|Nick Chyzowski (16) of the Kamloops Blazers gives Vancouver|
Giants forward Ales Kilnar a shove.
(Murray Mitchell / Kamloops Daily News)
Daily News Sports Editor
It had been more than 20 years since someone wearing a Kamloops Blazers jersey sporting No. 16 with Chyzowski on the namebar had dangled in front of the home fans.
But such was the case Wednesday night when Nick Chyzowski, the 15-year-old son of former Blazers forward Dave Chyzowski, made his WHL debut as the locals scored a 7-4 exhibition victory over the Vancouver Giants.
Mom (Cindy) and Dad watched from an Interior Savings Centre suite as Nick picked up an
|Cindy and Dave Chyzowski watch as son Nick makes his |
WHL debut with the Kamloops Blazers.
(Murray Mitchell / The Daily News)
The teams will meet again Friday, this time in Ladner.
Dave Chyzowski played two full seasons (1987-89) with the Blazers and four games in 1989-90, all of them in Memorial Arena. Now the team’s director of sales and marketing, he laughed when asked if he had a case of butterflies.
“Yeah, lots,” he admitted, adding that he was more nervous on Tuesday night than he was during the game. “He’s 15 and this is a huge step. He just turned 15 in June and he’s out there against 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds.
“I know how hard it is to play at this level and he’s going to find out.”
So . . . did Dad have any words of advice before the game.
“In the truck coming here,” Dave said, with a chuckle, “he said, ‘Dad, don’t give me any advice. Just let me go play.’ ”
Which is pretty much what the kid did in a game that turned chippy in the second period. There were many cheapshots and few bon mots.
Playing left wing on a line with Aspen Sterzer and Rob Trzonkowski, Chyzowski looked nervous on his first shift 3:31 into the opening period. After that one, though, he appeared to be quite comfortable.
“I was a little bit nervous at first . . . on edge a bit,” Chyzowski said. “But as soon as I settled in it was not bad. It was good. There was a good pace to it, so that’s a good indicator of what to expect.”
Chyzowski even got on the scoresheet when he drew the second assist on Trzonkowski’s goal at 11:57 of the second period that gave the Blazers a 3-0 lead.
“That was pretty cool,” Chyzowski said of hearing his name on the public address system. “It was good to get my first point.”
Later, he was serving a high-sticking penalty when the Giants cut the Kamloops lead to 4-3 in the third period.
Chyzowski, who was a second-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft, will spend this season with the major midget Thompson Blazers. But you can bet he’ll be back with the big club in the not-too-distant future.
“Being up with this team gets addicting,” he said. “I just want to keep coming up here and doing my best. I’ll work hard with my major midget team and get the chance to play here again.”
Meanwhile, Dad was admitting to having a serious case of flashbacks.
“Even though I never played in this rink,” he said, “it’s nice to look back. When you get out into the working world, you forget about a lot of it. This has brought back a lot of memories.”
It also brought a message from another former Blazers forward.
Rob Brown, the franchise’s career scoring leader, sent Dave a text, reading: “I heard the kid is in. Wish him luck for me.”
Dylan Willick and Brendan Ranford each scored twice and added two assists. Willick was outstanding in all zones and finished plus-5. Ranford was plus-3. Cole Ully and Jordan DePape, the latter into an empty net, added a goal each for Kamloops.
The Blazers took advantate of a Vancouver team that wasn’t at all good defensively. Kamloops scored three times on breakaways and had enough odd-man breaks to do it for a month of regular-season games.
Alex Kilnar, Cain Franson, Taylor Makin and Marek Tvrdon replied for the Giants, who are 1-1.
JUST NOTES: After the game, the Blazers assigned Chyzowski to the Thompson Blazers, while sending D Connor Clouston to the midget AAA Medicine Hat Tigers and F Jesse Shynkaruk to the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts. . . . Clouston, the son of Medicine Hat GM/head coach Shaun Clouston, was a third-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . Shynkaruk was taken in the seventh round of the 2011 draft. . . . The Blazers now are carrying 27 players, including D Austin Madaisky, 20, who has signed with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, and F Devin Oakes, who has yet to receive medical clearance after a pair of off-season shoulder surgeries. . . . Kamloops F Chase Souto left the game at 1:43 of the second period after taking an Anthony Ast elbow/shoulder to the head. Ast received a major and game misconduct. After the game, Kamloops head coach Guy Charron said Souto was OK and that he had been held out for precautionary reasons. . . . Kamloops G Taran Kozun stopped 23 shots and looked sharp, especially with his legs. . . . The Giants started Tyler Fuhr, who is not related to Grant Fuhr, in goal, with Jackson Whistle coming on at 10:59 of the second. Fuhr stopped 15 of 17 shots, with Whistle blocking 12 of 16. . . . Tvrdon played his first game since returning to the Giants over the weekend. His departure from Slovakia had been delayed by visa problems. Tvrdon, who had 74 points last season, is the Giants’ top returning scorer. . . . The Blazers next play at home on Sept. 14 when they close out their exhibition season against the Prince George Cougars. . . . Kamloops opens the regular season at home on Sept. 21 against the Kelowna Rockets.
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