There is likely a point in some kid's life growing up in Ontario where he would skate on his backyard ice rink and drift into a fantasy world.
In most of these fantasy worlds, the dimly-lit homemade ice patch gives way to the bright lights of the Air Canada Centre. The young kid skates up a small patch of ice, and blasts a slapshot into an old, rusted, and vacant net.
But that’s not what they see.
They see the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals. They see themselves flying down the wing, getting the puck on their stick, and driving home the winning goal for their beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.
For Jesse Blacker, that dream became his reality about one month ago.
Since being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of this year’s NHL entry draft, Blacker, a native of Toronto, has had a crazy summer.
When I asked him about the prospects of being able to, at least for a little bit, kick his feet back with a cold beverage and reflect on his accomplishments this past year, Blacker gave a quick laugh.
“It’s been a short summer due to the long run we had with the Memorial Cup and everything. There hasn’t been much time to relax, but my main focus right now is on training and being ready for September, wherever I may be.”