Former NHLer hopeful hockey dad
By Daniel Nugent-Bowman, The StarPhoenix
May 28, 2012
Saskatoon Blades bantam draft hopeful Connor Odelein participates in drills at the spring camp at Schroh Arena Saturday.
Photograph by: Gord Waldner, The StarPhoenix , The StarPhoenix
Even though Selmar Odelein has been through many weekends just like this one, he never grows tired of them.
Once a defenceman for the Regina Pats and Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s, Odelein has long since been in hockey dad mode.
Over the years, he's driven sons, Scott and Josh, to many WHL camps for the Kamloops Blazers and Prince Albert Raiders, respectively.
His youngest son, Connor, was the next in line over the weekend as he took part in his first spring camp for the Saskatoon Blades.
"It's fun to see them go through all the experiences that I went through," said Selmar, who took in Saturday's on-ice session at Schroh Arena with his wife, Sandy. "I guess it's kind of that father-son bond."
Connor Odelein was selected in the ninth round of the WHL bantam draft by the Blades earlier this month.
The 14-year-old winger was one of 29 prospects to receive a tour of Credit Union Centre and Marion Graham Collegiate, as well as take part in practices and fitness testing.
His parents were right there with him, causing his father to delve into his memory bank.
"I remember what it was like going from a small-town country school to a city school," said Selmar, who moved from Quill Like to Regina to play with the Pat Canadians as a 15-year-old.
"It's been more of a walk down memory lane.
"I always told my kids it's a big adventure. You're lucky to get to do what you're doing. There are a lot of kids across Western Canada that would love to experience it."
In addition to his father and older brothers - Josh, 17, is currently on the Raiders' protected list as a blue liner - Connor also has his uncle to look up to on the ice.
Lyle Odelein played defence for the Moose Jaw Warriors before winning the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993, earning 50 goals, 252 points and 2,316 penalty minutes in 1,056 NHL games.
"They help me with some stuff, but they pretty much let me be my own player," Connor said. "I think I get a few more points than most of the guys in the family.
"Not as many penalty minutes, though," he added, with a chuckle.
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Quill Lake native played bantam for the Humboldt Broncos last season, picking up seven goals and 14 points in 24 games.
Connor was one of nine 2012 draft picks in town for spring camp. Those players can't suit up in more than five regular season games with the Blades this coming season.
"It's more of an orientation weekend where they get to meet everyone involved with our organization," said Blades head coach and general manager Lorne Molleken. "This weekend has always been very positive for us. The players travel in from a great distance in some cases. It just shows how committed they are."
The rest of those in attendance were born in 1995 or 1996, meaning they are eligible for full-time WHL status in the fall.
Molleken said he anticipates starting the 2012-13 season with three to five players that were on the ice this weekend. He added he expects 17-year-old Alex Moodie - who attended the camp - to battle Andrey Makarov and Adam Todd for one of the goaltending jobs in the fall.
"From this point on, it's really going to be up to them," he said. "What they put into it is what they're going to get out of it. The opportunity is there to show what they're capable of doing."
Connor Odelein will play for the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League's Yorkton Harvest in the fall, the same team he played three games for last season alongside Josh.
And his father will be there, watching and offering a bit of advice just as he he's done for all of his children.
"Lots of miles we've put on in the last few years," said Selmar, noting that Scott, now 27, played three seasons with the SJHL's La Ronge Ice Wolves. "The only thing I say is you have to work on your skating and compete hard. They're going to have their down days so I just remind them there are better days ahead."
BLADE BITS: Landyn Hickmott - the Blades' first pick, 66th overall in 2011 - got tangled up during a one-on-one drill Saturday and crashed heavily into the boards. He sustained a minor shoulder injury and was kept off the ice Sunday as a precaution.
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