Rebels winger Hausinger brings energy, work ethic to new team
When Cam Hausinger requested a change of scenery, the Saskatoon Blades responded with their own request.
“I talked about it (a potential trade) with them three weeks ago and they told me to hang on for a bit,” the newest member of the Red Deer Rebels said Tuesday.
The Blades’ message?
“‘Let’s test things out a little bit more and if you’re still unhappy, then we’ll be happy to find you a new home’,” said Hausinger. “I held tight for as long as possible and then finally got that chance to ask (for a trade). I asked and they agreed with it and sent me some place good.”
Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter acquired the 17-year-old winger last week, in the process giving up a seventh-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft and a fifth-round selection in 2018.
Hausinger was an instant hit with the Rebels, scoring twice and delivering a handful of heavy checks in a 9-2 win Friday over the visiting Kootenay Ice. It was an extra impressive debut, considering he flew from Saskatoon to Edmonton in the afternoon and didn’t arrive at the Centrium until roughly three hours before the opening faceoff.
“He’s a high-energy guy. You saw it the other night here how he hits people and gets the crowd going,” said Rebels associate coachJeff Truitt. “He’s an energy guy who has some sneaky offence to him, too.
“It was great to see him get a couple of goals the other night, but he’s the type of guy whose energy is infectious. He’s a hard worker and that’s great for the dressing room.”
Hausinger has been on the move since 2013, when he left his home in Anchorage, Alaska, to suit up with the Los Angeles Junior Kings bantam AAA squad. The Blades took notice when he excelled with the Kings and selected him in the seventh round of the 2014 bantam draft.
The following season, he followed in the footsteps of his older brothers Kenny and Christian and joined the Skipjacks under-16 team based in Maryland, scoring 22 goals and collecting 45 points in 24 games. The Chicago Steel were impressed to the extent that they picked Hausinger seventh overall in the 2015 United States Hockey League draft.
It was decision time for Hausinger, who attracted interest from U.S colleges and would have remained scholarship eligible by signing with the Steel.
“That was the big question last year, if I was going to come to the WHL,” he said. “Being drafted by the USHL was a big part of the (decision), but at the end of the day I talked to my parents, sat down with my agent and we decided that this (WHL route) was going to be the best possible opportunity for me.”
Hausinger, who keeps in regular touch with his parents via FaceTime, notched six goals and garnered 11 points as a WHL rookie last season. He had three assists in 20 games with the Blades this fall before being dealt to Red Deer.
While he wanted out of Saskatoon, the five-foot-10, 188-pound Hausinger insisted he harbours the utmost respect for the Blades.
“They treated me really well. I have nothing but great things to say about the organization,” he said. “It just ended up not working out.”
Hausinger will line up opposite his former teammates when the Blades visit the Centrium Wednesday.
“It will be exciting . . . nerve-racking to look across the bench and see all the guys I used to play with and go to war with,” he admitted. “But I’m happy to be here with the Rebels and have grown real close with the guys over the past few days.
“I love it here, with the guys and the coaches. They help me out a lot with on-ice and off-ice stuff. It’s been awesome so far and I know when I put that jersey on that it’s time to go to war.”
Truitt appreciates that approach.
“He plays a lot bigger than what he is,” said Truitt. “I remember him from playing Saskatoon last year. He was a physical guy who ran around and was a force out there.
“The goals he scored last Friday were a bonus and he produces those types of opportunities by just being the type of player that he is. He’s a by-product of hard work.”
° Rebels Scouting Report
Rebels vs. Saskatoon Blades; Wednesday, 7 p.m. Centrium
The Blades fell 8-2 to the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers in their most recent contest and enter Wednesday’s game with a 10-16-1-0 slate. Saskatoon sits fifth in the East Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference and is 3-7-0-0 in the last 10 games . . . Logan Flodell, 20, is 16th among WHL netminders with a 3.16 goals-against average, a respectable 9-8-0 win/loss record and a .911 save percentage. The Blades’ second stopper, Brock Hamm, owns a 5.16 GAA, .850 save percentage and 1-8-1 record . . . Currently injured RW Mason McCarty, a former Rebel, leads all Blades scorers with 23 points, including 14 goals. LW Braylon Shmyr is next with 11 goals and 16 points, while C Wyatt Sloboshan follows with 15 points (3-12). C Jesse Shynkaruk recently returned from a 13-game stay on the injury list and has recorded seven goals and 11 points in 14 games.
Injuries: Saskatoon — RW Mason McCarty (lower body, 6-8 weeks), D Jake Kustra (upper body, day-to-day), C Cameron Hebig (upper body, week-to-week), D Mark Rubinchik (lower body, day-to-day). Red Deer — RW Reese Johnson (upper body, indefinite), LW Grayson Pawlenchuk (lower body, week-to-week), G Tyson Verhelst (upper body, indefinite).
Special teams: Saskatoon — Power play 17.6 per cent, 17th overall; penalty kill 71.3 per cent, 22nd. Red Deer — Power play 19.8 per cent, 13th overall; penalty kill 75.8 per cent, 18th.