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Pats sign top pick Morgan Klimchuk

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From Greg Harders Slap Shots

Pats sign top pick Klimchuk
By Greg Harder Sun, May 30 2010 COMMENTS(0) Slap Shots

The Regina Pats signed their top pick in the 2010 WHL bantam draft, Morgan Klimchuk, this afternoon. He's in town along with 20 other prospects for the team's spring camp. The Leader-Post's Rob Vanstone spoke to Klimchuk and wrote the following story:

Morgan Klimchuk is known for his speed, which was on display during and after the Regina Pats’ spring camp on the weekend.

After impressing the Pats’ brass on Saturday and Sunday at the Co-operators Centre, the 15-year-old centre jumped at the opportunity to sign a standard WHL player contract.

“I’m really excited,” Klimchuk said on Sunday, five minutes after applying his signature to the contract. “I’ve been looking forward to this and waiting for it for a while. It’s finally done now and I’m looking forward to playing.”

The Pats selected the 5-foot-10, 155-pound Calgary resident fifth overall in the 2010 WHL bantam draft. At 15, he is ineligible to play full-time in the major-junior ranks until the 2011-12 season.

Klimchuk is likely to spend 2010-11 with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes before joining the Pats at 16. He was with the bantam AAA Buffaloes this past season, registering 33 goals and 19 assists in 28 games.

“He really impressed me this weekend, not only on-ice, but how he conducted himself off-ice,” Pats general manager Chad Lang said Sunday. “He’s a character individual and he has a lot of leadership skills for a kid his age. We talk about the future and having to build and develop from within. He’s a guy who we can build with.”

Klimchuk noticed the tension building as the spring camp approached, given the scrutiny to which first-round picks are subjected.

“You just want to get here and get playing as soon as you can,” Klimchuk said. “This is a good taste of what it’s going to take to actually play here. I was really excited, and I was really nervous, to be honest. They made it really comfortable and really easy.”

The same applied to the contract signing.

The Pats approached Klimchuk’s parents (Kade and Michelle) and agents (J.P. Barry and Mark Mackay of CAA Sports) and discussed the contract. All parties were willing to proceed, so the offer was made to an unhesitating Klimchuk.

The contract includes the league’s standard education agreement, which provides for one year of post-secondary school for every season spent in the WHL.

“I was really excited to get it done and get started with this organization,” Klimchuk said. “I was 100-per-cent set on the WHL and with Regina, for sure.”

Regina is a logical fit, considering that Klimchuk was born in the Queen City. He was a baby when his parents moved to Calgary. Now his comportment belies his years.

“He’s a very mature kid,” Lang said. “He’s very focused. He understands what he wants, and it’s going to take work to get there. He’s willing to put in that work. That type of attitude and dedication is what we’re looking for.

“The other thing is he’s very proud to be a Regina Pat. That’s important to us. We’re really happy that we could get him committed this early. Now we can continue to work with him and help him develop so that he’s ready in a year to step in.”

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