With few veterans remaining, Rebels forward Chris Douglas helps guide the ship

Chris Douglas still remembers his first game.

He put a visor on his helmet for the first time ever leading into it.

The nerves were high stepping on the ice for that induction into the WHL at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert.

“I came (to Red Deer), first time wearing a visor in the morning skate. We went right to Prince Albert. That rink, you’re getting in the trenches in Prince Albert,” recalled Douglas. “It’s a tough game, I remember I was terrified. I was nervous. I’ll never forget that first game.”

That seems like forever ago for the now 19-year-old winger, who is one of only a few on a Rebels club that is among the youngest teams in the WHL this season.

He remembers Brent Sutter taking a chance on him, bringing in an undrafted kid from Richmond, B.C. and not knowing what the future would hold.

Now 205 games into his WHL career, Douglas said Thursday that it’s flown by, that it still seems like just yesterday he was putting on the Rebels jersey for the first time.

“Just first coming here when I was 16, I’ll never forget the beginning. It was kind of a whirlwind for me coming here,” said Douglas, who was playing with the Greater Vancouver Canadians in B.C. in January of 2017 when he was called up.

“Brent pulled me out, I was just an undrafted player and he believed in me, so I’m always appreciative of him for doing everything he has for me.”

It was two weeks ago on home ice, when Douglas heard Rebels play by play man Cam Moon mention on the video board that it was his 200th game. Douglas didn’t even realize.

“It was kind of a shock when I heard Mooner over the PA system say I was at 200 games. I didn’t even know. It’s been a long time, it’s kinda crazy. It flies by in this league,” Douglas said.

“You always hear people say don’t let it fly by, enjoy it well it lasts. You’re like ‘oh yeah, I will’, but it really does. The older you get, the quicker it goes. Wouldn’t change a thing.”

This season has been an interesting one for the talented right winger. He’s found a level of consistency that hasn’t quite existed before this season, in part spending the majority of the year with Arshdeep Bains on the other wing. Douglas considers Bains a good friend and along with Ben King in the middle, the group has been one of the most productive lines for Red Deer this season.

“A lot of skill. They have three guys who move the puck well and obviously (Douglas) and (Bains) played together all year, they’ve really built some chemistry. Three B.C., kids,” said Rebels assistant coach Ryan Colville.

“There is a lot of chemistry there, when you put Kinger in there, he’s an incredibly smart player, he gives us some stability in the defensive zone. He’s good at getting pucks to Bains and Douglas. In the offensive zone, they get a lot done.”

Douglas has 27 points in 41 games, second on the club. His 0.66 points per game, if kept up, would also result in a career-high.

“More consistency this season. I think last year as an 18-year-old, you could see the progression,” said Colville.

“I think last year he started off well and had a bit of a dip. It ended a lot better. This year, he’s been good all the way through.”

Douglas, as one of the veterans on a Rebels club knows it might be a rocky road for the final 27 games this year. But as a guy who’s been through it all in four seasons, he’s hoping they can all just enjoy the ride.

“It’s mostly a focus thing. We really have to make sure that you treat every game in this league like you have to win, like it’s a playoff game or teams will crush you. It doesn’t matter, there’s no mercy,” he said.

“That really has to be the mindset, that’s something our kids are still learning. They’re doing a good job with it.”

The Rebels hit the road Friday in Lethbridge, then return home for the first time in two weeks Saturday night against the Prince Albert Raiders.



Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Rebels

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

Just Posted

Retired city manager Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the Molly Banister Drive right-of-way at Tuesday's public hearing. He warns of future gridlock if the extension is removed by city council. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Former Red Deer city manager warns killing the Molly Banister Drive extension is ‘a terrible mistake’

Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the road alignment at next week’s public hearing

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

A Red Deer County man was arrested for drug possession by Innisfail RCMP on April 19. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Property crime and drugs top Red Deer RCMP priorities in new plan

2020-2022 Policing Priorities Plan going to city council on Monday

RCMP estimate about 500 people gathered on the weekend near Garrington Bridge along the Red Deer River, in a July 28, 2020 story. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Second person charged for alleged assault at anti-racism rally in Red Deer

A second person is facing charges following an alleged assault during an… Continue reading

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees vice-president Bonnie Gustola criticized provincial government layoffs at a rally that drew more than 80 people at City Hall Park on Friday.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
More than 80 rally in Red Deer against government health, education cutbacks

Rally at City Hall Park organized by the Council for Canadians

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

kk
Don’t try to teach a turtle tricks

I got Smokey at Woolworths. Woolworths was an awesome department store downtown,… Continue reading

New voluntary measures, including the encouragement of more mask wearing, have been introduced in the Edmonton health zone. “Red Deer has been very fortunate to have relatively low case numbers . . . relative to the rest of the province and the country,” says Mayor Tara Veer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
POLL: Should Alberta have stricter rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Should Alberta have stricter rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?… Continue reading

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning in Game 3 of the baseball World Series Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Buehler leads Dodgers over Rays 6-2 for 2-1 Series lead

Buehler leads Dodgers over Rays 6-2 for 2-1 Series lead

Inter Miami defender Ben Sweat, left, and Montreal Impact attacker Maximiliano Urruti fight for the ball during their MLS soccer match, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Rested Montreal Impact looking to collect points with big finish to regular season

Rested Montreal Impact looking to collect points with big finish to regular season

Mariah Bell of the United States, competes during women's short program in the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Nathan Chen dominates again in Skate America short program

Nathan Chen dominates again in Skate America short program

Lanto Griffin putts on the ninth hole during the second round of the Zozo Championship golf tournament Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Thomas has a fast start for a 65 and a 1-shot lead at Zozo

Thomas has a fast start for a 65 and a 1-shot lead at Zozo

Mariah Bell of the United States, competes during women's short program in the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Bell, Tennell go 1-2 in Skate America short program

Bell, Tennell go 1-2 in Skate America short program

Most Read