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‘A Day I’ll Never Forget’

After monster year in WHL, Phoenix native Kastelic selected by Ottawa in 2019 NHL Draft

ment camp “Ottawa is a first-class organization and the camp was a really amazing expeark Kastelic was first eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft but wasn’t selected. rience,” said Kastelic. “It was awesome to meet the staff, trainers and the players, He also wasn’t picked in the 2018 draft. and start building relationships with all of them. During the camp, I just tried to take All the 20-year-old Phoenix native did was pile up 47 goals and 77 points for it all in, the fitness testing, seminars, skill sessions and scrimmages, while at the the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Calgary Hitmen in 2018-19, all while serving same time trying to make a good impression. I’m really looking forward to going as captain for the club. back in the fall. The Ottawa Senators took notice and nabbed Kastelic in the fifth round (125th “At the end of camp, I had a positive exit meeting with the development staff overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft, which was held June 21-22 in Vancouver, B.C. where we discussed things to work on the rest of the summer to help improve my “I was at home watching the draft with my parents when my agent (Scott Bart- game and prepare for the next level.” lett from Sports Consulting Group) called with the news,” said Kastelic. “Almost Kastelic said his plans for next season include playing for the Senators organisimultaneously, I saw my name show up on the TV and it was a moment I’ll never zation. forget. Shortly after, I received the call from Ottawa’s head scout, Trent Mann, “Getting drafted is just the first step,” said Kastelic. “My next goal is to sign with welcoming me to the organization. It was really special and a day I’ll never forget. Ottawa and play at the highest level possible as soon as I can. For now, my plan “I started getting a lot of texts and messages from friends, coaches and teamis to go back to Calgary in August until the Sens training camp and do my best to mates. It was amazing to see all of the support I received.” compete for a spot in Belleville (Ottawa’s American Hockey League affiliate).” Passed over in 2017 and 2018, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound forward said he never Growing up in Arizona, Kastelic started playing house hockey at Polar Ice in get discouraged by not getting drafted. Chandler. He then played minor hockey for the Phoenix Polar Bears, Phoenix Fire“I guess it started at the end of the 2017-18 season and not making playbirds and Jr. Coyotes. From 2013-15, Kastelic played on the strong 14U and 16U offs,” said Kastelic. “I was motivated to train and used the extra time to work on Jr. Coyotes squads. my fitness and conditioning level and “I had a lot of great coaches during skated with a group of my minor hockey career and took a little local junior, college something away from each of them,” and pro players Kastelic said. “The coach that stands from Phoenix. out the most though is my dad (Ed), who Because coached me up until Bantam. I really feel I didn’t he helped produce successful teams and taught every player he coached so much. Being a former NHLer, he was very well-respected and knowledgeable and I’m very lucky I was able to have him as my coach.” Being immersed in a hockey family made it an easy choice for Kastelic to want to pursue the game. “My dad, grandpa (Pat Stapleton) and uncle (Mike Stapleton) played hockey so, naturally, my parents (Ed and Susan) signed me up for hockey at a young age, and I just really enjoyed it,” said Kastelic. “I played a lot of different go to a training camp, sports as a kid, but hockey was my true I personally got off to a passion. I was always a Coyotes fan good start (in 2018-19). I growing up and loved going to their started to prove that I could contribute games when I had the chance.” offensively while demonstrating leaderEd Kastelic played 220 NHL games ship and work ethic. I had a great group with the Washington Capitals and of coaches and teammates that helped Hartford Whalers, Pat Stapleton skated to contribute to my success. I followed in 635 games for the Boston Bruins and it up with a strong playoff performance Chicago Blackhawks, and Mike StaplePhoenix native and Jr. Coyotes graduate Mark Kastelic finished third in goals this past season in ton played nearly 700 games with eight and a first-round win over Lethbridge. the WHL, racking up 47 in 2018-19 for the Calgary Hitmen, a team he also captained. Photo/Candice NHL teams. “It is definitely disappointing when Ward/Calgary Hitmen you don’t get drafted, but I tried not to “My family has made so many sacrilet it affect me. I used it as more motivation to continue training harder and working fices and they have provided me with incredible opportunities throughout my hockon the things I could control. I tried to focus more on helping the Hitmen be more ey career, which I couldn’t be more thankful for,” Kastelic said. “My parents and successful. If the team does well, we all look good.” sisters (Kristen, Courtney and Kari) are my biggest supporters and role models. He joins another Jr. Coyotes graduate and Phoenix native, Todd Burgess, who I’ve learned so much from all of them – it’s incredible.” was selected in the fourth round (103rd overall) by the Senators in 2016. Burgess As an American, Kastelic had to decide at an early age if he wanted to wait will be a senior in the fall at NCAA Division I Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. for an NCAA offer or jump to the Hitmen, the team that picked him in the second This season with Calgary, Kastelic’s offense exploded. His 47 goals were thirdround (41st overall) of the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. best in the WHL, while his 77 points were a 32-point improvement from 2017-18. “I’ve always had my sights set on the WHL ever since I first started learning According to prospect-stats.com, he was one of just 16 WHL forwards to finish about the league and talking to teams in Bantam,” Kastelic said. “My dad played above 1.00 primary points per game, with only 10 secondary assists all year. Major Junior in the OHL, so I had a pretty good feel about what the league “We had a lot of great personalities and leaders in the room so to be named had to offer. What really appealed to me about the ‘Dub’ was the heavy game captain was a huge honor,” Kastelic said. “At the same time, I tried to just be myschedule and the grind that prepares you for professional hockey. And once self, lead by example, and grow as a leader. It was a really fun experience and I am I was drafted by a great organization like Calgary, I knew right away that was thankful for the previous Hitmen captains that I was able to learn from.” where I wanted to play. After getting drafted, Kastelic went to Ottawa for the team’s annual develop“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” By Matt Mackinder

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Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Profile for Rubber Hockey Magazines

Arizona Rubber Magazine - Summer 2019  

Our summer issue, featuring Phoenix native, Jr. Coyotes graduate and NHL draft pick Mark Kastelic on the cover, has hit the streets!

Arizona Rubber Magazine - Summer 2019  

Our summer issue, featuring Phoenix native, Jr. Coyotes graduate and NHL draft pick Mark Kastelic on the cover, has hit the streets!