Nothing beats hard work.
Hitmen forward Sean Tschigerl caught the eye of NHL scouts all season, not just with his offensive play but his overall well rounded game and his incredible work ethic.
The Whitecourt, AB product can do it all – whether it be on the powerplay, penalty kill, score a big goal or prevent one. It’s impressive to see how much he’s grown since his rookie season, with a motor that never seems to stop that wraps everything up.
“My first year in the league was all about learning and this year was all about coming into my own,” Tschigerl said. “I tried to take on more responsibility and become a core piece of the team. That was one of my main goals headed into the season and I think I was able to do that thanks to the opportunities and trust from my coaches and teammates.
“There are so many tools in the toolbox I can use. If I’m not scoring, I can be responsible in the defensive end, be hard to play against and strip the puck away. If I’m scoring that’s great, you love that but you want to be effective in all facets of the game and I try to do that.”
Tschigerl ended the shortened 2020-21 WHL campaign with 21 points in as many games, good for second in team scoring, while leading the Hitmen in goals with 13. He also recorded his first career WHL hat-trick on April 24th vs. the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
It was hard not to notice the forward when he’s on the ice, always making an impact with each shift and arguably being one of the hardest workers of the draft class.
“I play a very intense game,” he said. “I’m always looking to play tenacious and aggressive, getting into puck battles and really just doing all the little things that can help the team win. It doesn’t show up on the scoreboard but to me all that is just as important.
“I know there’s a lot more work to do and more I can improve on, but overall I was happy with my season. You want to make a good impression and I thought I showed a lot of growth in my game and was grateful for being ranked. It was a short sample size so it was important to make an impact.”
While going through the draft process can be equal levels exciting and nerve wracking, Tschigerl had the aid of teammate Luke Prokop, who was drafted in 2020 by Nashville, to lean on for advice or guidance whenever he needed it.
“It would be a lie to say that the draft isn’t on the back of your mind everyday but I tried to focus on what I could do and take it day by day,” he said. “I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself or lose focus and having Luke around for help was amazing to have in my back pocket.
“It’s all a journey and I think the biggest advice I got from him was to just be myself, don’t be something I’m not or try to change my game. I carried that mindset with me all year and just had as much fun as I could because what’s better than going out to play the game you love.”
With a final ranking of 59 among North American skaters, Tschigerl could very well hear his name called this weekend and become the latest in a long line of Hitmen skaters who have been drafted.
And, although it’ll all be done virtually again it’s still a day he can’t wait to finally come.
“It’s a surreal being here because you go your whole life looking up to the teams and players and now here I am being interviewed by them. It’s crazy how fast the time has gone from watching the draft to know being involved in the process, I’m excited to see what transpires.
“This truly is a once in a lifetime experience and I’ve enjoyed it all so much.”