Egor Zamula made the best of an opportunity.
Making his WHL debut this season with the Hitmen, the defenceman continued to improve his play at the Scotiabank Saddledome, catching the eyes of some folks who also call the building home.
His strong play and potential led to the Russian blueliner being invited to the 2018 Flames development camp last week at WinSport.
"I felt like I had a good first season playing in North America," Zamula said. "It was a transition at first but I continued to gain confidence in my game."
"I owe a lot to the Hitmen organization for giving me the chance to prove myself."
While Zamula has spent most of the off-season back home in Russia, the 18-year-old was quick to jump on a plane when the invite came.
"I was very honoured to be invited to the Flames development camp," he said. "There's a lot of great players here and everyone is helping each other out. It helps to see where my game is at compared to the others and what I need to work on
"It's been a good experience so far. I was a little nervous at the start because it's an NHL camp but I've had fun and learned a lot from all the coaches."
What made things a bit easier for the defender was seeing Hitmen graduate goaltender and Flames prospect Nick Schneider.
"He's a really funny guy," Schneider said. "He's always smiling and making people laugh and it's nice to have him around."
With the development camp now in the rearview mirror, it'll be back to training for the upcoming WHL season as Zamula prepares to help the Hitmen make it back to the post-season.
"I've been busy being either on the ice or in the gym this off-season to try and improve my game," he said. "It was nice to go back home to Russia, spend time with family and friends, but now I'm excited to be back in Calgary and continue my training.
"Next season I think is going to be a good year for the team. We have a lot of good players and I think we'll have a better season and hopefully make it to playoffs."