WINNIPEG —; Keegan Kolesar has always known how to swing a stick. Just don’t call the Seattle Thunderbirds forward a slugger. He much prefers scorer.
“I took hockey way more seriously than I did baseball,” said Kolesar.
Even if the Winnipegger had an immense infield influence growing up. Kolesar’s dad, Charles Peterson, is a former professional baseball player. He even spent two seasons with the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Kolesar would follow the first baseman, serving as his batboy.
“It gave me more of a chance to spend time with my dad,” said Kolesar. “I got to see what he did behind the scenes.”
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Including what life was like as a pro athlete. It’s something Kolesar found crucial in creating his career in the hockey rink.
“(My dad) kicked himself when I chose hockey over baseball,” said Kolesar. “But I think he’s happy now in the long run.”
Kolesar put up 30 goals and 31 assists in 64 games this past season. The points piqued the interest of the Columbus Blue Jackets who signed Kolesar in December to an NHL entry-level contract.
“He’s come so far the last two years, it’s great to see,” said Thunderbirds forward Mathew Barzal.
“I think he has a long career ahead of him.”
Kolesar will attend both of the Blue Jackets’ development and training camps this summer. He hopes to catch on in his version of the big leagues.
“As you play more, you build up confidence for yourself,” said Kolesar. “You’re able to do more things at a later age than you think you can at an early age.”
Kolesar’s Thunderbirds continue their best-of-seven WHL Championship Final against the Brandon Wheat Kings tomorrow night in Seattle. Brandon leads the series 2-0 following a pair of overtime wins at home over the weekend.