The Red Deer Rebels hired Mike Egener as their new assistant coach. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Rebels)

Rebels name new assistant coach, open WHL season on Oct. 1

Rebels will play home opener on Oct. 2

The Red Deer Rebels have found a new assistant coach.

Thursday, the team announced that Mike Egener will join new head coach Steve Konowalchuk’s coaching staff.

Egener, brother of former Rebels blueliner Luke Egener, was a second-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2003 and played four years in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen.

The 36-year-old had a six-year North American pro-career split between the AHL and the ECHL. He finished his pro career in 2015 after three years with the Coventry Blaze of the EIHL in the United Kingdom.

In 2017, Egener joined the Okanagan Hockey Academy as their U15 head coach and was most recently coach of the U15 AAA OHA team in Penticton.

“We had some awesome candidates. At the end of the day, it just came down to what Steve was most comfortable with and what we felt would be a good fit,” said Rebels owner, president and GM Brent Sutter.

“A guy that played the game, was a very team-oriented guy. He’s one of those guys that has been coaching at the academy in Penticton… he’s been doing that for the last five years. All and all, just with his personality and the type of person he is, it seemed to be the right fit.”

Egener will team up with Konowalchuk, assistant Coach Ryan Colville, and skills coach Erik Lodge behind the bench for the Rebels in the 2021-22 WHL season.

Red Deer will open the new campaign on Oct. 1 in Edmonton against the Oil Kings and will host Edmonton the following night for their home opener. As of now, the WHL plans to have fans in the stands at the start of the season.

“We’re hoping that’s going to be the case. That’s certainly our goal. It would be nice to get back to some normalcy,” Sutter said.

“It’s huge for your players, huge for everybody – fans, the organization. It’s huge for our game, for the sport in general. I think we’re like anybody in society, everybody wants to get on with our lives and get moving forward again. Hopefully, by the fall, we’ll be right there.”

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