Rookie Ehliz chasing NHL dream with Flames
Yasin Ehliz is one of the oldest players at the Calgary Flames rookie camp and, given his background, he could be one of the longest shots to translate his skills to the NHL level.
But his dream and his desire are no different from the 25 other hopefuls he’s skating with.
The 25-year-old left winger has skated on European ice surfaces in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga for the past decade, most recently with the Nuremberg Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers last season where he had 10 goals and 21 assists in 46 games.
The Flames, after noticing him at the Olympics in Pyeongchang where he played a part in the stunning semifinals upset of Team Canada, inked Ehliz to a two-way contract this summer and here he is.
“I’m just trying to work hard every day and show what I can and try to be focused on the game and enjoy the time with the boys,” Ehliz said. “I want to play every game. It doesn’t matter if it’s pre-season or not, I want to get the ice time.”
It’s one thing to skate on the North American-sized ice in summer development camp but when the live bullets are flying — like they were in Sunday’s 7-3 Flames rookies win over the Oilers on Wednesday at Red Deer’s Enmax Centrium — it’s a different story.
“It’s fun to play on the small ice; it’s fast,” said the five-foot-11, 190-pounder. “I like it. The first game wasn’t my best game but I’ll fix it, for sure. I’ve played the last eight years in Germany and everything is structured. It is faster, the game.”
That being said, most everything is different in Calgary. The rink’s atmosphere. The people. The culture.
But at the end of the day, it’s the same sport and Ehliz is soaking it all in. “When I stepped on the ice, it was an unreal feeling,” he said of Sunday ’s clash. “It was so nice. I had, how do you say it, goosebumps? It was amazing. In Germany or in Europe, the fans are singing the whole game and it’s loud the whole game.
“Here, it’s really loud when you score a goal. The fire is coming up everywhere. I was surprised at the first goal. But it’s nice to see how many families are coming with little kids and everyone’s happy. It’s nice to see.”