Hard work pays off for Arborg hockey player

Amanda Lefley
Arborg's Travis Kilbrei was recently drafted by the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL, on May 3.

Arborg's Travis Kilbrei was recently drafted by the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL, on May 3.

Travis Kilbrei of the bantam Interlake Lightning is gearing up for a trip to Portland, Oregon in August, as he was drafted to the Western Hockey League's (WHL) Portland Winter Hawks May 3.

Kilbrei explained that he was picked in the fifth round, 108 overall. The 15-year-old said he anticipated that he would be drafted, but didn't know to what club.

"I was so excited," said Kilbrei of when he refreshed the website during the draft and saw he was chosen. "I've been working for it for a long time and it was kind of a relieving too - to know that you are finally drafted."

This past season was Kilbrei's first playing for the Interlake Lightning and beforehand the left-winger suited up for the Arborg Falcons. He explained regional scouts came out and watched some games last season, as well as showcase tournaments held in Winnipeg. Kilbrei had also received emails and phone calls from a number of teams, doing surveys to get to know players better, since the end of last season - so he had a feeling he would be drafted and invited to training camp.

Kilbrei will make his first trip to Oregon in little over one month for the four-day camp. He explained that he will be one of the youngest players to hit the ice.

"I'm very nervous but I think it will be a good experience," said Kilbrei.

A lot of the training camp will focus on fitness tests, said Kilbrei, which is why he has been working on his cardio prior to. He also said that over the winter he wants to become stronger positionally.

At the end of the camp the Hawks will have the option to sign Kilbrei to a contract, and if they don't Kilbrei says they'll likely sign him next year.

"They'll send me back to play Interlake Lightning for this year and they'll watch me over the winter," said Kilbrei.

Being drafted into the WHL Kilbrei also recognized the dedication of his parents Ross and Carlin, saying he appreciated all the hard work they have put into his hockey career taking into consideration he has a sister and two brothers.

"Just how much work they've done all these years. Driving me down all the way to Minneapolis and pretty much all over Canada too," said Kilbrei.

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