Red Deer Rebels long-time equipment manager Dave “Radar” Horning celebrated his 2000th game behind a WHL bench Tuesday at the Centrium. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)

Red Deer Rebels long-time equipment manager Dave “Radar” Horning celebrated his 2000th game behind a WHL bench Tuesday at the Centrium. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)

Red Deer Rebels equipment manager Dave ‘Radar’ Horning celebrates 2000 WHL games

Horning has been working in the WHL since 1991, started with the Rebels in 1995

Dave “Radar” Horning is a man who operates in the shadows and he prefers it that way.

The Red Deer Rebels long-time equipment manager celebrated his 2000th WHL game behind the bench Tuesday at the Centrium and with his family in attendance, was honoured at a first-period stoppage in play.

Horning took his moment in the spotlight, although he would have prefered none at all. He gave the Centrium crowd a gracious nod and a quick wave before he quietly went back to taking care of the players– something he’s done for so many years.

“I was just glad that it happened the way it did and not a big ceremony at centre ice. I’m more of a behind the scenes guy and want to stay that way,” said the man affectionately known around the rink as Radar, even if few know the reason behind it.

Horning will talk your ear off with stories about players, the relationships he has made around the league or any of the wild encounters over the years, but will shy away from any attention for it.

He’s been coming to the rink in Red Deer since 1995 to do his job and that’s just how he likes it. When he started with the Prince Albert Raiders in 1991, Horning was the man of many talents, sharpening skates, curving wooden sticks with hot water and treating injuries as an athletic therapist. It was only in the last few years the two jobs had been separated.

Born and raised in Innisfail, after he gave up the hockey dream as a goalie, he went to the University of Alberta and got a degree in physical education and specialized in athletic therapy.

“Loved playing the sport. I was a goaltender. Played all my minor hockey there. Tried pursing the junior thing myself. Pretty sure size and stature had a little bit to do with not being successful as I wanted to be at the time,” he said.

“Wanting to stay in the sport somehow, got a degree in physical education. Majored in athletic injuries. Back in the day, most teams only had one guy.”

In many ways, Horning has used that passion for the game and taken it over and above the call of duty.

Long-time play-by-play man Cam Moon, who has been the voice of the Rebels for nearly two decades said beyond longevity, Horning has always been one of the good guys in the game.

On top of running an extremely tight ship when it comes to jerseys, skates, sticks, water bottles and many other behind the scene hockey ventures, Horning also takes time to formulate good relationships with the players, past and present.

“He really loves the job. Real pro. Just the guy that takes care of all the little details. Nothing gets missed,” Moon said.

“Players like him and that’s important. In that job, you have to have a good rapport with players and good rapport with the coaches. Good rapport with the other staff from other teams and Radar has a great rapport with all of them. That’s important to make everything work smoothly.”

Brandon Hagel, second on the Rebels all-time franchise scoring list and veteran of 258 games in Red Deer, said Radar has helped him in so many ways over the years.

“The guy is an absolute legend in the league. Nothing but good to all of us. We get along pretty well and I think that’s a huge part of a hockey team,” Hagel said.

“You can talk to the guy about absolutely anything… he’s always there for you and supporting you no matter what.”

Another spot where his longevity will be measured is Sunday when the Kootenay ICE close up shop in Cranbrook. Horning was there for the first ICE game in franchise history and will also be there for the last.

“It will be something to see. I haven’t seen a franchise at its end. It will be interesting to see,” Radar said.

Horning isn’t exactly sure how many more games he’ll be behind the bench for after the most recent milestone but he still loves coming to the rink every day.

“Being in an environment that I grew up being involved in and still being able to be involved to this day is a pleasure,” he said.

With the big game behind him, Radar can now go back to the place he enjoys most, flying under the radar.



Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer County approves 6.5 per cent pay increase for future council

Increase will not take effect until after Oct. 18 elections

The Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, with head-office in Lacombe, was ranked among Canada’s 100 Top Employers. (Black Press file photo).
Lacombe’s AFSC is among Canada’s Top 100 workplaces

Generous employee programs were recognized

A statement from Education Minister Adriana Lagrange’s office said the government approved online learning for some schools in Alberta out of an abundance of caution. (Advocate file photo).
Alberta Federation of Labour calls school outbreaks alarming

‘This virus can spiral out of control very quickly’

(Pixabay photo)
Bentley Minor Hockey holds ‘Let Them Play’ rally

Bobby McKinlay has had enough. The president of Bentley Minor Hockey is… Continue reading

Alert logo
Red Deer man arrested for child luring

A Red Deer man was arrested on Jan. 21 for an alleged… Continue reading

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka RCMP receives new police puppy trainee

Detachment says goodbye to ‘Maja’ and welcomes ‘Neutron’

Conservative MP Tracy Gray rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The Opposition Conservatives are urging the federal government to push back on President Joe Biden’s protectionist Buy American plan.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Opposition urges Liberal government to push back against Biden’s Buy American plan

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — The Opposition Conservatives are urging the federal government… Continue reading

Quebec Crown prosecutor Francois Godin speaks to reporters outside a courtroom, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec City Halloween night stabbing suspect returns to court for brief hearing

QUEBEC — The 24-year-old man accused in the Quebec City Halloween night… Continue reading

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen addresses European lawmakers during the presentation of the program of activities of the Portuguese Presidency on a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Francisco Seco, Pool
Canada’s vaccine deliveries further threatened as Europe mulls export controls

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he remains confident in Canada’s… Continue reading

Conservative MP Tracy Gray rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The Opposition Conservatives are urging the federal government to push back on President Joe Biden’s protectionist Buy American plan.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
If Canada can survive four years of Trump, it can navigate the new Buy American: PM

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says after the last… Continue reading

Nova Scotia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Mistaken identity: Porn allegation dropped against Nova Scotia doctor after mix-up

HALIFAX — In a bizarre case of mistaken identity, Halifax police blamed… Continue reading

Art Kempf, originally from the Stettler area but now living in Lacombe, is pictured here with his late wife Lillian. Art’s 100th birthday is coming up on Feb. 22nd.
photo submitted
Former Stettler area resident Art Kempf will be celebrating a very special day next month

Kempf, now a Lacombe resident, marks his 100th birthday on Feb. 22nd

Most Read