Most of us want the summer to last as long as possible, especially considering how unforgiving a Prairie winter can be, but Nathan Deck wants the summer to fly by so he can start his professional hockey career.
After spending four years with the Prince Albert Raiders, the 21-year-old Deck inked a deal with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL on Thursday.
“I’m really excited, actually — I wish the summer was over and I wish I was down there right now,” Deck said.
The Sedley, SK native played 272 games for the Raiders in his four years with the team, putting up 118 points in that span including 18 in 60 games in his final season last year.
In his last season, Deck received two team awards, the Jim Neilson Most Valuable Defenceman award and the Most Inspirational Raider award.
“I had a blast playing with the Raiders here. A great organization, I love playing here, I love playing in front of the fans here and I have nothing but great things to say about Prince Albert,” said Deck. “They showed me where I am today and I’ve grown a lot from being a Raider.
“Prince Albert’s kind of like my new home now, I’ve been here for quite a while, I love the city and I love the place. It’s going to be a little different going down there and not being in a small city. I like P.A., it’s a great place.”
Although he will miss Prince Albert, there are some perks about playing hockey in Stockton, CA, mainly the weather.
“Going from -30 winters here to going to the rink in shorts for most of the season there. So, it will be a little bit of a change, but I think I’ll like it,” said Deck.
Former Raiders teammate Garrett Zemlak spent part of the 2010-11 season with the Thunder and gave Deck a very positive scouting report on the area and the team.
“That was a big (part of the) decision too,” said Deck. “He said the place is great, everything’s awesome there, the fans are unreal, they’re sold out every game and what not.”
Deck isn’t the only one that is excited about the deal as Thunder head coach Matt Thomas said that he appreciates Deck’s versatility and is glad to have signed such a well-rounded player.
“He’s a guy that can play in every situation, and that’s what attracted me to Nathan,” said Thomas in a video interview on the Thunder’s website.
“He can play on the power play, he can play on the penalty kill, he can play a shutdown role and he can move the puck up the ice. I think when you’re looking at young guys, you want guys that aren’t one-dimensional and Nathan fits that perfectly.”
The Thunder’s camp starts Sept. 22, but Deck says he’ll arrive in Stockton about a week before to settle in before camp starts.
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