Sports media is a funny thing.
It’s not only about reporting facts, statistics, and recaps, but a lot of the media is full of opinion and analysis. Certainly, a trend of the day and age we live in.
The advent of social media has made that opinion and analysis even easier for people to consume. It’s also made it easier for players to consume as well, and since the American Hockey League is filled of mostly players that were born in an age that saw them born with phones in their hands, it’s hard to think that players aren’t aware of what’s being said about them by fans and media members alike.
Sometimes, that analysis and opinion by fans and media can be hard on a player’s psyche.
Morgan Klimchuk scored 4 goals and recorded 6 points during the month of November and kicked off December with a game tying goal in the third period to send the game against the Condors to overtime (PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA).
Imagine you’re at your nine to five job and you look at Twitter during your lunch break only to find your mentions include messages about your terrible TPS reporting, and how you’re the biggest bust in the history of the company.
Now throw in that the media comes to you to write a story on you about what has gone wrong.
That’s the equivalent of what Heat forward Morgan Klimchuk has gone through for three seasons now.
What happened in year one?
“I wouldn’t say it annoys me, it’s a fair question to ask,” Klimchuk says of constantly answering that question. “If you look at the year, offensively I didn’t have the success I wanted to have but for some guys that’s the learning curve. You come into the league and you have to learn.”
“Ultimately it takes some guys a little longer than others and I think that was the case for me.”
But the question was on the tip of every reporters’ tongue who wanted to talk to the Heat forward. What went wrong?
Well if you only judged him based on box scores you’d have a different summation to what the Heat Coaching staff would say.
“He did a lot of great things that first year so if someone were to ask that question and I were Morgan, I’d say nothing,” Heat Head Coach Ryan Huska said. “I’d say I became a better player that first year and I’m going to continue to grow.”
“That’s how I’d respond.”
After an illustrious junior career in the Western Hockey League with the Regina Pats and Brandon Wheat Kings, Klimchuk, a first round selection, 28th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft entered his first season as a pro in 2015-16, where he skated in 55 games and recorded 3 goals and 9 points.
Certainly, a drop off in production from his final season in juniors, split between Regina and Brandon where the forward recorded 34 goals and 80 points. But it’s a whole new game when you step on an ice with professional players.
“I think it’s tough for guys coming out of junior to transfer to pro,” Heat Assistant Coach Domenic Pittis said. “Guys are faster and stronger and you have to make plays a little quicker, so there’s an adjustment that has to take place.”
“I don’t think you can underestimate the jump from junior to pro and I also don’t think it’s out of the ordinary to see that adjustment across the board.”
Morgan Klimchuk was a 28th Overall Pick in 2013 by the Calgary Flames
As Klimchuk later learned, and can now reflect on