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Player Progression Director Posts: 3244 Joined: 11-January 16 Member ID: 2101 Rep: 62 pts
Draft day is one that you'll always remember - but it's the people and places that got you here that are most important. Tell us about your journey to the SMJHL draft: your family, your minor hockey team, your hometown, and/or whatever had the biggest influence on you.
Written option: Must include 200 words. Graphic (can be a billboard, a feature magazine cover, post-draft family photo, etc.): Must include 1 player render.
4 TPE for doing the thing.
Only S38 SMJHL Rookies (S39 SHL Rookies) are eligible for this PT.
Do not claim this TPE until a post is made in the claim thread.
Members Posts: 33 Joined: 28-November 17 Member ID: 2921 Rep: 1 pts
Growing up in Ireland meant that American Sports were not always first. Soccer was always the big sport in my family. But eventually, I learned how to skate and then eventually I played hockey as a kid with friends and later in a club. Going professional was never a goal for me but somehow it might happen.
The Juniors draft was something i was always very excited by. I think playing in the Juniors is extremely exciting and I was happy to see where I would go. As a goalie, I was really not sure how valuable I would be to teams. But I knew my own worth and that I should be able to go fairly high.
In the end, being taken in the early 2nd round is an extremely happy moment for me. I think I went to an excellent organisation and I cannot wait to spend my first year here. Then I will be drafted in the SHL and I hope I can show my worth until then. And I want to make sure that I do well in goal for the Vancouver Whalers.
The biggest influence was probably my family, they always gave me motivation and helped me achieve my goals. I am so grateful to them for everything.
Members Posts: 13382 Joined: 27-July 15 Member ID: 1891 Rep: 147 pts
WORD BARF #1
Being a lad from Ireland meant that hockey was on par with the Minotaur; you have heard of it and it sounded pretty cool but it was hard to imagine it was real. One day however professional hockey came to Kilkenny and that all changed. I was hooked on the fast paced and violent ice based sport. I watched the games whenever I could get away from school work but that was not enough; I needed to try it for myself. I asked my parents for skates but money was tight and we were on the poor side. I started raking up leaves and walking dogs; I saved every penny until I got my first pair of skates.
The Storm had a free skate every Saturday morning where players would teach us children how to skate and play hockey. We would spend one hour doing practice and one hour doing a fun scrimmage. I lived for those mornings and they soon became the only thing I loved. Looking back now it was funny how terrible we all were but I learned so much from the players and I never really got the chance to thank them. They weren't well paid but these guys gave up their weekends to teach a bunch of Irish kids how to do something they wouldn't use for the rest of their lives.
Members Posts: 725 Joined: 24-June 14 Member ID: 1138 Rep: 17 pts
Born in the frozen wastes known as "Toronto", young Tony was given the bastard surname of "Snow". Son of SHL scrub, Tony Flow, Snow was taken in by his father's former teammate and bodyguard, Sludge. From a young age he was trained to be a hockey player. His father would never come to meet him, but he would send care packages of signed equipment and promotional head shots. Sludge trained Tony to be a well rounded player, but never taught him how to shoot. It is a skill that will he will most likely have to develop on his own. Training as hard as he can every single day, Snow wants to be a vastly superior player than his utility forward, never around father.
Draft night is definitely an interesting and special time for any prospect. Even if things don't go quite as planned. Going late is a frustrating thing for Tony Snow. He wants to prove himself by being the best player he possibly can, and is going to push himself to try to show the other teams what they missed out on. While Tony is frustrated, he knows it isn't the end of the world. Draft status means nothing once the season starts, and Tony will move on from this night and focus on the next objective: His first SMJHL season.
Growing up in Trondheim, Norway Karno began playing the game of hockey with his friends on the frozen ponds of the beautiful city around four years old. His father Gunder would bring him and his brother Torvald to the pond games multiple times per week where the parents would laugh at the boys falling over each other on the ice while sipping a flask or hot coffee together.
Later moving on in his hockey passion, Karno was offered a contract with the U17 Frisk Asker team in Asker, Norway. He accepted the contract, his family followed him to the city and attended every game he played, watching him surpass huge milestones early on. Karno brought a cup to Asker, won the defenseman of the year trophy two times and even served as Captain for two seasons. After five long seasons with the team, beginning his term as the youngest player ever in the GET-liagen, Karno declared his wishes to play in North America to his fans on live TV.
An already infamous player within Norway, Grönkjær's name was highly anticipated the moment he declared his SMJHL Draft Eligibility in North America as well. This fame and anticipation finally lead to his name being called, 1st overall in the draft as his entire family watched him walk to the stage.
