by Lisa McRitchie on 03/05/12 at 02:30 AM ET
Defenceman Taylor Chorney was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the 2005 entry draft and it seems that 7 years later, his time with the organization may be at an end. Chorney has spent the majority of his season with the Oklahoma City Barons and this summer while the Oilers iced a young and often times injured blue line. This summer, Chorney needs a new contract.
Chorney had a few opportunities to play in the Saddledome with the Oilers but speaking to him before the Barons played the Abbotsford Heat, it was another playing opportunity that Chorney flashed back to. “It’s fun to Calgary. I played here in the Mac’s Midget Tournament,” Chorney beamed.
“It was awesome. It was my junior year of high school, so I was 16 or 17. I came here and player for Shattuck St. Mary’s. I think that that was one of the last years that Shattuck came up here. We won the tournament on this rink. It was really fun, that was the first time that I had ever really played in front of a big crowd. So that was pretty cool.”
The Mac’s Midget tournament has been where the public has had first viewings of several successful NHLers including Jarome Iginla, Sidney Crosby and Petr Nedved who actually used his 1989 tournament as an opportunity to defect from communist Czechoslovakia. Although Chorney’s tournament was far less life altering than Nedved’s Chorney still felt what all players get to feel if they make it to the final games and play in the Saddledome; awe.
“Something like that is really cool. Getting to play in an NHL rink when you’re that young gets you excited and I think that that makes you push yourself more and more so you can get there when you’re actually playing in the NHL.”
Chorney had an eventful season in some ways; he played for the Barons, the Oilers and even the St. Louis Blues. The Oilers placed Chorney on waivers for the purpose of reassignment to the Barons in October, and everyone assumed that the defenceman would pass through, business as usual.
Chorney himself was caught off guard when he did not clear waivers and was instead picked up by the Blues. “I think you see everyone go on waivers and you think well I’m going to Oklahoma City for sure and that’s just the way it is, that’s how it’s been for everyone. Rarely does a guy get snagged.
“But I was pretty pumped, it’s pretty cool to know that there are other teams out there that that think that you’re a player and it gives you confidence for sure.”
And then there is the matter of how the Blues’ season has worked out. Chorney must be in some ways disappointed that the Blue later placed Chorney on waivers and the Oilers picked him up once again.
“I think that it was more than anything an opportunity to see the way that way another organization runs things” Chorney explained of his experience. “It’s just a different setup and something even just as simple as going to a practise rink every day instead of the big rink.
“It’s just kind of a little bit of a different lifestyle and getting to meet new teammates. I had a couple of buddies that I played college with that were on that team [St. Louis Blues] and so I think that just getting to see those guys was pretty cool. All and all it would have been nice to play a little more while I was there, but at the same time I’m grateful for the opportunity and to see how another team runs things.”
Now that Chorney is back with the Oklahoma City Barons, he has undoubtedly watched players like Colten Teubert and Alex Plante receive their calls up to the big club and wondered when his next opportunity will come. But Chorney says you can’t focus on what is going on in Edmonton.
“I don’t look at their depth chart that will just drive you crazy trying to pinpoint yourself here or there. I know that there are other teams that are watching and I know that maybe I will get the opportunity this summer to get a chance to go somewhere else. But you’ve got to just worry about your own performance.
“I’d be very grateful if I got another opportunity up and there and it did work out where I ended up sticking in Edmonton because I like it there. I love the guys, the trainers, the coaches, the city, everything there is great. But I think that at some point in your career you’ve got to realize that you’ve got to worry about your own performance and you’ve got to take care of yourself because that is the only way that you can keep playing.”
For the time being, Chorney is a member of the Edmonton Oilers and could still considered a prospect, even at the age of 24 with 61 NHL games under his belt. As such, the Oilers are still watching and in contact with Chorney. While Chorney may not feel he is getting enough contact from the team, his outlook on his future hockey career looks bright; “I think that things are trending up which is a good thing now heading down the stretch.”
The Edmonton Oilers need to improve their defence, that is their weakest link. And while Chorney is playing for the Barons, Jeff Petry who is the same age is playing for the Oilers. The writing may be on the wall with the Oilers, and so like all players, Chorneywill look for his best opportunity to reach his goal of an NHL career. The next news on Taylor Chorney may just be that he has signed with another organization.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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