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NHL Draft

Avalanche first-round pick Jost 'captain material'

GM Sakic praises young center who modeled game after him growing up

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- Tyson Jost felt more than a few butterflies and goosebumps when he entered the Colorado Avalanche locker room at Pepsi Center for the first time Monday.

Jost, 18, who was selected by the Avalanche with their first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2016 NHL Draft on Friday, was trying to visualize seeing his name atop one of the lockers.

"It was the first thing I did," he said. "I want to play here someday and I want to help this team win a Stanley Cup, and I'm going to do whatever it takes. I looked at the logo, I looked around at all these names. There's such a great tradition, and I hope to be sitting next to these guys one day."

It will be at least another year before that can happen. Jost, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound center, will attend the University of North Dakota in the fall after scoring 42 goals and 62 assists in 48 games this season for Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League.

"I'm so excited to go there and try to make it back-to-back national championships," Jost said. "[College] is a route that a lot more people are pursuing, something that I have a lot of passion for. It's going to be really huge for me next year. I'm going to develop as a person and a player. I really think North Dakota can do that for me. You look at the numbers that they have with putting people in the NHL, I think it's 15 percent. No other junior team has that. Guys like Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks) went there, Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild), Travis Zajac (New Jersey Devils) ... those are some pretty high-end players. I hope I can add my name to that list."

Video: Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic on drafting Jost

No pressure, but Jost's game has been compared favorably to that of Avalanche executive vice president and general manager Joe Sakic, who retired after the 2008-09 season and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

"I always watched him on his highlight videos on YouTube," said Jost, who was three years old when Sakic helped the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in 2001. "I've seen a lot of his videos. When I got to shake his hand (on Friday), it was pretty special."

Sakic, who had 625 goals and 1,641 points in 1,378 NHL games, said Jost is "probably more of a complete player than I was" at the same age. "I was more of the offensive guy. I learned how to be better defensively, but he plays both ends, a 200-foot game. He can score goals, he's got great vision. His compete level all over the ice is what everybody's going to be excited about.

"Everywhere he's gone he's been a leader. Just by listening to him talk, he commands a lot of respect. He's just a natural leader. He's captain material."

Jost first heard of Sakic while being coached by his grandfather, Jim Jost, who got emotional after hearing Tyson's name called at First Niagara Center. 

"He's a player that my Gramp would always tell me, 'I want you to shoot the puck like Joe Sakic does,'" he said. "My Gramp would always take me out to outdoor rinks in St. Albert (Alberta). I remember him always saying, 'I want you to play like Joe Sakic.' I kind of always had that little vision in the back of my mind."

Video: Avalanche draftee's grandpa cries in excitement

Tyson was raised by a single mother, Laura Jost, who coached him in hockey and her daughter, Kacey, in volleyball. Jim Jost would take Tyson to the rink when she was working.

When it became apparent that Tyson had the potential to develop into an exceptional player, the decision was made for him to move from Alberta to Kelowna, British Columbia, at age 13 to continue his development. His cousin Brendan attended the Pursuit of Excellence School there, so it seemed a good fit. Laura's parents made the transition easier by moving with him.

"We have such a great relationship with our family," Tyson said. "A single mother, my Gram and Grampa are a huge part of my life. He was always looking after me and we created a pretty good relationship. I guess you could say he's kind of my father figure. I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for them.

"My mom, she sacrificed so much. My sister, I'm never going to be able to repay her. My mom worked for everything that she had in life, and that's something I try to implement on the ice. I worked so hard to get to this point and I'm going to keep on doing that until I reach my ultimate goal, which is to play in the NHL and win some Stanley Cups."

Video: Tyson Jost meets the media as a member of the Avs

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