June 27, 2009 was just a day on the calendar for most people. For the High School Minnetonka Skippers Captain Troy Hesketh, this day would change his life.
It was day two of the 2009 NHL entry draft. Troy was being a typical teenager, sleeping in on a Saturday morning.
“It all started with a phone call early in the morning,” said Hesketh. “I thought it was one of my friends calling, wanting to go workout or go jet-skiing on the lake so I answered. It was my agent, Shjon Podein. The first thing he said was, "Troy, welcome to the NHL!" What? I asked in a raspy sleepy voice. "We did it big guy! Congrats! You went 71st overall to the Edmonton Oilers!" he continued.
"I flopped out of bed, ran downstairs to the coincidence of my name being called on the NHL network. My Mom and Dad were standing in front of the TV. My Mom started to cry with joy and my Dad gave me a big hug. It was an AWSOME experience!”
Hesketh 18, and his family are from Minnetonka, Minnesota, a small town with a population of about 56,000. They live right on a lake and enjoy jet-skiing in the summer. Troy currently sits at 6'2, 188 lbs and looks as though he might still sprout up even more. His brother is 6'6", 195 lbs and his Dad who played baseball and basketball through college is also 6'6".
|GET TO KNOW TROY HESKETH |
Q: Do you have a special reason that you wore 22 and now have 7?
A: “#7 was my number in the first year of high school. Before then, I was #22 (both me and my brother had been #22 for our whole careers) but #22 was taken by a senior in high school so I chose #7 because of Drew Akins. He is a big influence in my hockey career and a good family friend. That was his number when he was playing on the high school team here in Minnetonka.”
Q: Favorite team growing up?
A: "College team would be North Dakota and for NHL it would be the Colorado Avalanche. I admire Joe Sakic, he's one of my favorite players."
Q: What player would you say you mould your game after?
A: "I'd say Chris Pronger. He's an in-your- face guy and has a great stick. Great defensively, long stride, big guy with a great shot. He's got a bit more bite to him but I'd like to play like him."
Troy is in his senior year of high school and last as the Captain of the Minnetonka Skippers. So far this season, he has recorded two goals, 13 assists for 15 points in 11 games. On February 9, 2009, Hesketh agreed to a verbal contract with the University of Wisconsin. How did he choose between the schools offering him contracts?
“When choosing a school, I had a lot to select from. North Dakota, Wisconsin, U of Minnesota, Mankato, St. Cloud and Duluth,” said Hesketh. “My whole family went through North Dakota for college so it was tough for them to see me turn that one down," Hesketh explained.
"I chose Wisconsin for many reasons. They were the first team to notice my talent and skill in my freshman year of high school. I also noticed their amazing coaching staff and second to none defensive coach, Mark Osiciki. Also, my defence partner from my sophomore year, Jake Gardiner, is playing at Wisconsin. (Jake Gardiner was the first round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft to Anaheim Ducks). The coaching staff has worked with him so much and he has improved immensely. I also really felt at home when I went on campus at Wisconsin. They have a beautiful campus on a lake (like at home) and great atmosphere for all sports at Madison.”
Troy’s style of play has been described as a stay at home defensemen with really big potential. He’s a solid defender and smart in his defending skills. He does a good job of not only taking away lanes but time and ice from puck carriers as well.
“My coach would describe me as a great team leader, a hard to beat work ethic and easily coached. A player who plays "heads up hockey" and knows what to do with the puck before they get it. I have a great stick and maneuver well for my size with a good stride. He would also add that I play with an edge and passion for the game. Many have said that I play like Brett Burns on the Wild.”
Hesketh has so much to look forward to in the next few years. He attended Oilers development camp this past July and had nothing but a smile on his face the entire time. He says eveything has been such a great experience and is enjoying every minute of it.
“I might be chewing at the big a little bit and I’d love to fast forward to see what happens,” teases Hesketh. “But at the same time, I'm not in any rush to grow up. I'm still a kid. I have so much to look forward to and that just makes me want to work harder every day. I couldn't have picked a better organization to get selected by. I'm really proud to be an Edmonton Oiler.”