PENTICTON, B.C. - When you’ve been cheering for a team since you were so young that your second-favourite team was the Teletubbies, wearing their sweater, even in a prospects tournament, never gets old.
“It’s pretty special, I grew up watching these guys my whole life,” Tyler Bunz, Edmonton’s starting netminder Monday night against Winnipeg. “Being from St. Albert it was pretty cool to be drafted by these guys, putting on an Oilers jersey for the first time last year, I don’t think words can describe how I felt.
“I still get the same feeling every time I put it on. I want to go out there and represent the Oilers well.”
Another year older, and that much closer to being a pro, Bunz views this year’s camp as more of a business trip than a thrill — even though it’s still pretty thrilling.
“I feel a little bit more comfortable this time,” he said. “Last year the whole camp I was in awe of all the attention the Oilers get. This year it’s a little different, I have one year under my belt and I’m more comfortable.”
With Edmonton’s long-term goaltending situation still uncertain, Edmonton’s fifth-round pick in 2010 knows an opportunity to realize the lifelong dream is very real.
“That does enter your mind, you’re getting to the age where you’re going to have to start competing for a spot on this team,” said Bunz, who went 35-13-8 last year with a .919 save percentage and 2.47 GAA in junior last year.
“It’s quite the journey and it’s not going to be easy. I know that I’m going to have to work hard on and off the ice.
“This year I have to focus on my season in Medicine Hat. It’s going to be huge for me, I need a good start to have a crack at the World Junior team, which is something I really want to do.”