Rookie Eh­liz chas­ing NHL dream with Flames

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - KRIS­TEN AN­DER­SON kan­der­[email protected]

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.”

Yasin Eh­liz

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