Brown showing well-rounded game as he battles for an overage spot with Rebels
The first trade was somewhat jarring for Tanner Brown.
The second transition, not so much.
The Kelowna native was dealt from the Vancouver Giants to the Winnipeg Ice at the WHL trade deadline in January, then was moved to the Red Deer Rebels in July.
“Yeah, it was difficult,” he said of the first transaction. “I’d played my full career there and I’d known those guys for a long time.
“It was tough to say goodbye but luckily for me I knew a couple of guys over there in Winnipeg. That made the transition pretty easy.”
The opportunity to join a contender also made the move less bumpy.
“They were a top notch team, it was super fun to play there,” said Brown.
Looking for more experience and reliability on the back end, Rebels general manager Brent Sutter acquired the smooth skating Brown from the Ice — as well as a seventh-round pick in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft — in return for forward Josh Medernach and a third-round pick next year.
“He’s a good player, someone who the coaches can play in a lot of different situations,” Sutter said at the time. “We’re happy to add him to our back end.
“He’s just a real steady guy, a very reliable, dependable player. He finishes checks and is a good skater who moves the puck well. We’re certainly happy with the trade.”
As was Brown.
“I kind of had an idea (he might be dealt from the ice). They had their core there and I was there for the playoff push,” he said.
“I didn’t know for sure, but once I heard and got the news from the Rebels I was super excited. It’s an awesome organization and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Brown, who played six and eight games, respectively, with the Giants as a 15- and 16-year-old before joining the team full time for the 2019-20 season, has scored 10 goals and collected 47 points in 175 WHL games.
More importantly, he brings plenty of on-ice savvy.
“I have a lot of experience, I’ve been in the league for a long time so I understand the lay of the law,” said the 175-pound rearguard who stands just a shade under six feet.
“I try to lead by example, try and tally offensively and showcase myself on the back end as well. I love to move the puck and join the rush, try to make the best of both worlds.”
Brown hasn’t been a total stranger to the other players in main camp.
“I knew a couple of guys coming in and obviously I’ve played against some of the guys quite a bit,” he said. “I’ve known Kinger (Vernon native Ben King) forever, since I was quite young, same with Jace (Coldstream, BC product Weir). I kind of knew Weirsy through friends back home in Kelowna, so it’s been a pretty easy transition here as well. It’s a really great group.”
Brown turns 20 in October so he’s about to embark on his final WHL season. He’s one of five 20s in camp and will have to prove he’s worthy of gaining one of three allowed overage spots with the Rebels.
“I just have to play my game,” he said. “I’m here for a reason and I have to prove why I can be here and I’m working on doing that.”
Brown and Team Black fell 3-1 to Team White in Monday’s main camp scrimmage.
Hunter Mayo, Carter Anderson and Bryson Aikens tallied for the winners. Escalus Burlock notched the lone goal for Team Black.
Rookie camp wrapped up Monday and a handful of first year campers will go on to play in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Black and White intrasquad game at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
The Black and White participants will compete in a scrimmage Tuesday at 5 p.m.
The Rebels will take on the Calgary Hitmen in a pair of preseason games on the weekend — Friday at Calgary and Saturday at the Centrium.