ODESSA, TX (KWES) - A former Odessa Jackalope will be playing in the NHL All-Star game at the end of the month. Connor Hellebuyck is a goaltender for the Winnipeg Jets, but in 2011-2012, he was a Jack.
Prior to that season 7 years ago, Rick Gasser was one of the owners of the Jackalopes and a scout had told him about a hidden talent in a small town in Michigan.
"So Paul Gillis was our coach then and I went up and watched him and immediately fell in love with his style. He's a big tall 6-foot kid, that's really patient in the net and really had a lot of talent. We both really liked him right away," said Gasser.
The Jackalopes recruited Connor Hellebuyck to play in Odessa. He spent a season with the organization before he was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets.
"He wanted to be that type of player but he didn't know that he had the tools. It didn't take him long to realize that he had the tools. But not only did he have the tools, he had the work ethic," said Gasser.
The Jacks gave Connor his start, but Connor has continued to give to the people who helped him out and they wish him nothing but the best.
"Connor is really grounded and he's a good young man and it couldn't happen to a better kid. I just hope he continues to grow and he continues to have the success that he's had so quickly. It's pretty phenomenal," said Gasser.