Aulin gets chance with Jackets

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

For Jared Aulin, the first hint of the holidays arrived five months early.

The Calgary-born forward, who had a brief stint with the Los Angeles Kings in 2003 and was last heard from while filling the net for the U of C Dinos two years ago, has scored a training-camp tryout with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I got the Columbus equipment in the mail (Wednesday) and it was like Christmas," Aulin said.

"I was cruising around the house in it, just trying to get used to it. I don't think I've done that since I was about six years old."

Aulin, 27, will attend training camp in Columbus next month and is expecting to be in the lineup for at least one pre-season game.

It's been almost three years since he last played in the pro ranks, but the former Kamloops Blazers standout is hellbent on proving the Blue Jackets made a wise move by offering him a free-agent tryout.

"It's always motivating when someone shows interest in you in anything -- to want to see you do your best and succeed," Aulin said.

"They're giving me a huge opportunity. Not many hockey players get a second chance to make a career of something -- not many people, in general, get that second chance to pursue a career they were pursuing earlier -- so that's always in the back of my head.

"They've gone out on a limb to give me an opportunity and I'm not going to embarrass them. I believe in myself. I wouldn't have put myself in position to make a comeback if I didn't have that confidence."

Aulin, a second-round selection of the Colorado Avalanche in 2000, suited up for Team Canada at back-to-back world junior hockey championships, winning a silver medal alongside current Blue Jackets star Rick Nash in 2002.

He skated in 17 NHL contests with the Kings later that season, registering two goals and a pair of assists. He retired after four injury-plagued American Hockey League campaigns but isn't ready to close the book on his pro hockey career just yet.

"I guess with age comes maturity and discipline and mental toughness, so I know what the game is all about," Aulin said.

"I just love the game of hockey and felt that I was fortunate to have a career in it before. I'm hoping to fulfil that dream again."


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