Growing up in Edmonton, Trey Fix-Wolansky had some advantages when it came to becoming a professional hockey player.
The Columbus Blue Jackets prospect was in a good place to be introduced to the ice at a young age, given Alberta's chilly temperatures and the number of outdoor rinks in Edmonton.
"That's actually how I started," Fix-Wolansky told Dylan Tyrer in an interview as part of CBJ Radio's Blue Jackets Pipeline Podcast, presented by your central Ohio Toyota dealers. "My dad took me to an outdoor rink and threw the puck on the ice and told me to go chase it. I kind of fell in love with the ice there."
That love has served Fix-Wolansky well. The 2018 seventh-round pick of the Blue Jackets has become an intriguing prospect in the CBJ pipeline, as he would go on to star from playing on the rinks of his hometown to suiting up for the Edmonton Oil Kings, a WHL team at the highest level of Canadian junior hockey.
He was chosen by the Blue Jackets in the draft after an impressive 2017-18 season in which he had 32 goals and 89 points for the Oil Kings in 71 games. Fix-Wolansky was even better after being tabbed by the CBJ in the draft, as he captained the team a year later and was named the Eastern Conference MVP thanks to a 37-65-102 line and plus-36 rating in 65 games.
The Oil Kings play their home games in Rogers Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers, and Fix-Wolansky said that getting the chance to play junior hockey in his hometown had an added benefit given the close ties between the junior team and the NHL squad.
"It was an unbelievable experience," he said. "You have so many great resources around you. The NHL team is right there, so you get to watch them practice, you get to watch opposing teams that are playing the Oilers practice on a daily basis. Everyday life around the rink is fun. Obviously being around those pros, you get to pick up on things."
Fix-Wolanksy then made a quick debut with the AHL Cleveland after his junior career ended, posting a goal and assist in three games during the Monsters' playoff run last season.
His first pro season this year has been short-circuited by an early groin injury, but Fix-Wolansky still has showed his offensive touch, posting 12 goals and 26 points in 43 games as a 20-year-old.
The 5-foot-7 forward discussed getting used to the pro level, how he views his diminutive stature as an advantage, the big hockey influences in his game and more in this week's chat with Tyrer.
Be sure to check out the Pipeline Podcast in the audio player above, visit Soundcloud or listen to it through your favorite podcasting app by searching CBJ Radio.