Luka Burzan was selected by the Colorado Avalanche at No. 171 overall in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver.
The 19-year-old spent the last three seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey league. In 68 games with Brandon in 2018-19, Burzan recorded 78 points (40 goals, 38 assists). After beginning the 2016-17 season with Moose Jaw, he was traded to the Wheat Kings during the campaign.
Through 207 WHL regular-season contests with Moose Jaw and Brandon, Burzan has totaled 145 points (69 goals, 76 assists). He has also seen success on the international stage, appearing in five games as Team Canada won the gold medal at the 2017 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
A 6-foot-1, 190-pound center, Burzan participated in the Ottawa Senators' development camp last summer before being selected by the Avalanche this year in his second year of draft eligibility.
The Surrey, British Columbia, native recently talked with ColoradoAvalanche.com about being drafted by the Avs.
How did you find out that the Avalanche drafted you and what was your reaction to the news?
"I wasn't (at the draft). Before I got drafted, I went for a drive, I was getting kind of nervous there at the sixth round. I actually ran out of data, so I didn't have any data on my phone and couldn't really follow it anymore. My cousin actually called me and told me I got drafted, he was the first one to call me. I wasn't far from home, so I drove two minutes back home, just gave my parents a hug and it was a special feeling."
Had you been to Colorado before development camp?
"I came when I was 15. I was playing Bantam and my club came here for a tournament and played. Foote was there, now at Tampa Bay, and a bunch of other good players too."
What does this summer and next year look like for you?
"I've got the World Juniors summer camp and after that I just want to keep on getting better. (I'll) go back to Brandon next season, hope we have a good season and help my team win and go far in the playoffs."
Video: Luka Burzan talks about being drafted by Colorado
When did you start playing hockey?
"My older brother, he is six years older than me, he was playing and then he got me into it. He has always been my biggest supporter through everything on the ice and off the ice. My number, 27, I wear it because of him. We live in Kelowna, BC, now and he still lives in Surrey, BC. He called me right away (after I was picked), it was pretty special."
Is there anyone in the NHL that you model your game after?
"I think probably Jonathan Toews, he is a great leader and he plays a two-way game. He is just someone that I will always look up to."
What is your mindset like before and during a game?
"I don't have too many rituals or anything. Usually I just go in and warmup for 40 minutes on the ice by myself or in the gym before we have our team warmup. Usually I just put on all my right equipment first before my left, but no big superstitions."
Are there any former teammates or venues you are excited to see in the NHL?
"Yes, one of my linemates from Brandon, Stelio Mattheos, went to Carolina. Hopefully I can play against him one day, he is a great guy and a great player. Also to play in Madison Square Garden would be a dream come true."