TORONTO -- Brandon Wheat Kings center Jayce Hawryluk is looking forward to impressing NHL scouts and general managers during the fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine at Toronto International Centre on Saturday.
For Hawryluk, taking part in the most grueling portion of the Combine is something he is relishing. That wasn't the case two months ago, when after leading the Wheat Kings to a 5-4 victory against the Regina Pats in Game 3 of their best-of-7 first-round Western Hockey League playoff series, Hawryluk was hospitalized after collapsing in the locker room from dehydration.
Hawryluk told NHL.com on Thursday that NHL personnel have questioned what happened that night, moments after he had been named the game's first star after scoring three goals and adding an assist. He has assured all who have asked that he is fully healthy and plans to prove that Saturday.
"I'm better than ever," Hawryluk said. "Everything is fine. I went through tests and it's all good. It was a scary situation with the dehydration. The doctors told me it was overexertion and dehydration, which caused my light-headedness. There was no heart problem and all my medical reports are good."
Hawryluk will undergo a medical exam Friday and then take his fitness test Saturday morning.
The No. 37-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, Hawryluk had 24 goals and 64 points in 59 regular-season games. He also had five goals and 12 points in eight postseason games.
"The ranking is just a number and obviously it's nice to see that, but at the same time I must keep working," he said. "There are a lot of guys who get drafted in the first round and never even play. I think it's all about the heart and work ethic you put in to get to the next level. You can have all the skill in the world, but you have to make it happen."
Heart and work ethic certainly are evident in Hawryluk's game night-in and night-out.
"I'm a Brendan Gallagher, Brad Marchand type of player; that's the guy I am," he said. "I'm a gritty, skilled forward. I'm not the biggest [5-foot-10, 190 pounds], but that really doesn't matter. I play like I'm 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3."