Jakob Chychrun, an A rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list for the 2016 NHL Draft, is in his second season with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenseman has four goals, 16 points, in 25 games this season. Born in Boca Raton, Fla., Chychrun is the son of former NHL player Jeff Chychrun. He has offered to maintain a blog for NHL.com leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo. His most recent post comes after being invited to Hockey Canada's national junior selection camp, which will be held Dec. 10-14 in Toronto.
I can't tell you how awesome it was to learn that I was invited to Canada's national junior selection camp. It has been a goal of mine to play in the World Junior Championship. It's a tournament I've been watching since a very young age, and to be invited is definitely a huge honor and I'm looking forward to it a lot.
I grew up in Florida but a lot of my family on dad's side lived in Ottawa. So during the Christmas break we'd head north and it was great to spend time with the family in Ottawa. We were driving toward the snow when most people in Canada were heading toward Florida, but we had lots of family and friends over to watch the World Junior Championship games.
I remember one year in particular when I was pretty young. I remember Santa Claus leaving me a couple of tickets in my stocking to see Canada play against the Czech Republic at Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa. I remember going with my dad and Grandpa John, who I call Bido; Bido means grandpa in Ukrainian. I loved being with my grandpa. He's a role model to me and I remember going to that game vividly, and it was an eye opening experience and a lot of fun.
I'm not feeling any particular pressure heading into select camp. The fact I am one of three draft-eligible players invited doesn't change too much in my mind. I've played against most of these guys. I played with a lot of them in the Under-17 tournament playing midget hockey a few years ago and these guys were in their first Ontario Hockey League season. It'll make for a more comfortable situation heading into camp. I know what I bring to the table and I don't think the fact I haven't been drafted yet puts any added pressure on me. I'll just try to go in there and fight for a spot on the team.
I feel like there's always pressure on Canada to win this tournament. I think Canada always expects to win and they had a very strong team last year in winning the gold medal. They say this year's camp has younger players and that's unusual for Canada. Traditionally they'll go for the highest age possible to form a team, but that's not the case this year. It'll be a younger group and coming in as defending champion there's obviously going to be a lot of pressure to win, as they expect to win all the time.
As far as our team in Sarnia, last week was a miserable one for us with three straight losses. It was definitely a long and tough road trip and disappointing for us as a group. We did some good things but overall it wasn't our best effort so we have a big week of practice and we're preparing to do well. We added forward Matt Mistele, who we got in a trade with the Oshawa Generals on Dec. 1 and we're excited about that and moving forward.
I think goals are tough for our team to come by lately so we've been working on getting more pucks and bodies to the net to create more traffic; that's the main focus right now. The addition of Mistele adds a high-end goal scorer to our roster. He's proven it year after year and has lots of experience as a fifth-year player. We're looking for him to maybe add that scoring touch we need. Hopefully we can turn things around.
Thanks for reading this month.
Follow Jakob Chychrun on Twitter at: @j_chychrun7