Lenny Hackman hasn’t played a WHL game since Dec. 16 when he was member of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Wednesday night, with a call from Kootenay Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth, Hackman had a fresh start to look forward to across the Alberta-B.C. border in Cranbrook.
“It’s definitely a big change,” Hackman said prior to practice at Western Financial Place Thursday afternoon. “I’ve been home there for the last couple of weeks and I was hoping for something to happen. Once I heard I had been traded to Kootenay, I was really excited.
“I got my bags all packed up and made my way here [Thursday] morning.”
The trade between the Ice and Hurricanes was finalized Thursday morning, with Kootenay sending Lethbridge a 12th-round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft in exchange for Hackman.
The native of Airdrie, Alta., joins the Ice and brings 175 games of WHL experience along with him. The 5-foot-9 defenceman isn’t expected to be a flashy power-play quarterback or offensive catalyst, but as the second-oldest blueliner on the roster behind recent addition Tanner Lishchynsky, he stands to play an important role.
“He’s a 19-year-old and he’s got experience in the league. He’s not a flashy player,” said Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill Thursday afternoon. “Hopefully he has a calming influence on our three young guys in [Cale] Fleury, [Bryan] Allbee and [Dylan] Overdyk. Hopefully he can help those guys.
“I don’t think we have to worry about him not having played since Dec. 16. He’s 19 years old, he’s a mature kid. He should be able to handle this league no problem.”
According to McGill, Hackman is expected to suit up when the Kootenay Ice welcome the Red Deer Rebels to Western Financial Place Friday night at 7 p.m. He will wear sweater #28.
While Lishchynsky turned 20 on Jan. 5, Kootenay’s newest rearguard will have his 20-year milestone birthday Jan. 30.
The 185-pound defenceman has 21 points to his credit over his 175-game WHL career, which began with the 2012-13 season in Lethbridge. The Hurricanes drafted Hackman with a ninth-round selection (179th overall) at the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.
“I’ve been a younger guy in the league and obviously looked up to the older guys,” Hackman said. “With me being an older guy here, I’ve got to play like a leader every day, whether that’s on the ice or off the ice, in practice or games.
“I’ll definitely be vocal and try to teach as much as I can to the younger guys out there.”
The Ice are carrying nine defencemen on the active roster, though Tanner Faith is scheduled to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.
“Our goal heading into the WHL Trade Deadline was to add depth to our defence corps and we are happy to add a player with Lenny Hackman’s experience and work ethic to our lineup,” Chynoweth said in a team press release. “He is an excellent skater who we are anticipating will play some key minutes on our blue line.”
The WHL trade deadline rolls in at 12 p.m. (MT) on Saturday, Jan. 10.