Saturday, April 16, 2016

Rookie Camp - I don't even remember going to this.

I don't even remember going to this Rookie Camp. It was the one and only WHL or Junior rookie camp that I attended. I did not go to any other rookie camps or pre qualifying camps for any other junior teams.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Recruitment Stage - 14 - 15 Years Old

My first inkling that Scouts were watching me was when I was 14 years old playing second year bantam for the Juan De Fuca Gulls (as they were called at the time). After one game my dad showed me a business card from a scout for the Victoria Cougars of the WHL, George Sigurson. My dad said the main thing that George asked him was "How Hungry am I". That question stuck in my head and when I watch athletes today in any sport, hunger seems to be the most important factor to success. When a hockey player loses his hunger, he loses his competitiveness as well. I do remember meeting George and he seemed like a really nice man. On my 15th Birthday, I received a letter from the honorable Mr. Ed Chynoweth (RIP), the Chariman of the Western Hockey League at the time. The letter stated that 4 WHL teams wanted to put me on their protected list. The way the recruitment system worked at the time there was no WHL draft. When you turned 15, if more than one team wanted you, then you had the opportunity to choose one of them.
Living in Victoria, BC at the time, I had been to a handful of WHL Victoria Cougar hockey games with my friends. Most of my friends hated the Portland Winterhawks because they were a fierce rival with the Cougars. I had to now make a decision of which team to pick. The Victoria Cougars seemed to be the obvious choice as they were local, but Portland had called me, met with me and their Director of Player Personnel Wayne Meier and their scout Ron Roman really had a great way of selling the organization. I liked both Wayne and Ron, they both made me feel important and made me feel that Portland 'wanted me'. I didn't get that from Victoria, Kamloops or Seattle. It was a tough decision at the time. I had spoken with the head coach of the Victoria Cougars, Dave Andrews (Now the president of the American Hockey League and a phenomenal hockey man) Bottom line is I chose Portland over my hometown team. There was something about watching them play when they were in town against the Cougars. They used the old Chicago Black Hawk uniforms and they had a c not a p on the side of their jerseys.