The news that he’d been traded to the Red Deer Rebels didn’t bother Brad Haber as much as the weather that awaited him at Calgary International Airport.
“When I arrived (in Calgary) it was minus-35,” Haber, acquired by the Rebels Monday from the Seattle Thunderbirds, said Thursday. “Compared to the plus-five we get in Seattle, coming to minus-35 at the airport was pretty shocking.
“It’s a little different, at first. But I’ve been indoors mostly since I got here, so the only cold weather I’ve experienced is from the car door to the (Centrium) entrance, so that’s not bad.”
Haber was en route to Alberta just hours after T-Birds general manager Russ Farwell informed him of the trade.
“I was pretty excited when I first found out. Red Deer is a great hockey town and I’m excited to be here,” said the 19-year-old product of Aldergrove, B.C., who was in his third season with Seattle and appeared in his first game with the Rebels in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the visiting Regina Pats.
Haber, a defenceman by trade, was used up front against the Pats and with the Rebels’ cast of forwards dwindling due to injuries and commitments to international events, he’ll likely remain there until early January and perhaps beyond.
He’ll almost certainly be used as a forward when the Rebels wrap up the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with a home-and-home series with the Edmonton Oil Kings. The clubs meet tonight in the provincial capital and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Centrium.
“I’ve had some experience playing up front. I’ve mainly played defence the last couple of years, but I can play either/or, whatever the coach likes,” said Haber, who was acquired for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2010 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
The six-foot-two, 193-pound utility man was reasonably satisfied with his performance Tuesday.
“It was all right. It was a little nerve-wracking and I was a little rusty at first,” he said. “It went well for it being my first game here and hopefully I can pick it up for the weekend.”
Haber, who has three goals and three assists in 27 games this season, brings 97 games of WHL experience to his new team.
“Hopefully I can help some of the younger guys that way,” he said. “I’ll also be a physical player out there. a guy who stands up for the team.”
l Waste Management (WM) of Canada has teamed with program partners the WHL and the Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer and District, to send local youth to Rebels games through the month of December. For many, it will be their first opportunity to experience a live WHL game.
“It’s an event they’ll remember for a lifetime,” WM’s Cam Hantiuk, director of public affairs for Western Canada said in a press release. “Waste Management’s Tickets for Kids program is an opportunity for us to put a smile on the face of a child who deserves a break. In addition to the fun factor, being able to go to a WHL game sends a message to the child that they are indeed a valued part of the community, they are wanted and they belong.”