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When Jamie Wise answered his phone one day in early August, he didn’t know how it would change his life.
It turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime. He was asked to play for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2014 Rookie Tournament.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins also sent teams. He played in all three of the Blackhawks’ games against the other participants.
Wise believes the Blackhawks organization learned about him because of his productive season last year with the Rams hockey team. He scored 45 points in 26 games, placing third in league scoring.
Now, Wise has moved on from his school life to pursue one in professional hockey, beginning with this tournament.
He recently signed a contract with the Quad City Mallards of the Central Hockey League (CHL).
Wise started playing hockey at the age of three, when he played on his brother’s hockey team. He was introduced to the sport by his father, Graham Wise, who is the current coach of the men’s hockey team at Ryerson.
Since receiving the invite, Wise has spent a lot of time sharpening his skills.
However, this isn’t his first NHL experience. Wise was invited to the Buffalo Sabres training camp in 2012 and was called back to their main camp for pre-season training.
However, the NHL endured a lockout until January and he was sent down to the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League (AHL). Ultimately, the team had no room for him.
Now Wise is getting another shot at playing in the big leagues.
“The most realistic opportunity right now is that I’ll be sent to their AHL training camp in Rockford, and hopefully do my best to make the team there,” he said.
If things don’t work out, Wise still has his CHL contract to fall back on.
Regardless of what happens, Wise says he is excited to see where the future takes him.
“It’s fun. It’s what I love to do, to play hockey and show people my ability,” he said.
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Sept. 17, 2014.