Who will pick up the scoring slack? Spokane Chiefs fans -- and the Chiefs themselves -- may ask that question with the Western Hockey League regular season set to begin. After all, five players who accounted for a significant amount of scoring last season are no longer on the roster, either because of graduation, trade or signing with another team. One person who could rise up and boost his offensive production is 18-year-old Adam Helewka, last year's Chiefs rookie of the year. Read story
After last season ended, Helewka took about two weeks off before he got together with his trainer to get bigger and stronger. He lifted weights Mondays through Thursdays and worked on sprints and cardio on Fridays. He didn't focus much on skating until about one month before Chiefs camp.
Helewka said he's motivated to show the younger players the same support he received from Chiefs veterans last year.
Helewka reminds younger players to work hard, despite what setbacks occur. After all, it was getting cut from one of his youth hockey teams that motivated Helewka to make great strides at Notre Dame.
Helewka doesn't predict a big change in the U.S. Division this year, but he sees the Chiefs as a different type of team.
"We’re not going to be a really skilled and fancy team this year, just kind of grind-it-out, put pucks on the net and get rebounds," he said. … "I don’t think we’ll be able to score as much as last year. We’re going to have to play tight defensively and when we get our opportunities, we’re going to have to bear down and put them in."
Helewka said he'll go to university and work toward a degree if the hockey dream ever comes to an end. His older brother is studying to become a machinist.
"I think I'm taking one college course (this year), to get one out of the way, just in case," he said.