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Hockey elite strives to make next level of play

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By Taylor Weaver

Reporter

High River’s own Corban Knight is taking the necessary steps to pursue a career as a professional hockey player after a very successful four-year career playing NCAA hockey for the University of North Dakota’s (UND) Sioux.

Knight has moved back to the town he grew up in and calls home after he finished at UND and is looking to the future.

After being drafted in 2009 by the Florida Panthers as a fifth round draft pick, Knight decided to finish his education.

“I am glad I have an education in my back pocket as a fall back incase anything happens with my hockey career,” Knight said. “I’ll be back here for the summer; working out and sitting on my hands, waiting for August 15 when the free agent period opens up.”

If a player takes the college hockey route, once drafted, they have four years from when they are drafted to get a contract. If they don’t get a contract in that period of time, they become a free agent.

On August 15, players coming out of college play the waiting game in hopes that one of the teams in the NHL take interest in them.

Knight didn’t sign a contract with Florida in 2009,

“If any team wants to show interest and take me, I will be more than happy to play. The NHL is the NHL; if a team wants to take me I’ll be more than happy to play,” Knight said.

Come August 15, if no other teams show interest, Knight can still sign a contract with Florida with they still want him.

Once Knight signs an entry level contract, he will play for that team for two years, and then become a restricted free agent.

“I work out in Calgary at Crash Conditioning with guys like

Jordan Eberle, Thomas Hickey and Andrew MacWilliam,” Knight said. “It’s pretty neat to be able to work out with the best in the world and see where they’re at. They’re an awesome bunch of guys; it’s great because we’re all around the same age and they have been in the same situation as I am in right now.”

Playing college hockey has helped Knight mature on and off the ice. Playing hockey against men older than he is, along with being away from home for four-years has brought Knight to a new level of play.

“It helped make me a more complete and a more consistent hockey player,” he said.

Knight helps hockey players in the community with their conditioning in the off-season at Peak Potential Fitness. He runs clinics three-times a week for players who want to improve their conditioning for the season to come.

“It’s fun and I really like working with younger kids and seeing how much passion they have for the game,” he said. “They are 15 to 19 years old. I know how important conditioning is and it’s good to get a head start over the summer.”

High River is Knight’s home and he has family and friends who have been very supportive throughout his career thus far.

“This is my home and it’s so nice to be home and it’s definitely a special place for me,” he said. “It’s nice to be home and get back into the swing of the community.”

The next level of hockey for Knight is going to be much more physical than college play and he is doing everything he can to ensure his level of fitness is where it should be for his first NHL training camp which he is hoping to attend this fall if selected by a team.

 

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