CALGARY -- Ben Thomas can remember a time when the only way he was allowed to step foot in Scotiabank Saddledome was to buy a ticket.
Now he calls it home.
The 2014 NHL Draft-eligible defenseman has blossomed with the Calgary Hitmen this season in the rink he grew up cheering in, no less.
"It's pretty amazing," Thomas said. "I used to go to Flames games and Hitmen games all the time as a kid. I remember the first time I went out for practice with the Hitmen. It was just a really weird feeling being out there after all those years of watching other teams on the ice. To be able to have this as my home rink is pretty special."
Navigating through his draft year, the 17-year-old Thomas doesn't have to look far to find motivation.
Just down the hall, in fact.