By Lethbridge Herald on May 12, 2015.
You’ve got to do the “little things” right, according to popular sports-cliche wisdom.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes took care of one of those little things on Monday when they announced the signing of five-foot-nine, 160-pound defenceman Calen Addison. Addison is the Brandon AAA Wheat Kings star the franchise selected second overall at last Thursday’s WHL bantam draft.
As a little player, Addison has developed a skating stride which set him head and shoulders above the competition, with only five-foot-10 Ty Smith picked ahead of him. The Spokane Chiefs announced the signing of Smith on Monday.
Addison scored 45 goals in 31 games in bantam AAA this season, leading the league despite his position on the back end. He also put up 31 assists. And while the team still hasn’t signed 2014 second overall pick Jordy Bellerive, getting Addison inked shows the best players in the west are more than happy to come to Lethbridge.
“It was a great feeling,” Addison said about being the second overall pick. “And just a privilege to be picked by Lethbridge and especially so high, it meant a lot for me and my family and coming to Lethbridge, it is just a huge honour.”
He punctuated each of his answers during a media conference call with how excited he was to get playing. The Hurricanes had Addison as their man for awhile and wasted no time talking to him prior to the draft. General manager Peter Anholt said he could not take his eyes off Addison during the scouting process.
Despite his smaller stature, Addison is adept at using his body along the boards to block the puck and get possession. His eye-hand co-ordination allows him to pick the puck off the boards quickly and he’s got the speed to make space and the smarts to get the puck out quickly.
If his feet get free, Addison is impossible to stop with a mix of acceleration and overall speed. On video, he regularly uses his superior skating to get the puck out of trouble. Once he’s in the offensive zone, the statistics speak for themselves.
“I feel my biggest aspect is my skating but also my hockey IQ and making good passes and hard passes, are definitely key assets to my game,” said Addison. “I just like to keep those things going and they can help me be the best player I can be.”
On draft day, Addison said his family gathered for the short wait until his name was called. While he knew it was coming, he said it was still a thrill.
“Probably about two weeks before the draft I had a good idea where I was going and just from that day on, I’ve been really excited to join the organization,” said Addison.
“We had my grampa here, he was quite happy for me, he was losing it,” said Addison. “But it was a very exciting day for my family, just to find out where you’re going to be for the next few years, it’s just a big change in life.”
One he’s ready for. Addison said he plans to stick with his game the way it is, while working on his strength and always improving as he grows and matures. There isn’t much he needs to add aside from that.
“I’ve got to work on my strength and speed and quickness and I’ll be fine,” he said. “I don’t want to change up my game too much. You get picked for what you’re good at and you keep working on the things you’re not. Hopefully things will work out for me without changing too much.”
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