There's a photo outside the Vees dressing room (which we are using this tournament) of our national championship season and it's something. My expression is priceless. Pure joy. One day I want to have that face winning the Stanley Cup with the Canucks. I was young, living in the moment and that's a moment I'll never forget. We had a special team, which Mike Garteig was part of as well (he's in the very middle of the photo getting crushed). We strung together a 42-game win streak, which I think is still the junior hockey world record. We had the right players at the right time and everyone clicked; I think something like nine or 10 guys from that team have since signed pro deals, which is pretty rare.
I learned a lot from my time here, including that hard work pays off. I'm an undersized guy, so people have always doubted me as a player and as an individual, hard work is the best way to prove people wrong. If you set your mind to something, you can achieve anything. When I was coming here at 16 I always wanted to go to North Dakota and I set my mind to that and I ended up going there, that's an example of what you can do and how powerful the mind is. Same thing with Vancouver, I always wanted to play for the Canucks and then I signed with them and I'm very excited to be here.
I still have a lot to prove, nothing is given and everything is earned. I believe in myself and my family believes in me that I'll put in the work and go out there and earn everything I get.
I worked harder this summer than ever before. I came home mid-May after winning the National Championship with University of North Dakota, but I only took a week off before joining the Canucks in their off-season workouts. Other than four days off to go to Disneyland, Monday to Friday I was in the gym working out with the guys and starting to skate with them. It's a benefit for me to get that time to build the relationships with the players and the staff and be more comfortable around them.
That being said, you can work as hard as you want off the ice, but the on-ice cardio is completely different. I feel good with where I'm at, but this week will be a good test to see where I'm at physically and my conditioning.
We have a team dinner tonight before we all turn in early, although I'm sure butterflies will be keeping me awake!
I plan on blogging once a day during the tournament, so I guess we'll talk soon!