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Kai Uchacz joins an elite club of Rebels greats

Joins the list of Rebels’ all-time goal scorers
Red Deer Rebels forward Kai Uchacz celebrates after sniping a goal in Western Hockey League action. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Captain Kai Uchacz has etched his name among some of the greatest players to wear the Red Deer Rebels jersey.

On Monday in his third season in the organization, the 20-year-old forward scored a hat trick to become the fifth player in franchise history to score 100 goals with the team.

With 102 goals Uchacz is just one goal away from tying Brandon Hagel for fourth most all-time.

Arron Asham leads the way with 131 goals followed by Justin Mapletoft with 115 and B.J. Young with 112.

“It’s pretty cool to see some of those names and see some of the history that’s come through the Rebels and some of the guys who’ve had success in that category,” Uchacz said on Wednesday.

“It’s an honour to have my name up there on that list. It’s pretty special.”

Uchacz is fresh off a 50-goal campaign in the 2022-23 season after only scoring 14 in his first season in Red Deer. However, with only 12 games to go this season, he’s well on his way to duplicating last year with 38 goals so far.

If he does reach 50 once again he’ll jump to third all-time on the Rebels scoring list with 114 goals, just short of Mapletoft.

“It would be pretty cool to end up that high. For me, I’m just really trying to focus on my overall game… I’m just going to enjoy the last month and a bit here of my 20-year-old season, keep working hard, and see where I can go with it,” he said.

“I hit the 50 mark last year so it’s something I’m going to push for again… It’s in the back of my mind. I’ve had a couple of friends message me about it. If I can hit it, great. If not, it is what it is.”

When Uchacz joined the Rebels before the 2021-22 season, after he was traded from the Seattle Thunderbirds, he never thought he’d be in this position.

He came in as an 18-year-old who had to earn his way into the lineup. After pushing himself he felt he’s become a better all-round player who also gets his teammates involved.

Now, he’ll leave the Rebels at season end as one of the best scorers to come through the program.

“It’s pretty cool to see and I can’t thank the whole Rebels organization for everything they’ve done for me. How they’ve developed me as a person and as a player,” he added.

“I can’t thank everyone involved in this organization enough and all my teammates in the past too.”

At this point, he’s not sure what the future holds for him but with free agency set to open in the National Hockey League soon, he hopes to get a call or two.

However, his number one priority is helping the Rebels climb up the standings before playoffs. On Monday they snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 7-3 blowout victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

They’re tied with the Swift Current Broncos for fourth in the Eastern Conference and trail the Medicine Hat Tigers by six points for the lead in the central division.

The Rebels will host the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday before hitting the road to Saskatchewan for a couple of games against the Saskatoon Blades next Tuesday and the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday.

If the Rebels can return to form like they displayed in January during their nine-game winning streak, they’ll head into the playoffs full of confidence.

“I’m just focused on performing each night, getting better each day in practice, and where my mind is at is pushing this team into the playoffs. Seeing where we can go as a team in the playoffs and try to go on a run.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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