So it begins for the sixth overall pick — Monahan already meeting Flames fans everywhere
Ottawa 67’s captain impressed with city’s loyal hockey supporters
Calgary Flames prospect Sean Monahan does the 10-second sprint test under the guidance of kinesiologist Grace Kary in the Human Performance Lab at the University of Calgary on Wednesday. On-ice sessions for the NHL team’s development camp begin on Thursday morning at Canada Olympic Park.
Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald
Now he knows — keep a Sharpie in his holster at all times.
Because if Sean Monahan had been wondering at all about Calgary’s status as a hockey market, he got certain validation this week.
The Flames’ top choice at the recent National Hockey League draft, Monahan has already been rattling off autographs for the team’s keen boosters — and they’re everywhere.
On the plane ride to Calgary — “There were people on the flight who knew who I was . . . it was pretty cool.”
Upon his arrival at the airport — “There were a few fans that wanted pictures and stuff. It’s pretty awesome how much support (the Flames) get.”
Meaning, for the 18-year-old, it has started. For signatures and beyond.
“They’re obviously supportive and loyal hockey fans,” said Monahan. “It’s really cool. I love being around those kinds of fans and doing things for them.
“It’s going to be a blast to play here in the coming years.”
On June 30, the rebuilding Flames had grabbed the Ottawa 67’s captain sixth overall. The highly regarded Monahan will get a long look at main camp in the fall.
But right now, the young centreman’s focus is the team’s development camp. Fitness testing took place Wednesday at the University of Calgary. Monahan — and 43 other prospects — will be on the ice Thursday at WinSport’s Ice Complex.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said the six-foot-two, 187-pounder. “I want to make the team . . . so I want to make an impression. I think getting to know the guys here, I’m doing everything I can to show that I’m a good player and a good person. I’m just excited to be able to do that here.”
Monahan’s group is scheduled for a morning session.
And for all his confidence, he acknowledges that there may be butterflies.
“I guess I’m a little nervous,” said the Brampton, Ont., native, who’s wearing No. 23. “I don’t really know what to expect right now. But I think I’ll be fine, come (Thursday), when I step on the ice.”
Camp features six days of team sessions, including a pair of scrimmages (Saturday and Monday).
“It’s just showing your commitment — being early, being the hardest worker,” Monahan said. “I try to be the hardest worker at whatever I do. By doing that, that makes a big impression and leaves a big statement. Being an all-around good person and getting along with everyone — obviously, the team wants a character guy. And that’s what I try to do.”
The Flames’ track record in the first round isn’t so hot. But it had been 15 years since they’d picked as high as No. 6, so the city has lofty hopes for Monahan.
“I think you have a little bit of pressure,” he said, “but I just try to be myself. That’s what got me here. So I’m just going to work hard and be the person I am and the player I am. That’s my goal.”
For Ottawa, Monahan had collected 78 points in each of the past two seasons. All told, through three winters, he put nearly 200 OHL games in the bank.
In other words, he’s ready to move on. That first step took place in Newark, N.J.
“It was crazy — come draft day, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Monahan. “Getting drafted by Calgary was pretty special. It was a place I wanted to play. Playing in a Canadian city is awesome. It doesn’t really sink in for a while, so it hasn’t really felt real. But I guess it’s starting to sink in now. I want to make an impact — so a lot of hard work.”
C-NOTES: C Mark Jankowski becomes the Flames’ third forward prospect to be invited to Canada’s world junior selection camp this summer. Monahan and RW Emile Poirier are also attending . . . The Flames, according to RDS, have offered a contract to LW Steve Begin, 35. He skated in 36 games last season, garnering eight points. His salary last season was $525,000 . . . Bodog.com has set the over-under for Boston RW Jarome Iginla’s production this season — 27.5 for goals, 61.5 for points . . . Toronto signed C Joe Colborne, of Calgary, to a one-year (one-way) deal worth $600,000.
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