Getting to Know OHL Prospects: Kyle Thomas and Jordan Sambrook
Special Feature by Mac Vincent
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know two young hockey prospects over the past year in Kyle and Jordan. Both were selected in the 2014 Ontario Hockey League draft. The North Bay Battalion selected Kyle in the eighth round and the Erie Otters selected Jordan in the tenth round. I thought I would introduce them to all of you. Despite being cut at training camp, they remain under team control for two years and with hard work and dedication they could certainly make an impact for their respective teams.
A little more about Kyle straight from the Battalion website, “He’s a huge body. His only limitation is his first couple of strides, but he has pretty good skill for a big man. He’s a real physical specimen right now. He’ll be better playing at a level against bigger and stronger players, providing he can improve his skating.”
Here’s some more insight on Jordan as well, “Jordan likes joining the rush, and follows the play up closely and seems to want be offensive defenseman. He plays on the PP, has decent vision, makes a good first pass even under pressure and uses the boards or glass to get the puck out of his own zone. Jordan steers opponents to the outside, battles with them in front and tries to box them out to avoid second or third chances.”
I asked Kyle and Jordan five questions as shown below.
- When did you decide to pursue hockey as a career?
- How would you describe your experience at OHL training camp?
- How do you play as a player? Tell us about your game.
- What are some of your goals for this year when training and playing hockey?
- Tell us about your favourite hockey memory.
- When I was around 4 I started playing hockey. At first I hated it but after a couple skates I couldn’t stop. I played house league and select up to when I was around 8, then made the jump to AAA. Since the start of AAA I knew I wanted to play hockey as a career. I played with the Toronto Titans, Vaughan Kings, and South Central Coyotes.
- It was amazing, the facilities were phenomenal and the people there were great. We started with some fitness testing followed by some on ice sessions. The pace of the scrimmages was a great taste of what to expect at the next level. Everyone there truly made you feel welcome, such a great city. Overall an experience I won’t forget.
- I would compare myself to JVR. An offensive minded forward that can score but also can go in the dirty areas. A crafty passer and stays in front of the net on the power play and get’s open to score. With being 6’5 I have to utilize by size and play physical.
- This year I’ll be playing Midget, I chose this route so I can dominate but still play at a competitive level. This year for training I’ll be in the gym around 5 times a week, working on drills/exercises to help get my foot speed quicker as well as working on my overall core strength. I’m trying to maintain my current shape for this upcoming hockey season, so when I go back to North Bay next May I’ll do well on the testing and impress.
- My favourite hockey memory has to be when I got drafted in the priority selection to North Bay. Funny story, I was actually playing Xbox with my friend (he was on the microphone) and we were just waiting all day for our name to get called. Once I got picked I couldn’t believe it. I went downstairs to tell my parents but they just left to go shopping, but when they got the call came rushing back. I was so excited but also felt bad for my friend cause he didn’t get picked yet. Luckily he did get picked. Overall it was amazing to get picked by North Bay and truly an honour!
- As soon as I stepped on the ice at the age of 3, I knew I wanted to pursue hockey as a career. I really enjoyed playing hockey whether it be on the ice, or on the street with my friends. When I made my first AAA team at the age of 7, I knew that I had a special talent that would enable me to continue to pursue my dream of playing hockey as a career.
- My experience at my OHL camp was amazing. The facilities, the staff, everyone and everything were top notch. Playing against top NHL Draft picks and prospects really helped me out as I saw what it takes to get to play at the next level. Everyone was so nice and willing to help out the younger guys and give some pointers. Overall, a great time that I will never forget and i cant wait to go back next year.
- I would consider myself as a two-way defenceman. I really enjoy joining the rush and getting in on the offensive plays. In saying that, I make sure to do my job in the defensive zone to keep the puck out of our own net. I give 110% wherever I am on the ice to try and help my team as much as possible. I would consider myself to be like a Pietrangelo as he is a very smart defenceman that can play a very strong 200ft game.
- This year I am playing Midget AAA. I want to help my team go as far as possible with the end goal being the Telus Cup. I am going to the gym as much as possible to help build my strength and cardio to be the best it can be. I wanna focus on weaknesses that I have so that I continue to get better as the season goes on. When the offseason hits, ill be in the gym and on the track almost everyday to make sure I’m in top-notch shape when I go to camp.
- My favourite hockey memory is being selected in the OHL priority selection by the Erie Otters. I worked my whole life for this, and I’m truly honoured that it came true. The work is just beginning now though, as I want to continue my hockey career playing at the top level possible.
You can follow Kyle on Twitter @kthomas41 and Jordan @JordanS_9.
I wish them nothing but the best going forward.