Mark Scheifele may only be with the Winnipeg Jets for a few games, but he's invited his family to the team's season opener on Sunday against Montreal.
Scheifele, who is from Kitchener, Ont., said he was especially eager for his older brother Kyle to come to the MTS Centre for the game.
“He’s inspired me. He’s one of my biggest fans, too," Scheifele said today after practice. “It will be a cool moment.”
He said his brother, who is two years older, taught him the game and they still play together each summer.
“He kind of gave me the work ethic that I have because I was always trying to be better than him, striving to beat him in everything," he said. "Me [and]im grew up together and we were like best friends. He was an inspiration. He’s a good guy to look up to.”
Kyle is studying at Conestoga College in Kitchener but plays up to three times a week in a recreational league. “He’s a good hockey player," Scheifele said. "He was big into basketball and volleyball....He’s still got the move with pucks, though.”
Scheifele, 18, was the Jets' first overall pick this summer and his status with the team remains unclear. He signed a three-year entry level contract this week, but the Jets can send him back to the Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts after nine games without triggering the contract.
During today's practice, Scheifele sported a new number - 55. He had been wearing 45 during the pre season but was eager to switch when other numbers became available. "I don't like the 40s," he said when asked to explain the change. When pressed about why he didn't like 40s, Scheifele shrugged and said: "I just don't."