ODESSA, TX (KWES) - In the span of six years, Connor Hellebuyck has gone from NAHL player to an NHL All-Star.
"I was willing to do whatever it takes to make it and I was gonna put the time in, I was gonna put the grind in. I wasn't gonna give up. It happened a little earlier for me which is nice but I was willing to go the long haul for it," said Connor Hellebuyck.
The 6'4," 24-year-old has a .924 Save percentage this season. He made 36 saves in Thursday night's game against the Ducks.
"The All-Star game, I kinda had a feeling that it was a possibility. The team has been playing great in front of me. We've been winning a lot of games and that usually goes towards things like that like the All-Star and I'm just very excited for it," said Hellebuyck.
While he's moved on and away from Odessa, he still has only great things to say about the Odessa Jackalopes organization.
"I just love the whole city. I love Texas and I had great billets down there, the family was fantastic. So that whole experience was great and I was very welcomed. With the hockey side of it, we had a great organization which I had a blast with and they really helped me succeed and they made me a better player," said Hellebuyck.
Hellebuyck has some advice for the current Jacks.
"I would say never give up and if you think there's something you can be doing, then do it. Where your work ethic is it's whats gonna drive you and take you to that next step and make you the player you wanna be, "said Hellebuyck.