You’ll have to excuse the Blue Jackets’ seventh-round draft pick (No. 185 overall) Calvin Thürkauf if he seemed a little tired after his first day of Development Camp practice – he’s had a whirlwind of a travel weekend across both hemispheres and over 5,000 miles, and jet lag takes no prisoners.
And oh, by the way, Monday was his 19th birthday.
The forward from Switzerland was on the second day of a vacation on Saturday with a friend in Palma Nova, Spain, when his family back home (who had heard the news from Thürkauf’s agent) called him and told him to pack his bags.
But you’ll have to excuse him for that, too – he said Columbus drafting him was “literally out of the blue,” even though he had spoken with team representatives during his playing season.
“I was at the beach enjoying the sun, relaxing because I hadn’t had any holidays for a while,” Thürkauf said. “Then I got the call, had to cancel holidays, get on a plane and fly all the way to Columbus.”
But before Thürkauf could leave join his beachside island retreat to join the Jackets at Development Camp, he needed to swing by his house to stuff something moderately important in his suitcase: his skates.
He said he tried that evening to get on the next flight to Zürich, but that didn’t work out. So he had to take an early morning flight instead, and just hours after landing in his home country, he was back at the Zürich airport for a 3 p.m. Sunday flight to Columbus for the start of Development Camp on Monday.
That's a birthday for the books, to put it lightly.
“There was a little bit of stress, but I got over it, it’s good now,” Thürkauf said. “I arrived at 1 o'clock this morning, [but] I’m pretty good, I’m holding up.”
The Blue Jackets’ annual Development Camp is meant to help draftees and young players adjust to their new city, their new teammates and the NHL, but for Thürkauf, merely adjusting to the Eastern Time zone would be a good start.