Reeling in a Rebel
There will be many across the hockey world who question Kamloops Blazer GM Craig Bonner’s decision to acquire Charles Inglis from the Red Deer Rebels.
“He’s had some situations in the past,” said Bonner, who sent a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft to Red Deer in exchange for Inglis on Monday, Nov. 19.
“That’s no secret.”
Inglis left both the Saskatoon Blades and Prince George Cougars on less-than-amicable terms, with many believing the now 20-year-old forward is disruptive in the dressing room.
When Rebels’ owner and GM Brent Sutter fired Jesse Wallin last week and took over his post behind the Red Deer bench, he also sent Inglis home to Saskatoon to await a trade.
Bonner said he has done enough research to feel comfortable acquiring Inglis, whose on-ice ability is not in question.
“In talking to Jesse Wallin, he said he would have [Inglis] on his team any time,” Bonner said.
“If he plays the way we think he can and he’s the person we’ve been told he was in Red Deer, we’ll have no problems.”
Inglis had racked up 11 goals and 14 points in 21 games this season with the Rebels before he was sent packing to Saskatoon.
“In Red Deer, there were no issues, as far as discipline goes,” Bonner said.
So, why would Sutter trade him away?
One source told KTW his style of leadership might have been too gruff in Red Deer, where the Rebels are working from the ground up with an inexperienced lineup.
Sutter himself decided to let fans read between the lines in an interview with the Edmonton Journal.
“He was our leading scorer and I sent him home. I think that says enough,” Sutter said.
Inglis plays with an edge and has occasionally gone too far.
He was suspended for 10 games during his stint with the Cougars for an elbowing incident that left Victoria Royals’ forward Tyler Stahl in a heap on the ice in October of 2011.
Inglis was sent back to Saskatoon later that year after disobeying team rules following a Cougars-Blazers game in Kamloops.
KTW caught up with Inglis on Monday afternoon.
He was saying all the right things and sounded genuinely excited about the trade.
“It’s a first-class organization and they’ve got a first-class team there,” said Inglis, who has amassed 92 goals and 172 points in 279 regular-season WHL games.
“I’m glad I can be a part of it.”
Inglis is well aware of his reputation.
“There’s not too much I can say about it,” he said.
“I think my actions speak louder than words and I proved that in Red Deer.
“I tried to take on that role in the community and take on the role as a team player and a leader on the team.
“I know I’m going to bring that to Kamloops and there won’t be any worries when it comes to that situation.”
Bonner said the Blazers were in need of secondary scoring to take some of the attention away from the explosive line of Colin Smith between JC Lipon and Tim Bozon.
“I really thought we were in need of a top-six forward,” the Blazers’ GM said.
“Ideally, someone to play with [Brendan] Ranford.”
Inglis and Ranford played summer hockey together in Alberta and have kept in touch over the years.
“He makes a lot of plays and he creates a lot of room out there,” Inglis said of Ranford.
“I see myself as a gritty forward. I battle real hard and I’m a guy that can put the puck in the net.
“I like to finish my checks, too, and make my presence felt.”
Inglis will be looking to make an immediate impact on Wednesday, Nov. 21, when the Regina Pats come to Interior Savings Centre.
Puck-drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“I’ve played in that rink a lot and had some success with the Cougars,” Inglis said.
“I really look forward to getting on the other side of things and sticking it back to them, too.”