Don't worry about young Schaber

SCOTT FISHER, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

First-round bantam draft picks have been known to go through the motions.

Sure, they're still trying to impress the WHL coaching staff in their search for increased ice time.

But the sense of desperation is largely missing as they're all but assured a roster spot.

Chase Schaber is different.

He desperately wants to play for the Calgary Hitmen.

"I have to make sure I make that roster," said the 16-year-old rookie, who was last year's top bantam pick.

"I've been focused on that for the last year, getting myself in the right mindset."

With available roster spots dwindling by the day, Schaber is intent on earning his jersey.

And while he's not going to break any scoring records in his first season, no one is going to question his work ethic.

"I'm tenacious," he said. "I'll get the puck, don't worry about that. I'll bang and crash, and I'll put it in the net when I get the opportunity.

"And I won't be responsible for a goal going in my own net."

Schaber played midget AAA last season with the Red Deer Optimist Rebels.

But he knew his future was in Calgary and said he worked on his all-around game last season in order to ensure he'd be ready for the WHL.

"Every time I got on the ice with the Optimist Rebels, I thought about (this season) and the opportunities that would be coming my way," he said.

"I worked as hard as I could to reach this goal."

Schaber and the rest of the rookies went through fitness testing Wednesday before hitting the ice yesterday at the Don Hartman N.E. Sportsplex.

"Fitness testing went great," he said. "I did my homework big-time and focused on training this summer.

"I concentrated on what I needed to bring to this camp and pushed myself to the limit."

Hitmen GM/head coach Kelly Kisio said he was impressed with the kid, who added 10 lb. of muscle over the summer.

"He controlled the puck, is a good skater and competes hard," Kisio said. "We know what he's all about.

"And he'll get better and better in main camp."


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