THE TOWER OF TRONDHEIM # B R I N G I N G T H E K A R N O G E Player ~ Updates
Members Posts: 640 Joined: 5-October 15 Member ID: 1986 Rep: 5 pts
My story begins where I was born, in Mushaboom, Nova Scotia. My father, John was always a huge fan of hockey and he’s the one who got me into the amazing sport. I can remember, ever since I slipped on my first pair of skates I was in love with playing hockey. I started off by playing pond hockey at my Aunt’s house with my whole family. We would spend the whole day playing games out there, they got pretty competitive. I wanted to be able to keep up with my older cousins and brothers so I was outside shooting pucks, practicing my stick handling, and striving to enhance my skating ability.
I began playing organized hockey at the age of seven after my family had moved to MA. I was a monster out there, weaving in and out of players and nipping ginos over and over again. Eventually I was invited to play for a club team, the Junior Worcester Sharks. This was a whole new experience for me. The players were more competitive and it was starting to get more physical. It took a little while to adjust to the new play style but I also really enjoyed playing with people who were just obsessed with the game as I was.
Members Posts: 42 Joined: 26-November 17 Member ID: 2884 Rep: 0 pts
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia to two Irish Immigrants, Jon Toner fell in love with the game of hockey at a young age. Every week Jon looked forward to Friday nights when his dad Tadgh would bring him to see the Halifax Raiders play. Those guys became his heroes. His room adorned with Raiders memorabilia and half his wardrobe donning some form of Raiders logo or crest of some sort. He dreamed of playing with them some day. But then came quite the shock.
At the age of 8, Jon was told by his parents that they would be returning home to Killarney, Ireland. This wasn't home for Jonny, Halifax was his home. But it was set in stone. Over time Jon grew to love Killarney, and at the age of 16 gained Irish citizenship, making him a dual citizen of both Canada and Ireland. Over this time span Jon was the top young hockey player in Killarney, and 2 years later at the age of 18, declared his commitment to the Irish national team, choosing them over his boyhood home of Canada.
Today, he's been drafted 29th overall by the Halifax Raiders, his boyhood dream come true. Toner has come full circle, and according to him, he is living "the best of both worlds".
Members Posts: 31 Joined: 26-November 17 Member ID: 2867 Rep: 3 pts
Sweden is the source of tons of hockey talent. Growing up so fast, having such a large frame and eye for the game I just knew I would make it to the SMJHL. When your uncle is one of the best defenseman to ever play the game all you have throughout the minors, through out the juniors and even at the highest level, you'll always have that comparison on your back. The need to compete at the highest levels from the very begining. For an unmotivated or even average player, this might be enough to defer players from pursuing their goal of the SMJHL, for me it's only fuel. It's that drive to improve every aspect of my game to live up to those expectations, to get right after it and work hard day in and day out. Now that I'm starting my journey with St. Louis as a crow, it's only an upward motion and keeping on the path of being the best player and member of the team I can be. Leading from the front from a young age isn't something most teams get behind or even usually support but I'm looking to change that narrative and be the one to drive the play and get the boys motivated and keep clawing for that cup game in and game out.
Hailing from Lubeck, Germany, it’s been a long road to the SMJHL. That’s long in the physical sense - Montreal and Lubeck aren’t exactly neighbouring. Growing up in Germany, I played a variety of sports, as is the case with so many German youth. Football, of course, is my native nation’s game of choice, and one that I played myself. While the choice between opposing loves is difficult for some multi-sport athletes, the same was not true in my case - the Bundesliga academies were not going to come calling.
As far as hockey goes, I played for my local top-tier youth clubs growing up. As I got older, we traveled across the country to play the best in our age group, and it became clear early on that hockey would be a huge part of my future. My parents, not entirely athletic themselves, were hesitant - they valued a steady education leading to a steady source of income.
My talent, though, couldn’t be ignored. They gave in as the scouts kept coming. Eventually I joined Eisbaeren Juniors Berlin, where I really came into my own as a young player. It was at that level that I realized I really could make the jump to North America and one day play in the SHL as so many of my countrymen have recently. This is only the beginning of my career; one that I hope will continue for years to come.
"Something happened on the day he died. Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside. Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried. I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar."
a bottomless curse, a bottomless sea, source of all greatness, all things that be.
