Cam Hausinger isn’t the player he once was.
As time ticked on, the newest Red Deer Rebel formed a different identity in the WHL.
In his first stint with the Rebels back in 2016-17, the-five-foot-10, 187-pound winger was simply another cog in the wheel.
As an energetic but not quite confident 17-year-old, he was acquired as a spare part, in exchange for a pair of late-round bantam draft picks.
He was primarily used in a checking role, lower down the lineup back in those days. He scored seven goals, added five assists and added 56 penalty minutes in 41 games.
Dealt to Kootenay in the summer of 2017, Hausinger returns to Red Deer as a massive get, for a first-place team. Along with Brett Davis, Hausinger is expected to produce in the Rebels top two forward lines.
“Confidence has really built up and it’s a big plus in my game. I know my abilities now and what I can do. Just take it how it is and play some good hockey here,” said the now 19-year-old Hausinger.
When he originally found out about the trade, Hausinger said he was surprised by the move. Now, he’s just happy to be playing for a first-place, playoff-bound club.
“I was a little shocked to be honest, come back around and hear I was coming back to Red Deer. Once it all settled in, I was excited and relieved that I was coming back to a team that’s competitive and wants to win games,” Hausinger said.
Last season, the Anchorage, Alaska native collected 21 goals and added 22 assists for the Ice and in 27 games this year, he had eight goals and added seven assists.
Hausinger blossomed into a legit scoring threat in Kootenay and was relied upon as a leader with the Ice. In his second go-round with the Rebels, he hopes both those qualities will shine.
“Same energy, the same mentality that I was playing with Kootenay,” he said.
“At the same time, I bring that offensive aspect this year and to help out and win games. Bring energy towards the bench and arena, is what my role is really.”
That leadership he hopes to bring this time around was something Hausinger learned from the likes of Adam Musil, Michael Spacek and Evan Polei is his time here back in 2016-17.
He thinks the 2018-19 version of the Rebels play a similar style to that group and he’s excited to be part of it.
“When I look at the team, I think we’re built the same,” he said.
“We’re going to be a good team if we buy into the system and play with some competitiveness and a lot of heart, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
It is still unclear when Hausinger will return to the lineup, after suffering a lower-body injury in a loss to the Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 24. He’s currently listed as day-to-day and could return to the lineup as soon as this weekend.
Red Deer will host the Regina Pats Friday before welcoming the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday.