had Hausinger playing second line minutes, something that he hadn’t done much of while playing in Saskatoon.
The decision came on the heels of an impressive debut for Hausinger, who tallied two goals in his first game in a Rebels uniform against the Kootenay Ice.
“He’s going to bring us certain things. He’s a little pit bull. He’s going to play with tenacity and finish checks,” Sutter said after that game, which the Rebels won 9-2.
Sutter added that he wanted to get some offense from Hausinger, who has always played more of a checking role in the WHL.
But the high-energy player was ready for the challenge.
“It’s awesome to be able to get that opportunity to play second line minutes and to show that I can contribute to this team. This is an opportunity for me to broadcast myself to the coaches and to NHL scouts and to my teammates that when I go out on the ice, I’m trying to go out there and help out,” Hausinger said, adding that he thought the pit bull comparison is fairly apt.
“I can see it. I’m not the biggest guy but I can get really angry but I like to be feisty out there and I like to get under guys’ skin. I think that would be a good animal to compare me to.”
That tenacity and willingness to get into the corners and fight for the puck has paid off, as in 11 games with his new squad Hausinger has already scored three goals and posted three assists.
“It obviously feels good to be contributing towards the team and be able to help out in games. I feel really comfortable,” he said, noting that he aims to be the kind of player who sparks his team.
“I’m an energy guy. If we need something to get us going I’m there. If we need something to spark us or help us or cushion us. I want to be a guy that produces but also a guy that helps out in times where we may not be producing or we may be a little laggy getting off the bus.
“Just a guy that gets the team going.”