Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, but not on the same as day as those in the states do. For Travis Konecny, the official day of giving thanks is the second Monday of every October.
That being said, now that he’s playing below the border where Thanksgiving falls this Thursday, it’s never too late for him to give praise to those who helped get him to this point.
At the start of this year, Konecny was nothing more than a flashy prospect in the Ontario Hockey League with lofty aspirations of making the Flyers roster out of camp. The odds were stacked against him because of the assortment of forwards already on the roster and the philosophy of general manager Ron Hextall that leans more towards being conservative with his young talent than rushing them out onto the ice.
So it’s no surprise Konecny has plenty to be thankful for this time around. He is grateful for the opportunity given to him by the Flyers, who selected him as the No. 24 pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and the trust that management had in him to go out and perform as a 19-year-old rookie.
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Who else does Konecny want to give thanks to?
While the majority of people look towards their family first when giving thanks, for a professional athlete, there really is a lot to be said about what their parents and relatives go through to help them along the way. Hockey players aren’t born. They’re developed, and who has more impact over a child’s development than his family?
“[My parents] put in a lot of work towards helping me play hockey over the years,” Konecny said. “[My aunts and uncles] just getting me to the rinks when my parents or brother wasn’t available. Big thanks to them.”
Yes, those 6 a.m. road trips for travel hockey are only made possible by willing parents who wake up at 5 a.m. to get the car packed and the kids situated before that weekend’s tournament. Konecny owes a lot of his success to those early mornings and sometimes 12-hour days.
His training staff
What was the knock on Konecny coming into the draft? His size and strength.
The forward took notice and set out to dismiss the naysayers. Watching him now, strength is hardly an issue for him as he has been nothing short of a little bowling ball on the ice. He credits the work of his training staff back home for helping him reach this point in not only his skill, but his strength on the ice.
He singled out “TPH sports” which stands for Total Package Hockey, a training facility based in London, Ontario. Konecny wants to thank Dwayne Blais, the TPH director, and Mitch Stewart, the strength and conditioning coach at TPH, for helping him “get to that next step in the NHL.”
Everyone from Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol to his old head coach at his first junior league club (Oshawa Generals), Bob Jones, have guided Konecny along his hockey journey.
“Each coach brings something valuable to the table and teaches you something different and new,” Konecny said. “Thank you to all those guys who have helped me.”
Keeping Up with Konecny past diaries: