COLUMBUS, OHIO – Mark Dekanich had a quiet introduction to Columbus.
On August 3-4, Dekanich attended the Blue Jackets Hockey School at the Chiller North in Lewis Center, Ohio to help with the goalie camp of about 25 kids.
"I like to do anything I can to help the community and I had a great time helping the kids out there.” Dekanich said.
His intro was somewhat fitting, because of all the players on the current roster Dekanich has the least recognizable name to the casual fan. With one NHL game under his belt this comes as no surprise, but a short chat and a closer look at his American Hockey League numbers tell you all you need to know about the Jackets’ new netminder.
"I'm a battler - I never give up," the 25-year-old N. Vancouver, B.C. native said. "I pride myself on not being a robot in the crease and doing whatever I can to stop the puck no matter how it looks or how it feels."
He likens his style or absence of style to Tim Thomas, where shooters never really know what to expect and making athletic plays in the crease is the norm.
The numbers bear it out over the last three years, in 112 games with the Milwaukee Admirals Dekanich went 65-38-11 with a 2.16 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. He added 9 shutouts, 6 penalty minutes and an assist.
"It's a natural progression (stepping up to the NHL level)," Dekanich said. "I'm striving to get better every day and I think I paid my dues in the minor leagues and really deserve an opportunity.
"I'm fortunate enough to be involved with an organization now that was willing to give it to me, at the same time I'm excited to be given the opportunity and look to make the most of it."
Hockey school was a chance for some individual kids to get to know him off the ice, but anyone with a twitter can get to know him better by following @Dexshow. The nickname that was given to him in college at Colgate, where he played four seasons, and is something he puts on the back of his helmet.
If you don’t have twitter, you may have to wait until he moves to Columbus, just don’t be shy.
"I'm a pretty happy-go-lucky guy," Dekanich said. "I'm easy to get along with, so say hi if you see me out in town."
Columbus is a new city for the recently married Dekanich, who came here once with Nashville last year, serving as a backup that night. He said he only saw the airport and the rink at that time and says he is excited about the more mild winters in comparison to Milwaukee, Wisc. – where he spent the majority of the last three season.
"Everything I've heard (about Columbus) has been positive," Dekanich said. "I've heard about the good fan support too, so that's great and something I'm looking forward to experiencing firsthand."