Kosterman hungry to make point

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

The Calgary Hitmen have a few open spots on the back end.

Their top draft pick from two years ago just happens to be a blueliner.

Logic dictates local product Peter Kosterman already has a spot on the WHL club.

He doesn't necessarily have to wow everyone in attendance at rookie camp, which opened yesterday with fitness testing. He just has to do enough to show he belongs.

But Kosterman isn't taking anything for granted. He plans on earning his spot and every minute of ice-time he receives.

"I don't feel I have a spot guaranteed at all," Kosterman said. "I definitely want to play here, and some people have said that I should be here, but I have to show my stuff (today) and during the week.

"I have to step it up to another level."

Hitmen head scout Brad Whelen is eager to see how the former Calgary Buffaloes standout performs as rookie camp continues today with on-ice sessions at the Don Hartman N.E. Sportsplex.

"We're excited to see him," Whelen said. "He had a good year with the Buffaloes, and he played a lot with maybe the second-best Midget team in the country.

"He also played two games with us last year and certainly didn't look out of place as a 15-year-old. We have high expectations for him."

The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder could also be booking a ticket to the World Under-17 Championships, which runs at about the same time as the world junior tournament.

"He was pretty good last year playing as a 15-year-old against mostly 16- and 17-year-olds," Whelen said.

"So he'll be under consideration for Team Pacific and has a good shot at playing for our hockey club."

The Hitmen couldn't have asked for a better situation for their young prospect to develop last season.

The Buffs not only won the Mac's Tournament -- the first local team to accomplish the feat in more than a decade -- but also captured the AMHL title and represented the Pacific region at the national championships, where they finished with the silver medal. That kind of success can only help a young player.

"We played a lot of games," Kosterman said. "And the commitment level was quite a bit higher than it was at Bantams.

"And the intensity level -- I'm used to going in and playing hard every day."

After such a successful season, the 16-year-old has a lot of different choices when selecting his highlight. But you might be surprised by the answer.

"Going out for supper with the team, the bus rides, the group of guys is what you remember," he said. "Obviously, I'll remember the games, too, but we had a good group and we've carried on the friendships afterward."

If he liked riding the bus in midget, he's going to love the WHL.

SCOTT.FISHER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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