Former Red Deer Rebels forward Brandon Hagel will play in the Stanley Cup Final against another former Rebel Darcy Kuemper. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Former Red Deer Rebels forward Brandon Hagel will play in the Stanley Cup Final against another former Rebel Darcy Kuemper. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer Rebels alumni Hagel and Kuemper meet in Stanley Cup Final

Head-to-head matchup between two of the Rebels best

No matter the result of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay lightning, a member of the Red Deer Rebels alumni will be hoisting the Stanley Cup.

In Colorado, goaltender Darcy Kuemper will attempt to stop the high-flying offence of the Lightning, and on the other side forward Brandon Hagel will look to contribute as the Lightning look for their third straight Stanley Cup.

Hagel was traded to the Lightning midway through this season after 55 games from the Chicago Blackhawks. He was having a stellar season scoring 21 goals and 27 points before being traded. Since arriving in Tampa Bay he has taken a different role in an already stacked lineup. In Chicago, he was a primary goal scorer but in Tampa Bay, his line has been tasked with limiting some of the league’s elite players. In the Stanley Cup Final, his line will most likely be out against one of the NHL’s best players Nathan MacKinnon. This season Hagel has fired home four goals and three assists in the regular season and in the playoffs he’s contributed two goals and three assists.

During his days with the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League, he played four seasons with central Alberta’s team with his best statistical season being his last with the club. The Saskatoon native began his career with the Rebels in the 2015-16 season scoring 13 goals, and 34 assists for 47 points. In his final season, he had an offensive explosion firing in 41 goals and 61 assists for 102 points.

Kuemper has been a solid presence in net for the Avalanche this season posting a 2.54 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. In 10 playoff games his numbers have been similar standing tall with a 2.65 GAA and a .897 save percentage.

Kuemper’s NHL career has been a long journey first being drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2009 not playing his first NHL game until the 2012-13 season. He would play there until joining the Los Angeles Kings for a single season in 2017-18 before playing for the Arizona Coyotes the next season. He would play in the desert for five years before finding his new home in Colorado.

During his time with the Rebels, he secured himself as one of the best in franchise history. He played his first season for the Red Deer Rebels in 2008-09 sporting a 2.96 GAA and a .898 save percentage in 55 games. Kuemper played his final season in Red Deer during the 2010-11 season playing 62 games with an impressive 1.86 GAA and a .933 save percentage en route to a WHL Central Division title.

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