SportsCatching Up with Travis Konecny During His Race to the Top

Catching Up with Travis Konecny During His Race to the Top

Catching Up with Travis Konecny During His Race to the Top

Photo by Valerie Wutti. 

2015 was definitely the year of Travis Konecny. When it began, Konecny was halfway through his second season with the Ottawa 67s. Now, the former 67s captain is headed to the Sarnia Sting, he’s a draft pick for the Philadelphia Flyers and a World Juniors veteran.

“It’s been an amazing year,” he says, sitting with his back to the 67s’ home ice in the TD place arena. Konecny is dressed for afternoon practice, with a thick grey hoodie and gym shorts. He doesn’t flinch when Paul the goalie coach sends a puck right into the glass behind his head and the sound of it echoes through the empty stands.

I caught up with Konecny a couple weeks before he was traded to Sarnia and just days before he left for Team Canada’s world juniors training camp. At that point his role with the national team was still up in the air, but whatever nerves Konecny may have felt didn’t show.

“I’m really excited. It’s an opportunity of a life time,” he said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about.”

Konecny grew up and started honing his lightning-fast stick handling and pinpoint shots in Clachan, Ontario, a town that didn’t even have its own rink. He admits that there wasn’t a lot of hockey around the town then, but Konecny made up for it by practising on ponds close to his house and watching whatever hockey he could.

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Travis Konecny at the Flyers' draft. Photo by Chris Crawford.

“I remember Christmas and holidays when you wake up at all hours of the night just to catch a (world juniors) game across seas, and you’re rooting for them (Canada).”

“And now that I have the opportunity to go I know that the whole country is behind me,” he added. “It’s pretty special.”

In an interview with Chris Crawford from Ottawa67s.com while he was competing in Finland for Team Canada, Konecny said “the World Juniors have been something special to experience, seeing the crowds, the fans coming over to support us has been awesome.”

Konecny’s family played a huge role in getting him to where he is today. His dad knew what it would take to get to the professional leagues and pointed Travis in the right direction whenever he could. Konecny’s brother was always up to play goalie and his mother was the “bearer of bad news.”

“She was the tough one,” Konecny laughed. “If there’s a bad game she’s the one who speaks up.”

So far, all this work has paid off. After the 67s snatched him up, Konecny scored a combined 55 goals in his first two seasons with the team. In his first year with the OHL, Konecny led all rookies in goals and was subsequently made rookie of the year. Clearly, Ottawa has been holding onto a potential superstar.

Despite growing up in a small town, Konecny didn’t find moving to the Capital much of a shock.

“When I heard Ottawa I was thinking ‘big city’ but when I got here it felt like a small town,” he said. “The people were all welcoming, it’s just awesome. I love it here.”

Konecny doesn’t seem too nervous about the possibility of moving to Philadelphia, either. In fact, after a few minutes of speaking with him, I had a pretty solid sense that Konecny doesn’t get too nervous about many things at all. Even though he was in a pivotal point in his career with the World Juniors approaching fast, his main concern seemed to be making it onto the ice in time for practice. When I asked if he was feeling any pressure, he said that he’s “just really looking forward to it.”

“You know, you just live it in the moment and make the best of the opportunities.”

After that I moved onto the most important question of all: Which NHL team does Konecny and his family root for?

“Toronto. We’re big Toronto fans,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe moving along to Philadelphia now.”

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