Lanny Blitt won a junior hockey championship last season and wants to make it two straight this coming season.
In 2016-17, the 6’6″ 215lbs, Blitt helped backstop the Wichita Jr. Thunder to a WSHL Thorne Cup title and for the upcoming 2017-18 campaign, the Calgary native has signed with the Kalkaska Rhinos.
According to Blitt, coming to the Rhinos and USPHL was a long time coming.
“The opportunity came about in the 2016 Chicago Showcase,” explained Blitt. “Coach (Krzysztof) Oliwa and I kept in contact throughout the year and I’m more than excited to be on board this year.”
Blitt has also played junior hockey back home for the Ponoka Stampeders and Airdrie Thunder.
Now set to challenge for the No. 1 goalie spot with the Rhinos, Blitt said he is ready to finish his last year of juniors on a high note.
“I’m a really outgoing guy and fit in well with the guys as we all have the same passion,” said Blitt. “I find myself a natural leader and love to work hard alongside other hockey players that want to take the game as seriously as I do. I feel I’m a very technically sound goalie and I play extremely calm. I am very good on my angles, and have a strong mental game.”
“We are very excited to have Lanny here in Kalkaska next season,” added Oliwa. “He’s a big goalie who moves very well and we are expecting great things from him. We will do our best to help Lanny achieve his ultimate goal, which is the chance to be able to play college hockey.”
As a Calgary native, Blitt said he remembers watching Oliwa play for the Calgary Flames back in 2003-04.
“Yes, it’s funny, but when I met him (Oliwa) in Chicago for the first time, I was really excited to just talk to someone who has been through the process of the game,” Blitt said. “I remember him walking into my dressing room saying he wanted to see ‘the goalie from Calgary’ and we talked about the Flames and how they were struggling at the time. Oliwa was always well liked in Calgary because he would always be the hardest hitter and outworked everyone on the ice.”
Blitt noted that his relationship with Oliwa helped him decide on playing in Kalkaska.
“Kalkaska was one of my top places to play since getting into Junior A,” said Blitt. “Oliwa has been a tremendous help from the start and was extremely honest with me, which is tough to find in a junior coach these days. The opportunity for the team to compete at the USPHL Premier level and get college exposure was a big selling point for me.”
Blitt is also hoping to make the trek four hours south to see his favorite NHL club.
“I’ve never been to Michigan, but I’m looking forward to it,” Blitt said. “I’m hoping to be able to see a Detroit Red Wings game as they are my favorite team. I’ve lived in the U.S. before last season, so I’m assuming it’s similar. I’m very excited to get integrated into the community of Kalkaska.
“I am very focused on winning a championship with Kalkaska right now, that’s all I can see – lifting a cup with the guys. Overall my goal with hockey is to either get an education by using hockey as my tool or get paid to play my passion.”
Source: Kalkasa Rhinos