Blake Wheeler. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)
Wilmington, MA -- He's said it from the moment he was signed and he was saying it during his time in the B's Development Camp.
Blake “Wheels” Wheeler wanted to be in the Hub and is very happy to be wearing the spoked-B of the Boston Bruins.
Shortly after he joined the team as free agent on July 1, 2008, the big forward said that the best part of coming to Boston was “being a part of an organization that’s moving in the right direction...You can tell that they’re driven to be successful and driven to win.”
Calling his decision a “no-brainer,” Wheeler comes to Boston by way of the University of Minnesota, where he played part of his freshman year with Bruins center Phil Kessel.
“Me and Phil have kept in contact over the last couple of years since he left Minnesota,” Wheeler said. “He was actually in the Twin Cities a few weeks ago and we played some golf.
“He’s definitely a good buddy of mine, and if things work out the right way, that’d be great to be on a team with him again.”
Of course, Blake wasn’t always on track to be a professional hockey player. His father, James, was actually a pitcher in the Detroit Tigers farm system and wanted his son to play baseball.
“I think his first idea was to tie my right hand around my back when I was younger so I’d be a left-handed pitcher,” said Wheeler. “For whatever reason, maybe it was just growing up in Minnesota, my heart was in hockey.
“So (Dad) made the transition (to hockey) pretty quick.”
Now he is poised to enter the professional hockey world at only 21 years old. He isn’t quite sure what will happen at September’s training camp, but he is ready to put in some major effort and hopes for the best.
“If I’m ready to play, then I’ll be given the opportunity to play,” he said during Development Camp. “That’s all you can ask for.”
“If I go into (training) camp and I’m not ready to be a part of the team and I’m not ready for the NHL, then I have to go to the AHL and work on my game so I can be there sooner rather than later.”