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Connor excited to hit the links

Jets forward taking part of 100th Players Cup this week

by Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV / Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG - Kyle Connor is a two time 30 goal scorer in the National Hockey League and is clearly very good at what he does on the ice.

This Thursday at Southwood Golf and Country Club, a new challenge awaits. Connor is set to tee it up at the 100th edition of the Players Cup.

"I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun out here," said Connor who is playing on a sponsor's exemption this week. 

"Getting to watch some of these great players' shots and get to know what it's like to play an event such as this. Just really excited."

Last summer Connor's linemate Mark Scheifele, had an opportunity to take part of the Players Cup. Scheifele shot a 15-over 87 during the first round and followed that up with a 14-over 86 in round two. He didn't make the cut, but Connor made sure to inquire about his experience.

"We played a couple rounds together this summer and I've been picking his brain about the tournament," said Connor.

"(Scheifele) said to just enjoy it and make sure you practice the four to five footers."

Scheifele mentioned a year ago that he was nervous before teeing off on the first hole saying he blacked out on the tee box during his initial drive. Even though Connor has played Southwood numerous times, he has no doubt that he will be nervous with more eyes on him this time around.

"I'm sure there will be some (nerves) coming up to the first tee box," admitted Connor. 

"But I think once you get out there, I've played so many rounds as a kid too, it's kind of like playing another golf round after that first tee shot."

The 22-year-old doesn't have a set number in mind with how low he wants to shoot at the tournament this week. However, he plans on using this opportunity to learn how to be a better golfer.

"Hopefully I get a better sense (of what it takes) throughout this week at the tournament," said Connor. 

"Just the mental preparation and just the attention to detail. You are grinding out there on every single shot and it's something I'm looking forward to learning about."

Connor tees off at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday and then at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

ICE CHIPS

Away from the course, Connor remains without a new contract - a common trend in the league this off-season. See Mikko Rantanen in Colorado and Mitch Marner in Toronto.

The Michigan product is coming off a career best 66 points in 2018-19 and is hopeful a new deal will get done before training camp begins in mid-September.

"Yeah that's definitely the plan. A player never wants to miss time in training camp," said Connor.

"You know it's tough always coming in and not getting that preparation and time with the teammates in practice. That's definitely a goal for sure."

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