After signing his first professional contract within a span of
days of teammate Tim Konsorada in early June, then Brandon Wheat King defenseman
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen probably
figured he’d spend another season alongside his captain, making
the jump to the professional ranks together, as teammates.
Instead, Tollefsen is some 3000 miles away with the Syracuse Crunch, in
his first season of professional hockey, and his first season without
his Brandon Wheat King leader, teammate and friend at his side. Meanwhile,
the Columbus Blue Jackets optioned Brandon Wheat Kings captain Tim Konsorada back to his Western
Hockey League club.
seemed like the best thing to do was to get
another year in junior under my belt and build my confidence,”
explained Konsorada. “This is the best place for me to play this
season, and develop as a player.”
It’s been the place the Lamont, Alberta native has spent parts
of the last five years developing. After being drafted in the first
round, 13th overall in the 1999 Western Hockey League’s Bantam Draft,
Konsorada has spent every season since draping the yellow and gold of
the Wheat Kings on his chest.
While Konsorada has no chance to eclipse Dwayne Gylywoychuk‘s club record 323
games set from 1989-1994, he certainly will have his total closer to the top. In fact, had he not missed nearly the entire 2003-04 season with what originally was
thought to be necessary season ending shoulder surgery in September, Konsorada
may very well have the title on his own. Losing a season of development
was more of a concern than the shot at a club record to the
right-winger turned centerman.
was really difficult,” began Konsorada, who after tonight now sits with
20 points on the season after a 5-5 tie against the Calgary
Hitmen, the leader in assists. “I had a hard time with
(the injury). When I got back I really didn’t find my game.”
Konsorada managed to skate in 25 games last season, and suit up
for 11 playoff games as well. Through those 25 games, Konsorada managed
a respectable point total, with 21 points in the regular
season and another 7 points in the postseason. Konsorada
didn’t appear comfortable on the ice in his return, however, with his
shoulder clearly not at 100 percent. A clear indication of this came during
playoff time, when the defensively responsible winger was -12 over the
course of that 11-game span.
With a full offseason to relax and rehab his shoulder, Konsorada
returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings set on erasing the 2003-04 season
from everyone’s memory banks.
“This is a
big year for
me,” said Konsorada before beginning to rattle off his goals for the
2004-05 season. “I didn’t play at all last year. I need it to play
back on track, play a full season, and get my confidence back.”
appears as though the 168th overall selection in the 2002 National
Hockey League Entry Draft is doing just that. Konsorada is already just
one point behind his entire point total from last season, despite
playing eight fewer games. While Konsorada has always been skilled,
perhaps he’s using last season as a little extra motivation or
incentive, feeling he has something to prove.
“I think a
from last year,” Konsorada agreed. “It was a really disappointing year for me last year, and
this year’s a whole new start for me, so I’m taking it like that.”
But for the
most part, the 6’1, 215-pound Konsorada is more then ready to let his
on-ice performance speak louder then the words out of his mouth.
Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.