Members Posts: 57 Joined: 27-November 17 Member ID: 2898 Rep: 1 pts
Born in Vienna, but at an early age my family moved to Chicago for work. That's where I first learned about hockey and started to play with some of the youth travel teams around Chicago. I was the oldest of 3 (two boys and one girl) and a lot of my time was spent watching or playing hockey. At the age of 13, my family moved back to Vienna, where the Vienna Capitals got in contact with me and had me join their U14 team. It was definitely a big change since the ice in the States is smaller than in Europe, but it gave me an edge as I was used to making quicker decisions. The next year I played up an age group due to lack of players and it was rough. Being so much smaller definitely molded my game and forced me to get stronger in the lower body. After my first year in the U17 as a 15 y/o, I found my form and never looked back. My offensive decision making that I developed in Chicago was probably the thing that gave me an edge over my fellow Austrians. After leading the youth leagues in scoring for two straight seasons, I was eligible for the SMJHL Entry Draft and now I'm here and ready to make my mark for the Firebirds and hopefully Austria!
Members Posts: 9 Joined: 30-November 17 Member ID: 2930 Rep: 0 pts
Hungary is probably one of the last places most scouts would check when looking for a potential hockey talent, but every now and then, you strike gold when you least expect it.
Enter Fjörm Lyeskov, a new recruit by KMH Budapest U20: a 6'6" towering offensive defenceman with jaw-dropping foot speed for a man of his size and a bomb of a shot that would terrify even the most stoic of goalies. With hockey sense and skill surpassing that of most of his peers, he would stand out even to a blind man. He proved to be a level above his peers and put up one of the most memorable seasons in Hungarian hockey league history.
HC CSKA Moscow noticed his talent and though skeptical of the ability of Hungary to produce a genuine hockey talent, they took the chance and offered him a 1 year contract, wishing to see what this so-called prodigy could do at a higher level.
Lyeskov ended up starting the season on Moscow's VHL affiliate Zvezda Chekov after a rough training camp but very quickly, as he adjusted to the different pace and skill level of the Russian league, Lyeskov impressed all with his skill and hockey smarts. His play awarded him with the opportunity to play with the KHL squad for several games before the season's end. He finished the regular season with a very impressive 10 goals and 16 points in 33 games in the VHL and in the 12 games he played with CSKA Moskow, he scored 3 goals and 5 points: incredible numbers for one of his age and origin.
During the offseason, GM Sergei Fedorov was valiant in his attempts to keep Lysekov on the team but acquiesced with the latter individual's decision not to resign, knowing that no amount of rubles could compete with the offer that his young prospect had received: an invitation to declare for the SMJHL Draft; the entry point to one of the world's toughest hockey leagues.
Despite the names he knew with whom he had to compete and with the knowledge that his accomplishments meant leading up to this draft, Fjörm Lyeskov gladly waited for his time to be picked, not caring if he were improbably picked first or even dead last. Dying from anticipation and impatient to know what team he'd be playing for, he forced himself to not move. Just when he felt that he could take it no longer, his moment came as the Kelowna Knights called his name 53rd overall in the 7th round of the S38 SMJHL Entry Draft.
He had traveled the world, honed his skills, and trained nonstop: he felt that everything that he had done in his young life had led up to this moment. Blinking away his tears of happiness and resisting the urge to shout, he willed himself to not run up to the podium to shake the hands of the management that drafted him. As he gleefully put on the green and gold jersey of the Knights, he looked up at the sky, itching to see where this new step would take him.
Members Posts: 62 Joined: 26-November 17 Member ID: 2873 Rep: 2 pts
Marius was born in Latvia, in a small farm house outside of Riga. However, the foray into hockey came when he was 8 years old, having moved to Luneburg, Germany with his mom after his father had walked out. Marius’ mom, of German descent came from a line of hockey players, as her father, Marius’ grandfather, was a stellar player in his own right before retiring early due to chronic knee issues. Without a father figure, the young Viktor became very attached with his grandfather, it wasn’t long before a stick was in his hands. Hockey came naturally to Viktor, but where Marius excelled was his determination to be better. Having the guidance of his grandfather and the natural determination to succeed, Marius pushed himself to the limit to be the best player he could. Sadly, the Marius family lost their patriarch to cancer in 2014, the same year Viktor was to make his senior debut for Eisbaeren Berlin. The loss of his role model took a mental toll on the young rookie as the team released him from his contract only a few months into the season. Viktor spent that season looking over the family estate in lieu of his grandfather, forfeiting that year of hockey, but that year of respite might have been the best for Viktor. The break allowed him to mourn, be there for his mom, and put things in perspective that he had the opportunity to take care of his family, and be the man his grandfather was. This new found devotion, and the dream to one day provide for his family through hockey pushed the young winger back onto the ice, signing a multi-year contract with his hometown Dinamo Riga of the KHL. Marius spent the next two years posting team highs in goals and points for Dinamo Riga, leading them to the playoffs in his second year. Now Marius has his eyes set on leading the Detroit Falcons to a back to back championship in the SMJHL.