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Future Watch: Jordan Eberle

by Kristi Hennessy / Edmonton Oilers
Jordan Eberle captures a Silver Medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships and is awarded with the tournament MVP

 At the young age of 15, Jordan Eberle began his junior hockey career in his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan. For the past four years, Eberle has been in a hockey spotlight and taken on a role similar to hockey icon Sidney Crosby appearing in commercials, sponsorship deals, and many many media interviews.

Fast-forward four years of playing for the WHL’s Regina Pats and here we are today counting down the days to the end of the season, and the end of his junior career. After this season, Eberle will turn the page on a new chapter of his professional hockey career and the Edmonton Oilers will be there to open the door for him.

Eberle was selected in the first round (22nd overall) in the 2008 NHL entry draft, by the Edmonton Oilers. Having grown up in Regina, Eberle was a childhood fan of the Oilers, even after his family moved to Calgary when he fourteen-years-old. Being drafted by his favorite team was a dream come true.

Eberle came to compete for a roster spot with the Oilers in the 2009 training camp and was one of the final players to be cut. He was sent back down to his WHL Regina Pats on September 27, 2009 for one more season of training and development. He raised the eyebrows of many as he reeled in 25 points in 12 games earning the WHL Player of the Month for September and October.

Internationally, he has competed in two World Junior Championships for team Canada, winning gold in 2009 and silver in 2010. He was named Tournament MVP and Best Forward at the 2010 World Junior Championships and is Canada's all-time leading goal-scorer at the tournament.

“The tournament is unbelievable to play,” said Eberle. “As a kid you grow up watching the tournament and to play in it twice, this year in my home province and my home country the last two years is great. It’s such an amazing experience even though we were a little short this year.”

Team Canada did come up short losing the Gold Medal game to team USA this past January in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Eberle and the Pats are hoping to squeeze in the playoffs for one last run at the Memorial Cup before he moves towards the NHL. Just like Team Canada, the Pats look to Eberle to be that clutch offensive player to help win big games. This pressure would put a toll on most players but for Eberle, he doesn’t let it get to him. He just plays the best he can and says that he just tries to get his team up by scoring as many goals as possible in crucial situations.

“I play the most minutes probably out of all the forwards and I’m looked to for the power play and I take a lot of the offensive productivity on my back,” said Eberle. “We haven’t been doing that well in the past few games and I take a lot of ownership on that.”

“It’s my last kick at the can,” he joked. “To not make the playoffs would be a huge disappointment and would leave a sour taste in my mouth especially after the loss in the World Juniors. I’m a little hungry for a win.”

With the Pats currently a handful of points out of a playoff spot and only a handful of games left to be played, it’s looking that the Pats will not be contending for a Memorial Cup and Jordan Eberle will finish his junior career in Regina. With that being said, right before the WHL trade deadline, there were talks of the Pats trading Eberle to a team that was sure to have a good go in the playoffs or even a secured spot in the Memorial Cup, like the Brandon Wheat Kings. These were all rumors as the Pats kept Eberle in hopes they would have one last push.

“I think the coaches realized that we have a chance here to do something and get into the playoffs even though we’re out right now. I think that’s the reason they kept me and a few other guys around. I fully agree with them and whatever would have happened I would have supported. It’s nice though, not many guys get to finish their career off in the same place they started.”

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