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Enjoying every minute

by Kristi Hennessy / Calgary Flames
Being part of the Lethbridge hockey culture runs in the family for Carter Bancks.

Bancks spent the last five years playing for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League, the same team his father played for in the 1970's and continues to be part of as a scout.

Carter’s father Jerry played for the Lethbridge Broncos during the 1974-1976 seasons alongside Brian Sutter, the former NHL player and coach from the Alberta-famous Sutter family.

Bancks says his father has been his biggest influence in the game and has been a huge support.

“I started playing hockey when I was three years old with my dad,” said Bancks. “He’s a big hockey guy. He’s coached a lot of hockey including our local Junior A team. He is doing some scouting now for the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

"He’s been through the whole WHL experience in Lethbridge and knows that it’s a grind.  He’s always there for me to build me up and give me advice and let me know when I need to be better. Both my mom and my dad give me tons of support and tons of love. You really need that going through this when you’re 16 or 17 and playing in a men’s league.”

Bancks is one of the most recent additions to the Abbotsford Heat roster. He signed an Amateur Tryout Contract with the Heat right after his season ended with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL. Bancks is coming off the best season of his career with the 'Canes. As team captain he posted   55 points (19G, 36A) while racking up seven power play goals, two shorthanded goals and 96 penalty minutes.
“I was down in Lethbridge as a free agent when Calgary showed some interest,” explained Bancks.  “I’ve been a Flames fan all my life as I was born in Calgary so I was really excited about it.”

The 20-year-old, 180-pounder was more than happy to make his way to Abbotsford to get a taste of playing at the AHL level.  He dressed in nine regular season games with the Heat and played in all of their playoff games to date.

“It’s been awesome,” Bancks said. “I came in not knowing what to expect and got into a lot of games and they’ve been playing me quite a bit. It’s been a dream- come- true so far. Jim (Heat head coach Playfair) and the coaches have been great. Jim actually coached with my coach down in Lethbridge, Rich Preston, so there is some definite familiarity with the drills they run in practice. So that made it a little bit easier. They’ve treated me really well.”

Bancks has attended two NHL training camps as a free agent. The first invite was by the Atlanta Thrashers after his impressive efforts at the 2008 NHL Prospects tournament. Then last summer he was invited to the San Jose Sharks training camp. He will now look forward to his third camp with who he calls his favourite team, the Calgary Flames.

Bancks says he needs to work on a lot of aspects to his game but his main focus is his size.

“I really need to gain some strength and some speed,” Bancks admits. “I’m pretty light weight right now so I’d like to put on some weight and gain power and speed over the summer and get ready for development camp. Try to fine-tune many aspects of my game as there are a lot of improvements that I can make.”

Carter Bancks leads by example day in and day out; not only on the ice, but off the ice as well.

“He plays the game with passion and grit every shift, and off the ice is a solid citizen who is well respected in the community and a great ambassador for the hockey club.”

- Lethbridge Hurricanes Head Coach Rich Preston.
If Bancks did not sign this Amateur Tryout Contract, he had a few back-up ideas if he were to go the college route.

“I’d narrowed it down to a couple schools,” said Bancks. “I was thinking U of A, U of C, University of New Brunswick or Acadia University which is out in Nova Scotia. I was looking at taking kinesiology and getting into education to become a PE teacher. My mom and dad are both PE teachers and it’s been a great lifestyle for them to raise me. A lot of time off, so I’d definitely be interested in something like that.”

Bancks commented on his style of play and believes that once he gains more weight and strength that he can make an impact and be a good fit with the Flames organization.

“I’d like to think I’m a good two-way player,” he said. “Good in my own zone and very hard working. I try to finish all my checks, get under their skin and be tough to play against.

"Hopefully as I go along I’ll get a little more confident and be able to produce a little more offensively.”

Author: Kristi Hennessy

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