After signing his entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks this past week, Shaunavon's Kole Lind says it just makes him want to ramp things up more on the ice.
The 19 year old has one more season of eligibility in major junior, where he is thriving with the BC division-leading Kelowna Rockets in the WHL, but it may not be needed.
Going into tonight's road game against the western conference-leading Everett Silvertips, Lind is the Rockets' highest point getter, with 35 goals and 50 assists for 85 points.
"I think nothing really changes at all, if anything the work begins now," said Lind from Everett this afternoon. "I think I have to work harder than ever to push myself to be at the next level and know how to work to get there. But obviously finish off the season strong here and bring a championship back to Kelowna."
David Kaye is the 6-foot-1 right winger's agent, and Lind said the process was neat to experience.
"It's obviously an amazing feeling for me - my first experience with it all. It was really cool going through the whole process. Having my parents by my side (they made the trip out west where the Rockets played in Prince George on Tuesday and Wednesday), who had done so much for me through it all. To be there while I signed a deal, it was an awesome feeling," Lind said, adding that he would tell Kaye what kind of stuff he was looking for in the deal, and then Kaye would iron out the details.
"It's definitely nice not having to worry about it too much, having someone to deal with it for me. Obviously he's probably a little bit better and more experienced with all that stuff in the first place, so that's nice."
While he had his parents with him midweek, Lind doesn't get to see a lot of faces from back home during the season. He feels that's been the hardest thing about getting to where he's at now.
"I just think all the different things you have to give up along the way, obviously moving from city to city and giving up a lot of friendships, and not getting to see as many of my buddies as I'd like to obviously sucks. Being away from home and everybody else probably has to be the biggest challenge for sure," he explained. "It's all part of growing up, but I think it still sucks not getting to see some familiar faces every once in a while."
But through the sacrifices come opportunity, and Lind has a lot of that. He's with a Canucks organization that has a lot of young talent, from Swedish star forward Elias Petterssen to high-end netminder Thatcher Demko to Brock Boeser, who is already torching NHL goaltenders as a 21 year old.
The whole "moving from city to city" trend doesn't appear done soon, as there's a good chance Lind could wind up in the professional ranks come the fall - whether it be in New York State with the Utica Comets or sticking in B.C. with the Vancouver Canucks. He could also wind up developing in the WHL for another season. Either way, his focus right now is hitting the playoffs on a roll (Kelowna has a sizable lead in the division - they're seven points up on Victoria with eight games left apiece).