After practice yesterday, Calgary Hitmen captain Ryan Getzlaf was growling, wondering where the kid was.
Forgive Chris Ickert because he was sought by the local media after the Hitmen called up the 16-year-old defenceman two days ago.
Yesterday was his first workout with Calgary and he got to Frank McCool Arena in style, hitching a ride with Getzlaf, who made the newcomer feel right at home.
Ickert said he was surprised by the captain.
"He's hilarious. He's way more laid back at practice than he is in the games," he said.
"That's what makes it fun to be around these guys."
The 5-ft. 8-in., 155-lb. blueliner, a fourth-round bantam pick by Calgary last year, played this season with his hometown Abbotsford Pilots of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League.
The Hitmen brought him in just in case any more blueliners go down with injuries.
"I was sitting at home watching Brandon versus Calgary when, all of a sudden, Brad Whelan, their scout, calls and says, 'Do you want to come up?' At first I declined because I didn't know what would happen with school," said Ickert.
"Then he phoned back and said, 'We really want you to come up,' so I said all right."
Ickert won't dress tonight when the Hitmen take on the Brandon Wheat Kings (Saddledome, 7 p.m.), with a chance to capture the Eastern Conference semifinal.
But co-coach Dean Evason insists Ickert can play, despite his modest size.
"You can look at his size but everywhere he's gone, he's been a heck of a player," said Evason.
"He's plays a lot bigger than his stature."