After years of super hard work on and off the ice and years of struggling with the “politics” of hockey, Taylor has finally reached 1 of his goals – playing in the WHL for a GREAT organization - The Vancouver Giants. The next goal = NHL.
After coming home from Czech Republic, he had about 1 ½ weeks to rest and do a few workouts to prepare for The Giant’s Rookie camp that began on Aug. 23rd. However, the Giants wanted him to come up early to do some medical testing, skating and to participate in the Annual Golf Tournament. The rookie camp began on Thursday and he was definitely a standout. The main camp then began on Saturday afternoon. Admittedly, I was so nervous but he did great. And it seems that the Giants thought he did pretty good too. We had to leave on Sunday – we stayed for his first main camp game and then headed home and got home SUPER late.
Taylor went to register for school on Monday and was totally confused at what he needed to take. I felt so bad that I couldn’t be there with him. I told him not to think about it again and I would take care of it all. The thing is that he wants to graduate here at Kamiakin with his friends that he’s grown up with and WA state has some specific requirements (Computer Literacy, US Government & Cont. World Problems and a Culminating Project) that he needs to meet. We are able to get the computer & social studies classes taken care of online and we are working on some options for the culminating project. However, we still need to figure out a math class for him to take at South Delta Secondary – math there is scheduled differently… so we are working on itJ School doesn’t start until Tuesday this week so we’ll see what we figure out…
The main camp ended on Wednesday and the first “Preseason” game was on Friday (aug. 31). We really wanted to see his first WHL game so Lance and I took the girls up with us to witness it! We were so glad that we did and was so proud of him. Amazingly enough, I wasn’t nervous! I thought for sure that I would be but wasn’t:) He did great! There was a chance that he wouldn’t play on Saturday b/c there are extra players still (players can and have been getting cut everyday). But, his name was called to be ready for the game on Saturday in Kelowna. So, we packed up and went to the game there. We were amazed to hear his name called as the starting line up with Sword & Kaiser and my tears were shed as he stood there on the blue line listening to the National Anthem. I know that he’s dreamt of that moment for a very long time. The next moment will be playing here in TC… Actually there was an article written in BC about Taylor - Here it is:
Vickerman is a Giant steal for squad
Vancouver hopes rookie and Washington native can help them exorcise American demons
For the Vancouver Giants, adding Taylor Vickerman could be a little, "if you can't beat them, steal from them."
Vickerman, a grinding winger, is a good bet to be one of the team's 16-year-old rookies this season. He's a native of Kennewick, Wash., and grew up a fan of his hometown WHL team, the Tri-City Americans.
Nobody is a punch in the gut to the Giants quite like the Americans. They ousted Vancouver from the playoffs in both 2010 and 2011. Last season, Vancouver looked like a contender until losing to Tri-City 11-4 at home on Jan. 13; their campaign spiralled out of control after that and they lost in the first round of the play-offs to the Spokane Chiefs.
Maybe Vickerman can help provide an antidote to the Americans. Giants fans can possibly get a look at the 6-foot-1, 180 pounder Friday, assuming he's in the lineup for pre-season opener against the Kelowna Rockets at the Ladner Leisure Centre at 7 p.m.
"I'd go Wednesdays and watch games and get home at 10 o'clock at night and my mom would be like, 'You have to go to school in the morning,' and I'd be, 'I don't care - I want to watch the game,'" Vickerman said of the Americans.
"I had a lot of players that I loved. Ben Kilgour was one. Dylan Stanley, Matt Schneider - really good guys who played really good leadership roles on those teams.
"It would be fun to go back there and play. There would be some mixed emotions, even amongst people in the city. Still, it would be fun."
General manager Scott Bonner added: "It will be a little motivation the next time we go play there. We'll finally have some-body in the building cheering for us."
The Americans are arguably the benchmark franchise of the league right now, with six straight seasons of 90 or more points. How did they let one of the rare homegrown kids get by?
Fact is, he made it past a few teams a few times. Vickerman went in the sixth round, 112th overall to the Giants in the 2011 bantam draft.
The Giants haven't been shy about how enamoured they are with him, though. They put out a press release when he signed a WHL contract, something they usually reserve for first and second-round selections.
"He's the closest thing we've had to being a guy like Lance Bouma since Lance left," Bonner said, pointing to the former sledgehammer winger who played his last game in Giant colours in 2009-10.
"He's big, strong. He's willing to go down the wall and he's very intelligent.
"I think the U.S. born players are a little different as far as the draft goes. We had Tim Kraus in the seventh round, Jon Blum in the seventh. I think those guys, because they aren't seen as much as the Canadian kid, you can sometimes get a diamond in the rough."
This possible gem does come to the Giants having already played a season away from home, a benefit most 16-year-olds don't enjoy. The left-handed shot spent last season playing midget hockey with the Cleveland Barons, a team that plays in the national Tier I Triple A league. He had six goals, 22 points and 34 penalty minutes in 39 games.
One of his agents, Chris Lepkowski, is from Cleveland and set Vickerman up there. Lepkowski works for Surrey-based Points West under Rich Evans, who has represented various Giants in the past. Vickerman also played for the U.S. national team this summer at the Under-17 Five Nations tournament in the Czech Republic.
He's played in a lot of places. One of next major ones of his list is his hometown; the Giants visit the Americans on Nov. 4.
"I hope the whole city has it circled," he said.
© Copyright (c) The Province
Unfortunately, I left my camera at Trisha’s house so I can’t post any pics until next week but i wanted to blog some basic thoughts…