Logan Cunningham is a member of the Spokane Chiefs no longer.
The 18-year-old defenceman was dealt by the Chiefs to the Red Deer Rebels on Sept. 29. Going the other way is a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2023 Western Hockey League Prospects Draft.
“It’s always tough to have a veteran player move on, but we feel this will be a good opportunity for Logan in Red Deer,” said Matt Bardsley, Spokane’s general manager. “We appreciate all he has done for the Spokane Chiefs organization and we wish him all the best going forward.”
Cunningham, who was Spokane’s third-round pick in the 2019 draft, played 65 games over parts of three seasons with the Chiefs. He scored one goal and added seven assists over that time.
He said the move wasn’t a surprise.
“My agent told me that they were probably going to put me on the (waiver) wire, and the general manager said he was willing to move me,” he said. “They’ve brought in some new guys and they told me what my place was going to be (this season).”
He also said it wasn’t easy to leave a place he’s called home during the hockey season for the better part of the last three years.
“It’s tough to leave those guys behind,” he said. “You make those friendships and it’s hard to say goodbye. Spokane’s a great city, the fans are awesome, but this is the best decision for me and Red Deer is a great opportunity.”
The Rebels were one of the teams interested in Cunningham prior to the draft in 2019, and he said getting a change of scenery is going to do him a world of good.
“I’m looking at it as a chance to elevate my game,” he said. “(Red Deer) was interested in me. I talked with (Brent) Sutter (Red Deer’s general manager) and he wants to develop me. He knows what I need to do to make myself better, to get me to the next level, and I think they’re the right team to help me do that.”
Cunningham hasn’t played in a game yet with the Rebels — he said he’s still learning the systems before getting into the lineup.
But he’s excited to be able to play a little closer to home.
“I know my parents were pumped when the trade happened,” he said. “They’re excited that they’ll get to see me play a bit more often and see me more.”