The only baggage Charles Inglis brought to Red Deer was his luggage.
That’s the way Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin looked at last week’s acquisition of Inglis, who was in Saskatoon awaiting a trade after being sent home by the Prince George Cougars in early December.
The skilled and sturdy centre was dealt from the Saskatoon Blades to the Cougars just prior to the start of last season and went on to score 32 goals and collect 60 points in 69 games with the his new club.
Inglis had nine goals and 16 points in 16 outings with the Cougars this season but also served a 10-game suspension for a checking-to-the-head match penalty.
The Cougars also claimed that Inglis had broken team rules, but the six-foot, 185-pound forward said Thursday that the team never did him any favours.
“Prince George is not a great place to play,” said Inglis.
“I wasn’t treated very well there and I know other guys aren’t treated very well there considering the amount of traveling they do and how far away they are from everybody. This is a very, very professional organization compared to there and it’s the kind of atmosphere I want to be in.”
With his obvious skill set and tenacious style of play, the Winnipeg native remained a player of interest to several teams and when Wallin offered third-year forward Daulton Siwak and a third-round bantam draft pick to the Cougars, Inglis was a Rebel.
“He’s a very high-end player. He’s a proven point-per-game guy in the league and a top-line player,” said Wallin.
“Not only that, but he brings an element of grit and toughness.
“He’s a real presence who certainly gets the attention of his opponents. He brings a lot to the table for us.”
With the loss of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the Edmonton Oilers, the Rebels were badly in need of a front-line centre with a scoring touch.
“We don’t expect him to replace Hoppy but he (Inglis) can help fill that hole and we think he’s going to be a real good player for us,” said Wallin.
“As far as his history is concerned, that’s all water under the bridge. It’s a fresh start for him.
“This (trade) had been in the making for some time and we had the opportunity to do some homework on him.
“There’s a very good person in there, he just needs to stay on track.
“One thing about him, he’s very competitive, he works extremely hard and he wants to be a hockey player. So he knows this is kind of a last crack for him. I got to know him over the course of this past week and I’m very confident in him as a player and a human being as well. I think he’s going to fit in real well here.”
Inglis was heading out the door to his place of employment Dec. 29 when he received the call from Wallin informing him of the trade.
“That was real exciting. I started packing my stuff, caught a flight at 4:30 in the afternoon and was here to play my first game for the Rebels that night,” he said.
“It was a real exciting day. I was a little bagged out there the first game but I hadn’t been on the ice for a month.”
Inglis, who will be seeking his first point with his new club when the Rebels host the Swift Current Broncos tonight, is genuinely excited about the prospect of re-igniting his WHL career in Red Deer.
“It’s great to come to a team that’s going to push for the playoffs. Everyone wants to win and go far in the playoffs and It was good to come here because we have the team to do that,” he said.
“This team was 14-4 before all the injuries hit and now with everyone back we should be able to give a real good push.”
He may be somewhat of a marked man with WHL referees, but Inglis will continue to play his aggressive style with one eye on the opposition net.
“I just have to come out and do what I do best,” he said. “Jesse seems to think that (style) will fit in here and I’m real excited to be a part of this organization.”