Cam Abney admits he has been to the mall a few times in the past couple of days, but has yet to treat himself to something special.
The occasion is Abney’s signing of his first professional contract with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
The 6-foot-five, 205-pound power forward inked a three-year entry level contract with the NHL club last week.
Not bad for a 19-year-old — he turns 20 in May — who went undrafted in the Western Hockey League’s bantam draft.
“It feels pretty good,” he admitted, a big smile crossing his face.
“It feels awesome to sign a contract and have that weight lifted off my shoulders.
“The Oilers told me they believe in me as a player and see me as part of their organization … which is an amazing boost of confidence.”
It is still a little bit surreal that he has taken a big move towards accomplishing a childhood dream.
“Getting drafted was the first step,” Abney said.
“(Being a pro hockey player) has been a goal of mine since I was a kid, but I didn’t think it was possible until I got drafted.”
The Oilers selected the Aldergrove Minor Hockey product with a third round pick, 82nd overall, in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
He attended the team’s past two prospects camps where they told him to continue working on his skating.
In 180 career WHL games — undrafted in the bantam draft, he signed on with the Everett Silvertips and was later traded to the Edmonton Oil Kings — Abney has 14 goals and 23 assists and 298 penalty minutes.
“I have the size and I can fight, but they want me to be able to play, too,” he said about the Oilers, who have plenty of skilled, albeit small, forwards.
What they lack is some size.
“They are a young and skilled team,” Abney said. “I can bring the physical element and stand up for my teammates and stuff.”
His general manager with the Oil Kings sees loads of potential.
“With his size, toughness and skating ability for a big man, he has a ton of potential,” said Bob Green.
“He brings toughness, leadership, a presence on the ice (and) chips in offensively.
“He needs to continue to work on his strength and conditioning, puck skills, and the little things in his game such as getting pucks out of his end and playing without the puck.”
Working on those areas will lead to more ice time, Green said.
The key to tapping that potential will be putting in the necessary time commitment, which Abney says he has no problem doing.
“Your whole life is dedicated to hockey,” he said, talking about sacrificing things like spending time with family and friends.
“But you do it for the love of the game.”
Abney will continue to work out with his long-time trainers, Mike Thompson and Tyler Jackson, of TnT Hockey Performance Training.
Abney is likely to begin his pro career with the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.