Some hockey names are hard to forget. "Leschyshyn" falls into that category.
Those who have been around hockey for the last 30 years would know the name because of Curtis Leschyshyn, a 16-year NHL veteran who hung up his skates after the 2003-04 season.
Taken with the 62nd overall pick a year ago, Leschyshyn skated into the 2018 development camp presented by City National Bank after recording 40 points for the Regina Pats for the second straight season and helping them reach the Mastercard Memorial Cup Final. He hopes to play for the Golden Knights in the near future and follow in his father's footsteps in more ways than one.
When the NHL expanded to 30 teams for the 2000-01 season, Curtis Leschyshyn was selected by the Minnesota Wild to join the league's newest franchise from his previous team, the Carolina Hurricanes. Now, Jake is competing for a roster spot with the Golden Knights who made him their fifth ever selection in the NHL draft.
"It's a little different for myself," Jake Leschyshyn said. "He was part of the team right away and I'm drafted to the team. He saw a lot of opportunity in that team and, like the Knights this year, they had a lot of guys that wanted to prove themselves against other teams."
Leschyshyn had the opportunity to be around NHL at a young age, soaking in what his father and other players were doing on a day-to-day basis to succeed in the league.
"From what I can remember, I was a little kid, I don't think I realized when I was growing up going to the games how special it was," Leschyshyn said. "Looking back, it's pretty cool to have that opportunity to have your dad be that figure to look up to."
Among a group of peers all looking to stand out in front of Golden Knights management, Leschyshyn said he enjoyed the relationships forged between the players over the course of the week.
"You make good friends here at camp," Leschyshyn said. "We keep in contact throughout the season."
It's easy for players to follow each other on social media and play video games online together, thus continuing friendships made at development camps. Of course, when friendships are formed off the ice, it adds to the competition on the ice when Leschyshyn sees fellow Golden Knights prospects in the WHL.
"When we play each other, it's definitely fun competition," Leschyshyn said.
As Leschyshyn prepares for the 2018-19 season, the 19-year-old center looks to perpetuate the good habits that he's learned at Golden Knights development camp to continue fine-tuning his game. While he continues to grow as a player, he keeps his focus on remaining confident, sticking to his game, and making the name "Leschyshyn" his own.