Fleury heeding advice from big brother

Aaron Vickers2017 Draft Center, Features, WHL

Helpful texts here and there have helped Kootenay Ice defenseman Cale Fleury keep an even-keel.

Because there’s someone who can relate on the other end.

Fleury, eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, has big brother Haydn Fleury to lean on.

“It helps having my brother go through the same thing a couple years ago,” said Cale of Haydn, who was selected seventh overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2014 NHL Draft. “He gave me some advice to not think about it too much and just play your game.

“That’s what I’ve tried to focus on the most so far.”

He’s got even more people in his corner to help him along the way.

His parents.

“They know what Haydn went through,” said Fleury, 65th in Future Considerations’ Winter ranking for the 2017 draft. “They can help a little bit. He can help too. He told me to keep playing how I have been and it’s going to happen. I kind of ignore the rankings and stuff like that, keep focused on hockey and not about the draft.”

So far so good.

The third-year Western Hockey Leaguer has vaulted up NHL Draft rankings, and has already surpassed career-best totals set with the Ice in 2015-16.

Fleury, who turned 18 in November, has 27 points through 45 games this season.

They’re attention-getting numbers that have eclipsed previous career highs set over 61 games last season.

And they are certainly garnering him some.

“Especially when you talk to scouts after the game it puts it into reality that someone’s here,” Fleury said. “That they want to talk to me is a good sign, but you try not to get too excited about it.”

But not too excited, of course.

Fleury, for the most part, has been able to block out that extra-curricular noise.

“The stuff off the ice isn’t going to change what you do on the ice,” he said. “If you work on the ice you can change the stuff that happens off the ice.”

Until season’s end, that is.

Then his attention might wander a little bit more to Chicago.

The United Center.

June 23rd and 24th.

His draft moment.

“The atmosphere in there was crazy,” Fleury said, recounting Haydn’s draft experience almost three years ago. “I remember when the Philadelphia pick was taken. It was (Travis) Sanheim. It was crazy. He was their hometown draft pick.

“Once it was kind of in the area he was expected to get drafted it was nerve-wracking. I think my parents might’ve been more nervous than him, but I don’t think I was.”

“I think about it a little bit. I try not to, really, until maybe the season’s over. When it’s a lot closer I’ll start thinking about it.”

Start imagining.

Because it’ll come soon for Fleury.