South Carolina

Thompson talks All-Star Weekend, long road to NHL in Q&A with

Logan ThompsonHis route to the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend took him through cities like Ste. Catherine’s, Ontario; and Glens Falls, New York; and North Charleston, South Carolina.

The goaltender’s trip to South Florida, where the NHL gathers this weekend for the annual midseason showcase of the league’s best and brightest, included a season at the University of Canada, two stints in the ECHL and even two more in the American Hockey League.

But now, 25-year-old Vegas Golden Knights No. 1 rookie Thompson is anchored in the NHL with a 19-13-3 record, 2.69 goals against average, .913 save percentage and two shutouts this season. And he will be the Golden Knights’ sole player representative at All-Star Weekend.

Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy will also be there coaching the Pacific Division.

“It will be interesting to see [what the weekend can do for him],” Cassidy said. “It’s a cool event. I was with my first and the who’s who of the players a few years ago. I had my kids to distract everything. I just sit there and think, ‘Wow, that is Connor McDavid‘Get his autograph.’ But listen, it can make him feel like he’s part of the club now, which can give you more confidence. I hope he takes it that way. Or it can be, “Hey, I want to be with these greats, so I have to make sure I make it every day and do it consistently.” There are many different ways he can look at it. For me, my embassy will have a good time. You’ve earned it, so have a good time and when you get back, get back to work and show them why you were chosen.”

[RELATED: Thompson shares Florida-themed mask for All-Star Game | Complete ASG coverage]

Thompson played at Brock University of the Ontario University Athletics in 2018-19, finishing that season with ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder and American Hockey League’s Binghamton.

He played the 2019-20 season with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL and caught the interest of Vegas General Manager Kelly McCrimmon, the GM and coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings while Thompson was playing there.

Thompson signed with Vegas and played for the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights in 2020-21, earning a call-up to the big club and making his NHL debut in relief Marc Andre Fleury on March 10, 2021. He played with Henderson for the first half of last season before his big chance at Vegas due to injuries.

And now he’s an all-star.

“It’s cool,” Thompson said. “Obviously I’m honored to be recognized by the league. It was never really on my mind or on the radar for me, but it’s cool. I think I’ll enjoy it more when the weekend comes and I’ll appreciate it more when the weekend comes.”

Last week, after a morning ice skate at Madison Square Garden, Thompson sat down to talk about his journey. In this Q&A with, he talks about his journey to the NHL, his time at Brock University, what else he wants to do in the game, and more.

I think of the path you took to get into the NHL, many stops along the way, including Canadian University, and I wonder if you ever thought that you were an NHL All-Star could be?

“No, absolutely not. Especially when I was playing at Canadian University, if you’d told me five years later that I was going to be an NHL regular or at an All-Star game, I’d be like, ‘You are crazy.’ “I’m happy to be here every day. Like I said, I never thought of it. Looking at all these players, I never thought I’d ever get into the conversation. And yet there are a lot of goalkeepers that I look up to . I’ll just be happy to be there.”

Who is your role model?

“You look at a guy like that Connor Hellebuyckwho was there. John Gibson, I’ve always liked what he did in Anaheim. Fleuri too. I got to know ‘Flower’ a lot while he was here and meeting him was like a dream come true and just playing with him for a short time was really a stroke of luck.”

And of course, the first NHL game you played in replaced Fleury.

“Yeah, and he’s a fiery guy, he has a lot of passion for the game and I was just happy to sit on the bench and support him. It was cool for him to be a part of my NHL debut. I had a lot of fun playing with him.”

Is there a particular reason you were drawn to these three goalkeepers?

“They are important reasons why their teams are successful and I think everyone likes them. Look at Flower, nobody ever says a bad word about him and how much he cares and how hard he works. It’s just something I definitely admire.”

Take me back to those Canadian university days. who were you then What were you interested in back then?

“Well then, I was just a college kid who might have eaten too much junk food and drank beer with my college friends. Just a typical student. I definitely wasn’t a professional athlete or taking care of myself like I should have. But I was enjoying it. The reason I went to this university was that for me, Ontario, it was just a change of scenery and just to have fun.

What would you be doing now if you weren’t developing into an NHL goalie?

“I’ve always wanted to get into sports management at Brock, much like Kyle Dubas did, whether it was pursuing his path to NHL general manager or maybe becoming an NHL agent one day.”

Are you still interested?

“Absolutely. I see a lot of analysts too and I think that would be something I’d like to do as well, just get on TV and talk more about goalkeepers, maybe be a voice defending some goalkeepers. I think we need to be out there some love.” .”

So now sitting here in Madison Square Garden, where we are in the visitors’ locker room, is that about that far from where you thought you’d end up when you were with Brock?

“Yes. I even come to New York. It’s my first time in New York. I’ve always wanted to see all these cities like Boston, New York, Tampa, all these places I’ve wanted to go, and now I get to do it playing hockey. And that ice rink, it’s just so iconic. Stepping on the ice here for the first time is amazing. I enjoy every single day that I’m here.”

What did it take to get here from hockey at Canadian University four years later?

“It all kind of started at university, they gave me a chance. When I spoke to my agent I got a coast [ECHL] Offer right after this year and decided to just bet on myself and keep working hard. That’s pretty much how the conversation started. I knew it was a coastal business, but at the end of the day I wanted to look at myself in the mirror and say, “At least I tried. I didn’t wait four years.’ You know, I was about to finish my college career. I just wanted to give him a chance and at the end of the day say if I couldn’t do it, at least I tried.”

That’s when you went to Adirondack. How was it?

“I played eight games and then they returned their NHL contracts and I was released from my contract. Then the Washington Capitals approached me. I was at their camp this past summer and they contacted me about an AHL/ECHL deal and that’s when it started. All I really needed was a start, someone who believes in me. That’s pretty much all I ever really needed was just that one opportunity and then let my game do the talking, slowly work my way through it and work my way up from there.”

Did you feel comfortable being an NHL player last year or are you comfortable adjusting to that role this season?

“I think last year was great of course. We had a pretty good run there and almost made the playoffs. But this year there were still doubts, was it a coincidence or am I part of it? I just finished the first five or 10 games in and now I just come to work every day.”

You said a few minutes ago that you’re just glad to be here. Is that still your mentality, e.g. B. Pinch me, I’m in the NHL, or is it different than this is work and I need to make a difference?

“Of course I’m happy to be here every day, but now that I’m here and I still watch a lot of hockey, I want to be a name that people talk about. I want to be a game changer. I want to be a top guy and will keep pushing.

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