He’s back where it all started.
The newest addition to the Hitmen Carl Stankowski is no stranger to Calgary. It’s the city he was born and raised and got his start in hockey.
“I grew up a Hitmen fan and going to games as a little kid so it’s going to be surreal to actually play for the Hitmen and to wear that jersey now,” Stankowski said. “I’m really excited to go back home and be a part of this group that’s on the rise.”
“Hockey is really big up there and it’s exciting to be a part of that community again.”
People would remember Stankowski as the goaltender that led the Seattle Thunderbirds to a WHL Championship in 2017 as a rookie.
With just seven games of WHL experience, the now 18-year-old stepped in for the T-Birds after starter Rylan Toth went down with an injury. Stankwoski went on to set an impressive 16-4 record and a 2.50 GAA and .911 SV% en route to the title.
“I was very fortunate to be a part of that great team and to get that playoff experience,” said the now resident of Laguna Hills, CA. “I’m grateful for getting that experience early on in my career so I can translate it for years to come.”
“I want to do the same in Calgary. Make playoffs and contribute to the team on a nightly basis. I’m in it for the long run and the main goal is to win a championship.”
After missing all of his sophomore season due to injury, the netminder is ready for a fresh start with the Hitmen and is fully ready to get things underway with the his new club when Training Camp opens on Aug. 24.
“I’ve been working for a year to get back to this point,” he said. “I sort of have to play with a chip on my shoulder now and I have something to prove. I’m looking forward to getting back into a WHL game and just to play hockey again.”
Stankowski is not just familiar with Calgary as a city, but also with some of his new teammates that he either played with or against when he was younger, most notably Tristen Nielsen who also suited up for Team Alberta at the 2015 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup.
“Tristen was saying a lot of great things about Calgary and the other guys were texting me welcoming me to the team,” he said. “That just made me more excited to hop into it and I really felt welcomed.”
“There are a lot of great players on the team and I’m looking forward to being part of this strong young group.”