The 30-year-old winger made an impact both on and off the ice in his first season with the Checkers. On the ice, Hagel was a physical force, ranking fourth in the AHL with 22 major penalties, all for fighting. His 154 penalty minutes led the team and are tied for the third highest single-season total in franchise history. He also chipped in four points (2g, 2a) while grinding out significant minutes for the team.
Off the ice, Hagel was an integral part of the Checkers’ efforts in the community, earning his fifth consecutive team Man of the Year award as well as winning the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as the AHL’s overall Man of the Year.
Hagel, who will be entering his eighth professional season, established himself as a strong leader on last year’s young squad, serving as an alternate captain most of the season. He was a key part of the veteran core that held the team together during a tough season, and that influence was something that his teammates certainly noticed and appreciated.
“He’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever had on a hockey team and a great role model,” said Trevor Carrick after Hagel was awarded his AHL Man of the Year Award in April. “He’s taught us a whole lot – me and all the other rookies. He’s a guy you look up to and respect. He’s a guy you want on your team.”