Rebels forward Cam Hausinger set to take on leadership role

It is not hard to get Red Deer Rebels forward Cam Hausinger talking.

The 20-year-old Anchorage, Alaska native arrived back in Red Deer this week for Rebels Training Camp with a few tales to tell about his summer.

The well-known fishing enthusiast spent plenty of time on the water this summer, either working or relaxing, but almost always looking for that big catch.

For a few weeks, the hard-nosed forward even worked on a fishing boat in Sitka, an island that is about 16 hours by ferry from Juneau, Alaska.

“It’s a remote island in southeast Alaska. Did some fishing out there. Spread myself around. Got to see some new things and experience some new adventures, it was awesome,” he said.

“On a fishing boat, like 12, 13 hours a day. It was fun days. If you know me, you know that fishing is one of my biggest hobbies since I was young. With hockey, I haven’t been able to do it lots. Was able to commit to a job and do it that way.”

Hausinger, who spent part of the 2016-17 WHL season with the Rebels, figures to be a major piece up front this time around. He joined Red Deer last season in a November swap that also brought in Brett Davis. As a 20-year-old in his final WHL season, Hausinger has high hopes for the year.

“Be a leader. We’re going to have a lot of young guys. I think the biggest part is being able to lead and take them in the direction the organization wants them to go,” Hausginer said.

“Our standards as an organization and as a team, as the Rebels we’re held to a high standard about how we’re looked at around the league. I know Brent has told me what this culture is all about and I’m lucky enough to be back here for my second stint.”

The five-foot-10, 187-point gritty winger posted 13 goals, 24 assists in 40 games after he joined the Rebels. With the loss of Reece Johnson, Jeff de Wit and Brandon Hagel, Hausinger will need to carry a big balk of the scoring load this year.

“I want to be a guy who can (always) go on the ice and produce and give it 100 per cent every night,” he said.

On top of that, the veteran of 256 WHL regular-season games knows he’ll have to provide strong leadership for one of the youngest teams in the WHL.

Having played a season and a half with a young Kootenay Ice group, Hausinger knows the role of the elder statesman well.

He was even feeling his age a little bit during fitness testing on Saturday morning.

“I was impressed by some of the young guys and some of their fitness testing,” he said. “They definitely blew me out of the water and it was a humbling experience for me, awesome for me to see guys are so committed and put in the work this summer.”

While experience will play a part in how he helps the Rebels this season, Hausinger understands how important it is to be a Red Deer Rebel. He hopes to pass on that message to young players at camp and throughout the year. Regardless of youth, teams that Brent Sutter coaches have high expectations.

“I think last year we held back a little bit. We didn’t give our full effort. We knew we had the talent. I felt like at some points we weren’t giving our full effort and that hurt us towards the end of the year,” Hausinger said.

“We’re going to be young, that’s why our older guys have to show up and the young guys have to learn and adapt fast. Expectations for this year are obviously high. Every year when you put on that Rebels logo, you’re not looking to be in the middle of the pack.”

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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