Troy Hesketh captained Minnetonka High School to an appearance in the State Hockey Championship.
Oilers defence prospect Troy Hesketh will be moving on in his hockey career next season. On Tuesday, following the first day of Oilers Development Camp, he remarked that he wasn’t sure exactly where he would be moving.
Hesketh’s rights in the USHL are held by the Fargo Force. He could have joined Fargo this past season but decided to complete his senior year of High School
“I decided to stay back (and play for Minnetonka High School) instead of playing junior in the USHL,” said Hesketh following the prospects’ first skate. Hesketh captained a Minnetonka squad that ran roughshod over the competition for most of the season, compiling a dominating 27-2-2 record throughout the season. However, they ran into some roadblocks in the State Tournament. In the semifinals, Hesketh’s Skippers needed four overtimes to take out Hill-Murray. That game likely took just enough edge off his club as they fell 4-2 in the State Title game to Edina.
“It was a lot of fun. We didn’t pull through in the end but it was a fun season.”
The Oilers drafted the 6’2” 188-pound defenceman in the third round, 70th overall in last year’s NHL Entry Draft. He feels that as a physical blueliner he made great strides in building up his strength this past season. A growth spurt helped him quite a bit, too.
“I grew a bit. Got some size. Continued to get bigger, stronger. I’m trying to get better every day,” Hesketh remarked.
|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."
As of Tuesday morning, Hesketh remarked that he was set on going to Fargo next season but that may change as things often do in the hockey world.
“I’m headed to Fargo (USHL) right now. Tryouts in late July. Hopefully I’ll be on the crew there unless McDonagh signs in the NHL, then I’ll be going (to Wisconsin, NCAA).”
Lo and behold, the New York Rangers announced later that afternoon that Ryan McDonagh had signed an entry-level contract and the Wisconsin defenceman would be forgoing his Senior Year with the Badgers.
“I’d be playing more in the USHL so I think I’d develop more than playing in the fifth or sixth D in Wisconsin but either route would be great,” Hesketh remarked. It may soon be decision time for the D-man as a spot may have just opened up with the Badgers.
Earlier this season, edmontonoilers.com talked to Hesketh about the decision to attend Wisconsin – a school that current Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert captained to an NCAA championship several years ago.
“When choosing a school, I had a lot to select from. North Dakota, Wisconsin, U of Minnesota-Mankato, St. Cloud and Duluth. My whole family went through North Dakota for college so it was tough for them to see me turn that one down," Hesketh remarked.
"I chose Wisconsin for many reasons. They were the first team to notice my talent and skill in my freshman year of high school,” Hesketh continued. “My defence partner from my sophomore year, Jake Gardiner, is playing at Wisconsin. The coaching staff has worked with him so much and he has improved immensely.”
Gardiner will be entering his third season with the Badgers. He was a first-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2008, 17th overall. Growing up on a lake in Minnetonka, Hesketh said Madison just felt like home to him, too.
“I also really felt at home when I went on campus at Wisconsin. They have a beautiful campus on a lake and great atmosphere for all sports at Madison.”
This is Hesketh’s second Oilers Development Camp after attending last year's at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park.
“It’s great coming back, especially this year with all the attention – Hall and those guys,” he said. “The environment’s a little bit more fun.”
Last year at Development Camp in Sherwood Park probably no more than 50 fans showed up to watch the team play. This year, there were probably over 500 jamming the rafters at Clareview Arena.
“You end up working that much harder in the end,” Hesketh said of the fan interest. “Big turnaround this year. It’s not like last year at all. I’m loving it. Living the dream out there.”- With files from Kristi Hennessy