Mixed emotions for Lazar

CRASH CAMERON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:35 PM ET

EDMONTON - Does all this talk about the Oil Kings' playoff exit setting up next year sound like hype?

Maybe. Probably.

But if there was an omen, it came at the very end.

Still midget-aged, Curtis Lazar scored the last goal of the series — and his first of many projected in the WHL for last year's No. 2 overall bantam draftee.

"It was great," said Lazar, smiling while trying not to. "I've got mixed emotions right now — I got my first. Instincts took over. I threw it on net, it hit a couple of bodies and it went in.

"First goal. Yeah, it was a good feeling for me. But the team was down and it was a sad time," said the B.C. native who looks 13 and talks 20.

The footnote that made it extra special? The assists were the final two points in the junior careers of Adrian Van de Mosselaer (the franchise's game-total leader) and Jordan Hickmott (who led the way this season at playing both ends of the ice).

"That was cool," said Lazar. "Sort of passing on the tradition. I took a lot from this experience with these guys."

Leadin line

He faced the decision as last season ended. The same one Van de Mosselaer, Hickmott and Mike Piluso now face: where to next?

"There's a couple different elements people might not understand when you are looking at a decision like that, in terms of moving on from the WHL," said Edmonton-native Drew Nichol who, like Van de Mosselaer, went out with his best season as a junior.

"The one thing I found was that you're beginning to deal with the rest of your life."

Nichol chose school. It may the the best thing major-junior hockey in Canada has provided the past couple of decades.

"Honestly, I wasn't the best high school student because I was so focused on hockey at that time." said the D-man who went from Oil Kings leader to Golden Bear rookie at the U of A.

"When it comes to university, I realized I needed to invest myself in order to get anything out of it. So I put my time in ... really put the effort in to take the best of the opportunity I have with the WHL paying for my schooling."

As for those ‘fake' classes for student athletes?

"I wish!"

david.cameron@sunmedia.ca


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