Arshdeep Bains hasn’t skipped a beat since he joined the Red Deer Rebels.
There is also little surprise around the club that the 16-year-old has fit right in and contributed immediately.
After torching the BC Major Midget Hockey League for 56 points in 22 games with the Valley West Hawks, Bains joined the Rebels on Dec. 15 and has three points in six contests.
“A player that has the hockey sense that he has and skills like those– he’s smart and a competitor. You don’t worry about that too much,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.
“You have to have fire, you have to have emotion and a high level of compete and passion. He has all those things and the skill to go with it as a hockey player.”
The Surrey, B.C. native’s high hockey IQ led to an assignment on the Rebels top unit for most of his games with the club and he’s fit in naturally with 20-year-old forwards Grayson Pawlenchuk and Mason McCarty.
McCarty, who leads the Rebels in goals said Bains has fit with the two veterans because of his ability to read the game better than most his age.
“He’s a good young player and he’ll only get better. He’s got lots of talent and skill,” McCarty said. “He’s a smart kid, he’s figuring it out and he learns pretty fast.”
Sutter added another strong sign from the young player was the way he played in the final frame against Moose Jaw. When the game was getting away from the Rebels and they were hemmed in their own zone, it was Bains who tried to shoulder the load and break the Warriors containment.
“He was good in the third. He was upset with the situation we were in and the way we were playing and took it upon himself to make a difference. That was great to see from a 16-year-old player,” he said.
“He’s got an opportunity to play with two pretty good 20-year-olds and he’s handled himself very well.”
Bains scored his first WHL goal and added an assist last week in just his fifth game with the Rebels against the Medicine Hat Tigers last week. The rookie said he’s just embracing the opportunity and trying to learn as much as he can.
“I’ve been getting a lot of opportunities and it’s been really fun. Intensity is a lot higher, just learning to adjust right now,” he said.
Sutter added that the plan isn’t quite clear for the six-foot, 174-pound winger, but knows having him develop alongside a strong core of 16 and 17-year-old players is a good idea for now.
“They’re learning altogether. We have 12, 16 and 17-year-olds on our team,” Sutter said.
“They’re all going through this together. They’re going to go through some pain and some gain together. That’ll make them better players down the road.”
Originally listed by the Rebels after being passed over in the WHL Bantam Draft, Bains isn’t sure where he fits into the long-term plans. He does know he’ll work hard to make the most of the chance he’s given this season.
“Just knowing there’s always something you can do better. Never be satisfied. Working hard off the ice and always thinking about hockey,” Bains said.
The Rebels are on the road this weekend for three games in three nights, then off to Lethbridge on Jan. 10 before returning home on Jan 12 against the Hurricanes.