Myles Rumsey doesn’t want a cup of coffee with the big club. He wants the whole pot.
After spending this offseason in eager anticipation of the 2005-06 Western Hockey League campaign, the Swift Current Broncos defenseman started off his season in a way he’s never before — at a National Hockey League rookie camp, where he got a taste of the NHL lifestyle.
Drafted in the seventh round, 221st overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames, Rumsey spent several days in Cowtown getting acquainted with both his new organization and fellow Flames prospects.
The draft itself, held in Ottawa, Ontario wasn’t something Rumsey spent little time worrying about. Out of town relaxing in the comforts of mother nature, Rumsey was excited, but not worried when the phone rang.
“I was actually out of town camping,” recalled the Flames draft pick. “I got the call and I was really excited, especially going to a team like Calgary. It’s huge. I love the way these guys play. Hopefully something can work out there.”
The event, held from September 8th to September 12th at local rinks in Calgary was a hockey culture shock for the native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who was in attendance at his first-ever professional training camp.
“It was a real eye-opener,” admitted Rumsey, who has 10 points in 126 career games, including six points in 57 games last season.
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“It is probably the hardest, most fun time I’ve had playing hockey. Those guys, they treat you great, but they’re on you, on you all the time. It was an eye-opener to compare the leagues.”
Re-assigned to Swift Current on September 12th, the camp was an experience that Rumsey has hoped to bring back to his Broncos squad.
“It’s completely different compared to (the NHL). Guys there are so fast. They shoot the puck hard. Everything has to be hard. I really learned a lot from there and have tried to bring it back here (to junior).”
With a better realization of what he needs to improve on, Rumsey feels he’s more prepared for a successful season in junior. Citing he needs to improve his overall game, Rumsey has realized that the game is played by bigger, faster players, and in order to make an impact, he has to play bigger and faster as well.
“The speed, the strength of those guys there are really strong and really fast. I’ve got to work on that and get myself better,” said Rumsey, who has just one point in 13 games while seeing time in Swift Current’s top defensive pair, often against the top lines of opposing teams.
Though those aren’t the only areas of improvement the 6’1, 183lb blueliner will see in his game. Looked upon as a veteran of the young Swift Current Broncos squad, leadership will be an important role in Rumsey’s development as well.
Wearing a letter to indicate he’s an alternate captain for his club, Rumsey has taken it upon himself to provide leadership.
With 15 skaters eligible for the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and only two other players already drafted in Ned Lukacevic, a fourth round selection of the Los Angeles Kings in 2005 and Kyle Moir, a fifth round selection of the Nashville Predators in 2004, the role of leader is one that Rumsey certainly isn’t taking lightly on a very young squad.
“I’m taking this leadership role hugely right now,” admitted Rumsey. “I’m really fortunate to have that letter on me. I’m working really well with the younger guys and we’ve got a lot of respect in that dressing room right now.”
It’ll be up to Rumsey, in part, how far Swift Current manages to go in the Western Hockey League this season. With just a 4-7-0 record to start the season, the rookie-laden club will be looking to draw on Rumsey’s past experiences and leadership as inspiration.
Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.