Canucks hopeful in familiar place

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:40 AM ET

Loyalty in hockey is an interesting thing.

One day it's with the hometown team you grew up cheering for, the next it's with a division rival which selected you in the third round of the 2009 NHL entry draft.

That's the scenario Kevin Connauton was dealt with a year ago when the Canucks called his name in Montreal.

As an Edmonton native and a big Oilers fan, the defence-man had to switch allegiances.

He says it was never an issue.

"You go from just cheering for a team to trying to make a team, so it's pretty easy to convert over," said the Vancouver prospect, who is manning the Canucks blueline at the rookies camp in Penticton. "I just put all that behind me. I'm 100 per cent Canuck now and I couldn't be happier."

While it could be a few years before he dons the blue and green jersey full time, Connauton has already familiarized himself with Vancouver.

The 6-foot-2, 200-lbs blue-liner set a franchise record last year with the WHL Giants for most goals (24) and points (72) in a single season by a Dman.

To top it off, he signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Canucks in April.

Connauton says he has grown at the Young Stars tournament this week.

"It's all about being comfortable and being confident and that's something I definitely have more of coming into camp this year," he said. "Obviously Edmonton is always home for me, I go back there in the summer but Vancouver is a pretty awesome place to be."


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