A pair of now-former Red Deer Rebels made their pro hockey debuts on the weekend.
With the Rebels WHL season coming to a close last week, Brandon Hagel, 20, and Reese Johnson, 20, got a chance to suit up for the Chicago Blackhawks AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.
The IceHogs are in the midst of a playoff run and have wins in 12 of their last 16 games. Hagel and Johnson each played their first career AHL game on Saturday night in Illinois.
In the 4-1 win over division rival Grand Rapids Saturday, Hagel, who wore number 42, had four shots and Johnson played centre alongside him on the fourth line. Johnson, sporting number 19, was a minus one in the win and took a slashing penalty in the second period.
Sunday, in a 5-2 loss against the Chicago Wolves, Hagel and Johnson each had a shot and were on for a goal against.
Mr. 102 WHL points this season 🤩 pic.twitter.com/HC2dAZQVFb
— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) March 30, 2019
— Todd Reicher (@ReicherStudios) March 30, 2019
Hagel, originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the sixth round, 159th overall of the 2016 NHL Draft, went unsigned by Buffalo. He re-entered the NHL Draft this summer but was not selected. After torching the WHL to start the year, he signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Blackhawks in late October.
Johnson, after a career season with 27 goals and 26 assists, also signed a pro-deal with the Blackhawks on March 6.
Combined, Johnson and Hagel played 446 games with Red Deer. Hagel is the Rebels all-time franchise assists leader with 176 and second in career points with 279.