Time sure flies.
It seems like it was just yesterday that Travis Sanheim was suiting up for the Hitmen on a daily basis.
Now a member of the Philadelphia Flyers and making a name for himself as a pro, it’s been quite the journey for the Elkhorn, Man., native.
“Playing my junior career with the Hitmen was a huge stepping stone and I learned a lot,” Sanheim said during the Flyers recent swing through Calgary. “It helped me become the player and person I am today with the three years spent there.
“It was a lot of good memories and I met a lot of good people with my teammates and coaches. I loved every second of it.”
Sanheim was a certifiable steal for the Hitmen in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, being selected in the ninth round.
After collecting 29 points in his rookie season (5G, 24A), he exploded with a pair of back-to-back 60-plus point seasons en route to being drafted by the Flyers 17th overall in the first round in 2014.
Sanheim, without question, left a mark on the organization and the record books, with his 127 career assists having him tied for 11th and his 162 points good for 20th in franchise history.
“We had a great team and, more importantly, a great bond together,” he said. “The bonds you have with your junior teammates carries over even after you graduate to the pro ranks and later on in life.
“It’s a great organization to play for and I always felt very lucky to represent the logo with pride.”
Sanheim admits that stepping out onto the Scotiabank Saddledome ice is still special for him and brings back a flood of memories.
He may be wearing different colours now but the ‘Dome will always be home.
“It was a big change being in the other end of the rink,” he laughed. “I am so used to walking out on the home side but it’s a pretty cool experience that I’m able to come back to my old home rink.
“I have a lot of great memories from my time here, one that will always stand out was scoring the overtime winner in my second year against Medicine Hat and the run we put together that year was really fun and special.”
Another special moment in the too-many-to-choose from category for Sanheim was playing two years with his twin brother, Taylor.
“Being able to play alongside him was unbelievable,” he said. “To have him right there beside me in the WHL is something not many can say they’ve experienced. It’s something we both won’t forget and just another memory to add to our bond.
“He’s doing just fine now, too. He went to school last year and is taking the year off (now) to help back home in Elkhorn on the farm. He’s playing senior hockey so he’s keeping it alive but has settled in nicely to life after hockey.”
While living the NHL dream is great for the 22-year-old, he still has one bucket list item to cross off: to play against his former defence partner, Jake Bean, on an NHL stage.
“I was so excited for him when he got the call up,” Sanheim said. “He’s a great player and it was a lot of fun to play alongside him.
“I didn’t get the chance to go up against him last year in the AHL playoffs so we’re still waiting but it’ll be pretty cool when it happens and it’s something we’ve been looking forward to. Both of our goals was to make the NHL and now here we are living our dream and it’s an unbelievable feeling.”