This is the first article of a three-part series where we’ll preview the LA Kings 2019 Development Camp. Each of the three interviews look at the experience of being a prospect in the organization for slightly different perspective.
We have highly-ranked forward, Akil Thomas, a second round selection in 2018 and a candidate for Team Canada’s upcoming World Junior Championship roster. In another article, defenseman Sean Durzi drops by for his first visit to MayorsManor since being acquired in the big Jake Muzzin trade earlier this year.
First up, though, is Jacob Ingham. He’s a goalie who was taken by LA in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Drat…
MM: All the talk this weekend is about the NHL Draft. What was that weekend like for you, especially waiting around for your name to be called?
Well, when you make the decision to go the Draft, you’re really expecting to be selected. And you really want to go, just in-case it happens. If you don’t get selected, you probably feel a little guilty for dragging the family out to the Draft. So, I was definitely a little nervous. I had a really good rookie year, the season prior, but my draft year was a subpar year. So, I was sitting around and getting more and more nervous as the rounds ticked away. Around halfway through the sixth round I was sweating a little bit.
I had spoken to LA about three times, including an interview with them at the NHL Combine. I thought it went well because they were one of those teams that was a little tougher on me, but I still wasn’t too sure about what to expect going into the Draft. I just felt really good about LA beforehand, so whenever they were picking, I was kind of hoping for my name to be called. Then, when I finally heard my name called, I shot up out of my seat, hugged my mom, dad, sister and my cousin, who was there too. It was all worth the wait. Going to the Kings, which is a great organization, I think I landed in one of the best spots in the NHL. They’re like a goalie factory. They’ve been pumping out spectacular goalies for a lot of years now. Having Billy Ranford there, one of the most top-notch goalie coaches in the NHL, I was super excited to get the opportunity to work with him and all their guys, including Dusty [Imoo] and even players like Jonathan Quick, Jack Campbell, and Cal Petersen. There are a lot of great goalies in the organization and they do a lot of great things for their players.
MM: Having had some time now to reflect back on your third season with the Mississauga Steelheads (OHL), what stands out?
Well, the year prior actually taught me a lot. I took a lot of that adversity into this season and I think that’ part of he reason I had a really good year. I was able to play more of a major role and be a leader, as one of the older guys on a younger team. Overall, it was a great season for sure one of my favorite I’ve ever played in; mainly because of the group of players we had in the room. We were a character driven team and a lot of people already has us written off to start the season – saying we would be drafting first or second overall in the OHL Draft. We really showed everyone something different this year. We finished fifth in our conference. It’s pretty amazing how we banded together against all odds. We went on some really successful runs, although we also had a couple losing skids to. We did knock off Niagara, Ottawa, London and so on. We beat pretty much all of the good teams in the league this year. That wasn’t something anyone would have expected from us, but as a core-group we knew that we could have that consistency if we locked in. Personally, getting to play in 58 games this year was a great experience for me and helped me become more comfortable in net. It put me through every single situation multiple times throughout the season.
MM: In just about a year, this will be your fourth visit to Southern California when you arrive for Development Camp…
That definitely makes it a lot easier, having had the opportunity to attend Development Camp last year. It was pretty crazy, going from the Draft and then going straight home to pack my bag, pulling an all-nighter and then catching a flight in the morning to LA – which was my first time there. Then, I went to Rookie Camp that was another new experience in September. Fortunately, when my OHL season ended his year, I was able to go to Ontario and shadow Peter Budaj and Cal Petersen, and practice with the Reign team a lot; that was fantastic. It’s certainly nice to feel a little bit more comfortable heading into Development Camp and know a little bit about what you’re in for, with goalie skates in the morning and the practices and scrimmages being later in the day. I’m excited to get going again and I’m sure there will also be different stuff I haven’t seen there and I’ll have to adapt to it as it comes.
MM: If last June was just about getting your feet wet at Dev Camp, is this year about finding a way to make a good impression on the staff – especially at the annual scrimmage on Thursday night?
It’s similar to a first impression thing. Even though I’ve been there before, it’s still about wanting to leave a lasting impression on people. In your last game of the season you want to have a really good game and leave that thought with everybody. You want to keep it simple, play your game There are a lot of things you can’t control in a game, so you just have to do everything right that you can possible do. If you do that, there should be a strong impression left with those who were watching.
MM: This is that rare time of the year where you’ll be spending time with guys who aren’t your regular teammates. Who is the one player you’re most looking forward to hanging out with at Dev Camp?
The one guy I’m really looking forward to seeing is JAD (Jaret Anderson-Dolan). I don’t really know him too much; however, with him getting the chance to play a few games with the Kings this year, that was really cool. I also know we have a couple of mutual friends through the World Junior team. So it should be god to get to talk to him more.
MM: Lets have some fun with a bonus question. Give us one funny memory of being in LA previously:
I kind of have two.
The first story was from one of the practices. [David Bell, then assisntant coach for the Reign] was really looking over my gear. I had some pretty crazy gear from Bauer and he just kept looking at it. There aren’t too many guys wearing Bauer in the Kings organization, so he was kind of giving me a hard time. He would ask me things like, ‘Did you get those pads from Canadian Tire?’ It was pretty fun.
An even better one happened when I was up with the Reign a few months back. Aidan Dudas and I had a red-eye back home. We had a connecting flight that went through Detroit and we landed there at about three in the morning. We were in the back of the plane and I’m looking at the ticket. It said our connecting flight was taking off in 30 minutes. I said, ‘Dude, we’re staying on this plane, it’s going to Toronto.’ We thought we had it all sorted out. Just to confirm, I showed my itinerary to the flight attendant and said, ‘I just want to make sure, is this plane going to Toronto?’ The guy said, ‘I can guarantee this plane is NOT going to Toronto!’ So then we had 30 minutes until our flight and we had to get off the plane and find our gate. We wer at Gate 7 and we had to sprint to Gate 68. Of course, it had to be the furthest gate ever. We had just woken up, we were all groggy too. We finally boarded the plane and for the connecting flight just in time. I don’t think we took a breath until we took off to get back to Toronto.
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