Chiefs’ Elynuik following family path in WHL
Hudson Elynuik sought a couple of opinions about what it’s like to play in the Western Hockey League.
He had to look no further than his family.
One of the newest members of the Spokane Chiefs boasts a hockey pedigree that includes two former WHL players: dad Pat, who later played in the National Hockey League, and older brother Campbell, who hopes to latch on with the Boston Bruins.
“Dad’s taught me a lot of skill development,” said the 16-year-old Elynuik, who was traded to the Chiefs from the Kootenay Ice on Dec. 31 for 18-year-old defenseman Tyler King.
“He was a great player and you couldn’t ask for more than to have a guy who’s played in the NHL to teach you some stuff,” Elynuik said. “And Campbell … told me what to expect, and everything he’s said has come into play.”
Pat Elynuik played for the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders from 1982-87 before a nine-year NHL career that included stops in Winnipeg, Washington, Tampa Bay and Ottawa.
Campbell Elynuik played for Everett, Regina and Prince George of the WHL and attended the Philadelphia Flyers’ camp as a 20-year-old. He attended Boston’s rookie camp last summer and is home in Calgary, Alberta, recovering from an injury before he starts his NHL quest again.
The family’s hockey talent extends to middle brother Jakson, 18, who plays for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League. The younger brothers played two games together last season when Hudson was called up from the Calgary Flames Midget AAA team to the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
“I got my first goal (with the Kodiaks) off my shin pad from (Jakson) shooting the puck, so that was pretty special,” Hudson said.
His first (and only) WHL goal was a rebound winner against Edmonton on Oct. 19.
Kootenay selected Elynuik in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft with the 60th overall pick. He played four games with the Ice last season and 31 this season before the trade to Spokane.
“I had a meeting with the GM (at Kootenay) and just came to the conclusion that this was the best opportunity for me,” Elynuik said. … “It kind of made sense that (the Chiefs) were looking for some young prospects to strengthen their future.”
Elynuik played at home against the Chiefs four days before the trade, but he was a scratch when the Ice traveled to the Arena the following night.
“The atmosphere was unbelievable and the fans were all into it,” Elynuik said of Spokane. “It just seemed like a very nice place to play.”
Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur inserted Elynuik into the starting lineup for his first two home games. Fans witnessed a 6-foot-4, 172-pound player who appears deceptively fast. Elynuik said he’d like to fill out to 195-200 pounds in the next few years.
The midseason move has been hectic, but Elynuik is living with teammates Jeff Rayman and Jacob Cardiff at the home of host family Scott and Sherry Deeds. Elynuik plans to enroll at Ferris High School for the start of next semester.
The Deedses may be glad to know that Elynuik learned some cooking tips from his mother, Colleen.
“I’m mostly a baker,” Elynuik said. “I’ll bake a cake or cookies. She’s showed me a few recipes.”