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Morgan Klimchuk (left) was drafted 28th overall by his hometown Calgary Flames in 2013. The Regina Pats forward sat down with Ink to talk about his experience. Photo by Colton Hordichuk.

Morgan Klimchuk’s journey to the pros has been filled with many accomplishments. The Regina Pats forward, who was drafted by his hometown Calgary Flames, competed in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and the IIHF World U18 Championship where he won a pair of gold medals with Team Canada. As well as being named the Denny’s Western Hockey League’s Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 23.

 

Klimchuk is currently in his fourth year with the Pats. The Blue and White’s assistant coach Josh Dixon has known Klimchuk for three out of those four years. Dixon is confident that the forward’s dedicated work ethic will allow him to take his game to the next level, and eventually crack a roster spot in the big leagues.

  

“Whether it’s extra time at the gym or whether it’s extra time on the ice. He’s extremely committed to his offseason training throughout the summer in Calgary,” Dixon said.

 

“Ever since he was a young boy, that’s always been his dream and he’ll do whatever it takes to get there.”

 

After being ranked 25th overall among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, Klimchuk made the trip to Newark, New Jersey to attend the NHL’s 2013 Entry Draft. The Calgary native sat down with Ink to talk about his experience.

 

So, what was the draft like?

 

It was pretty crazy and pretty surreal. You know, you kind of hear about it and you see it on TV before you go there, but when I went there, the arena was full and there was a bunch of New Jersey fans just screaming. I was pretty nervous because you don’t know how it’s going to play out at all. I was sitting there and 27 picks went by and then I knew I was going to be picked by the Flames because I found out 30 seconds before the pick. So, when I heard that and I heard my name called, it was pretty special, but it was pretty nerve-wracking up to that point.

 

What does it mean to you to be picked by the Flames?

 

It’s pretty special. I think to get drafted is one thing, and then to go in the first round is another thing. To go to your hometown team, a team that you grew up cheering for, and a team that you still look up to is something that is obviously a dream come true and something that I was pretty excited about.

 

And did you attend their off-season camp?

 

I went to the development camp in the summer with just the rookies and the people who haven’t played yet. I went to the main camp, but I was hurt this year so I couldn’t play. I just had to watch, but it was still a pretty good experience and something I’m thankful for.

 

What did you learn from watching the training camp?

 

Well, just how seriously they take pro hockey and how they’re always looking to get better every single day. You know, it’s the best players in the world there and every single day they’re working real hard to get that much better. I really appreciate seeing guys Mike Cammalleri and Mark Giordano working that hard.

 

Is your ultimate dream to play in the NHL?

 

Yeah, that’s kind of what it’s always been since I was young is just playing pro-hockey. That’s my dream. In 10 years from now, I want to either still be playing or just be retiring from a successful NHL career - knock on wood.

 

That’s the dream, hey? Ten years from now, retiring at 30 years old (laughs).

 

(Laughs) Yeah, I don’t know. It’s tough. If you’re playing in the NHL at 30, then you’re having a pretty good career. So, hopefully I get to play a bit before then.

 

Last but not least, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given while growing as a hockey player?

 

The best piece of advice I’ve been given is that when you think you’re done learning, or you think you know it all - you’re finished. I think that’s one of those things that I kind of incorporate every day, and something that’s really stuck with me ever since I heard that a long time ago from a guy named Pat Elynuik. He told me that. He said that you’ve always got to be developing, and that you’ve always got to be learning because as soon as you think you know everything, you’re finished.

 

In your own words, what’s an original piece of advice you’d give to young, aspiring hockey players?

 

You’ve got to enjoy it and make sure of that every single day. You’re playing for only one reason, and that’s because you love playing. If you’re doing it for anyone else other than yourself or just out of the fact that you love going to the rink and playing the game, then it’s probably not for you.