He missed the bus. Over and over again. That would usually be a troublesome trend, but not in the case of Calgary Flames’ first-round selection Juuso Valimaki. “We have our development camp in the summer over at WinSport, and (the players) stay at a hotel near there and there is a van or a bus that takes them back and forth,” said Flames general manager Brad Treliving. “So for the first couple of days of development camp, it’s always, ‘Ok, is everybody here?’ They do the roll-call, and Juuso was never there. He would never be on the bus because he would go to the rink early to work out, and then he would stay at the rink — when everybody else was coming back to the hotel — to work out. “So say there were 40 kids at the camp. Well … there were only 39 on the bus. Juuso was never there, because he was either there early or staying late.” Fine by the Flames higher-ups, who announced Valimaki’s name on their first trip to the podium — at No. 16 overall — at the 2017 NHL Draft. “Oh yeah, that’s a good reason not to be on the bus,” Treliving said. Treliving talks often about guys who “drive the bus,” and the Flames are optimistic that Valimaki has a bright future as one of those impact sorts at the Saddledome. For the next two-plus weeks, the 19-year-old defenceman will be at the wheel for Team Finland, serving as captain for his national squad at the world junior championship in Buffalo.
Flames prospect Valimaki leads as Finland's captain at world juniors
Calgary Sun | Dec 26