Let's set the record straight: Mike Egener isn't German.
Yes, the defenseman was born in Lahr, a city in southwest Germany near the French border, and the assumption of ethnicity has followed ever since.
"My dad is retired from the Canadian military, so he was stationed over in Germany during the Cold War," Egener said. "My sister and I were born over there, but we've been living in Canada since we were four years old.
"Everyone thinks that I'm from Germany."
Reign public address announcer Jeff Pope made a point during Saturday's postgame jersey auction to rescind the sauerkraut jokes he made at the first jersey auction.
"He was saying if someone buys my jersey maybe I'd give them some German beer or talk to them in German," Egener said, "but I can't do that."
Egener's father, Hugh, recently had to place a long-distance call from Calgary to Bakersfield to set the record straight.
"He was listening to the radio against (Bakersfield) and their goalie was German - (Timo) Pielmeier," the defenseman recalled. "They were joking on the radio that we'd be going out for a drink after, but I don't know a lick of German."
Having returned this week from a head injury, Egener hopes to give fans more than just his place of birth to talk about.
He scored his second goal of the season Saturday against Stockton and is trying to establish a gritty presence with partner Chad Starling, a like-minded shutdown defender. In addition to his goal, Egener has a plus-7 rating in three games since coming off injured reserve.
Egener certainly can use his size (6-foot-4 and 213 pounds) to his advantage, but the 25-year-old can do more than just take up space.
"He's got a big shot," coach Karl Taylor said. "He's got some skill. Once we get him back up to speed, he'll add some offense as well."
For a player limited to just six games last season in Sweden and 28 games the previous year between the AHL and ECHL, health always is the primary concern. So after sustaining the injury in the fourth game of the season against Stockton, then dressing for the next five, Egener decided to shut it down for two weeks.
"I've had a few concussions, let's put it that way," he said. "I think that's why I took a little bit longer off. It's something you don't want to play around with."
"I'm not going to change the way I play, it's just something you've got to watch. It's something that can be pretty serious after hockey."
Rheault returning; Walker on the move
In a good bit of timing for the Reign, forwards Jon Rheault and Geoff Walker are switching leagues.
Rheault is set to rejoin the Reign from the AHL's Providence Bruins, where he was held scoreless in a four-game stint last week. At the time of his recall, Rheault was leading the Reign with nine goals and 15 points in 13 games.
Walker, meanwhile, will rejoin the Manchester Monarchs after a goal and seven points in 10 games for the Reign. The forward appeared in two games for Manchester to begin the season.
The Kings placed left wing Ryan Smyth on injured reserve Monday and recalled forwards Andrei Loktionov and Brandon Segal from Manchester.
Forward Chris Curran said he hopes to travel with the team to Victoria and make his 2009-10 debut either Friday or Saturday against the Salmon Kings.
"I'm ready to go," said Curran, who hasn't played a game since breaking his leg in the Reign's regular-season finale in April. "I've been cleared to play, so it should be any time now."
Meanwhile, forward Todd Jackson (broken nose) has resumed contact drills in practice while wearing a clear face shield. The forward said he will wear the shield for the next four weeks in practice or a game.
The Reign will team up with Passion of Christ Ministries to serve the homeless on Wednesday in Upland.
Several volunteers are working together to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 100 people, including the homeless, volunteers and players.
The players will serve the homeless and also sit side by side and enjoy a meal with them.
"We are honored to be asked to be part of this special occasion," Taylor said. "If a simple deed like this can have a positive influence on someone then we are happy to do it. This is another opportunity for the players to realize that there is a purpose for them in the community that goes far beyond hockey."