20 year-old centre, Travis Ewanyk, was one of a few players taking part in an informal skate at Terwillegar Community Rec Centre today. He is one of the Oilers prospects looking to make the jump to the professional ranks this season.
Ewanyk has spent the past five seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. He is coming off a season in which he had 23 points (8-15-23), including 15 assists, a career high, in 58 games. He missed games in November and December due to injury, but played strong in the playoffs. Ewanyk finished with 10 points, including six goals, in 22 postseason games.
The soon-to-be rookie says it’s finally settling in that he is moving up and out of junior hockey and into the big leagues.
“Yeah, a little bit,” said Ewanyk. “But I like it. It’s been my goal since I entered junior, to get out of it. So this is the year that I can make the jump.”
|Travis Ewanyk talks to OilersTV in Oklahoma City last season. |
This year will be Ewanyk’s first professional camp with the Oilers after a shoulder injury and the NHL lockout kept him out of the last two. Ewanyk is particularly looking forward to the Young Stars Classic prospect tournament in Penticton, B.C., September 5-9.
“It’s exciting. I know what kind of tournament it is. It’s hard and it’s hard hitting and it’s intense. I mean, it’s like playoff games there. Guys are trying to make main camp and trying to make pro teams and I look at the lineup and it’s exciting, the guys we’ve got.”
Ewanyk has been working with the local Oilers players in the off-season and has seen what it takes to be a professional. For example, he was joined by vets Ryan Smyth and Jesse Joensuu for Thursday’s informal skate.
“It just makes me hungrier to get to where they are because obviously I’m the young guy in the group coming out of junior and it just makes me want to be where they are, one day.”
Ewanyk is a local guy. He grew up just north of Edmonton in the suburb of St. Albert and has been a fan of the team his entire life. Today he sported the Oilers crest on his practice uniform. While it wasn’t a formal skate with the team, it was another surreal moment for the 2011 third-round pick.
“Every time you do it, it’s a dream come true. It’s my third year coming with the team now. But, every time I put (the jersey) on it kind of gives me goose bumps. I was one of those kids running around with pucks and autographs, just 15 years ago. It’s cool.”
Ewanyk visited Oklahoma City last season during the Barons’ playoff run. He is likely to return to the American Hockey League for his first pro season in 2013-14. What excites the young forward is joining a team with a winning culture that will eventually transition to what he hopes will be a career with the Oilers.
“Coming out of the Oil Kings, we had the same thing and it was a nice transition that way. Coming from one winning team to the other and that’s obviously something the Oilers are trying to build here. Obviously they have the guys to do it and I think it starts on the farm team and they’re doing a good job.”