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Kamloops Blazers pick Macleod player in draft

laramie kostelanski

Laramie Kostelansky of Fort Macleod was drafted by the Western Hockey League's Kamloops Blazers.

Laramie Kostelansky can be forgiven if he seemed a little distracted earlier this month in his classes at F.P. Walshe school.
The 14-year-old right winger was monitoring on-line the progress of the 2012 Western Hockey League draft.
Laramie saw one of his hockey dreams come true when he was selected by the Kamloops Blazers with their 10th pick.
“It was a relief, but also it was really exciting at the time to know a team wanted me,” Laramie said.
Laramie had an inkling the Blazers would call his name, since the club had contacted him before the draft.
“They asked me if I was interested in playing in the WHL, and then they told me I had a pretty good chance of going in the draft,” Laramie said.
That was great news for Laramie, a six foot 165-pound right winger with the Bantam AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes.
“Playing in the Dub has been a goal of mine probably since I started playing Bantam,” Laramie said. “I always thought the WHL would be pretty cool to play in. It would be a great experience.”
Laramie was familiar with the Blazers, who have produced their fair share of NHLers, including Laramie’s favourite player, Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames.
“They’re a good organization,” Laramie said of the Blazers, who racked up 99 points in regular season to finish first in the B.C. Division of the WHL’s Western Conference.
The Blazers beat Vancouver Giants in the first round of the WHL playoffs before being eliminated in the second round by Portland Winter Hawks.
“Everybody says they’re a really good organization to go to. They’ve always been good.’
Heading into the 2012 Western Hockey League draft, Laramie was coming off a strong season with his Bantam AAA club.
Honoured as the Hurricanes’ most valuable player, Laramie totalled 13 goals and 26 points in 31 games while racking up 70 penalty minutes.
“Overall it was a pretty solid year,” Laramie said. “I started out a little slow but towards the end of the season I started to pick it up.”
Now that the excitement of the WHL draft has passed, Laramie is doing the hard work necessary to impress the Blazers coaching staff at the rookie camp Aug. 22-25 in Kamloops.
“Mostly it’s being in shape for everything, fitness testing, being mentally and physically in shape for playing at the higher level, the faster pace.”
Laramie has been training for eight years with fitness expert Trevor Hardy, a Fort Macleod product who has a gym in Lethbridge.
“We work on strength, speed, a quick first step, making sure you’re getting faster, more power.”
A Grade 9 student at F.P. Walshe school, Laramie travels into the city three or four times a week to train, and will step that up to five days a week this summer.
“It’s probably helped me being stronger than most people, being able to outwork people in the corners,” Laramie said of the benefits of working with Hardy. “Having that strength to get to the front of the net and win the battles . . . just play tough pretty much.”
Laramie considers himself a grinder who works hard down low and battles hard in front of the net, scoring “dirty” goals, with some playmaking for good measure.
“I think I’m a good leader too, maybe.”
Laramie was cut during tryouts for the Alberta Cup this spring, which features the best players his age in Alberta in an annual tournament.
“I was pretty disappointed. I thought I had a really good chance at making that team,” Laramie said. “It kind of set me back a little bit. I’m trying to use it as motivation to try harder, and know that nothing is a guarantee.”
Laramie does not have grand expectations for the Blazers rookie camp, since as a 15-year-old next season he could only play five games in the WHL.
“I want to have a good outing and show them who I am, so they want me back next year. I really want to make an impact in the camp.”
Laramie has sought the advice of his older brother Kolton, who attended the Vancouver Giants rookie camp.
Laramie expects to be playing hockey next season in Lethbridge, with the AAA Midget Hurricanes, and has identified some areas in which he wants to improve to further his chances of one day playing in the Western Hockey League.
“I need to have a little bit quicker first step, and a little more vision on the ice. I need a quicker release on my shot.”

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