Originally created 10/18/01

Diary: Josh St. Louis

Editor's note: Augusta Lynx Rookie forward Josh St. Louis will compile a weekly diary throughout his first pro season. The 25-year-old was a prolific scorer at the major junior level, including a 57-goal season with Swift Current of the Western Hockey League in 1996-97, and played the past two seasons at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. A native of Calgary, Alberta, St. Louis will be sharing his thoughts each Thursday during the season with staff writer Rob Mueller.

Only 2 1/2 weeks into my pro hockey career and so much already has gone on.

We had a great training camp and a a really good start to the season. It feels good to be unbeaten and to see so many of the things we worked hard on in training camp and in practice starting to pay off.

I've only been here less than a month, but it feels a lot longer. I've been able to make a pretty smooth transition to the new lifestyle and the pro game.

When I first got here to Augusta, I didn't know what to expect. But right away, it was pretty comforting to see some familiar faces.

The first night when I got to town, I met trainer Brian Patafie, whom I got to know a little bit back home in Canada. You may not see a person for five years, but when you see that person again, it brings back a lot of good memories.

Obviously, it's been great to be reunited with a couple of former teammates, Jessie Rezansoff and Tyler Willis. I played with those guys on the same line back in junior with Swift Current. We're all roommates now, so that's been a lot of fun. It's made getting used to the new surroundings a lot easier.

We started the season off with a really intense training camp. Everyone worked hard and used camp as a way to get to know each other and start jelling as a team. I felt comfortable right off the bat because of the familiar faces out there. Right away, some of the guys started calling me by my nickname from junior - Lou Dog. That helps make you feel even more comfortable out there.

As training camp wound down and the buildup to the season opener set in, there was naturally a lot of emotion and nerves involved for me. I was extremely excited but, at the same time, I was really nervous. If I wasn't nervous, though, I'd think something was wrong.

The first game against Greensboro was no exception. I was definitely feeling first-game jitters. But once you get out there and take that first shift and get in that first hit, you start to feel good and start playing your own game.

It was great to win two of the first three games. Unfortunately, we lost in a shootout in the second game to Pee Dee, but I think we showed a lot of character as a team to come from behind to tie the game and force overtime.

As far as my time away from the ice, living over at the team apartments has been great. It's like a college dorm, almost. Pretty much all day long, the other guys on the team are in and out, stopping by to hang out. The older guys have been great to us younger players. Asking you to come over to their place for supper or just hanging around has really made me feel at ease.

This is my first real experience in the South, and I had no idea what to expect at first. I've seen Augusta and the Masters on TV before, and heard great things about the city before I came down here. Now that I've been here for a while, I found out everything I heard was right. The people here have been more than welcoming - from the fans to the booster club folks to the sponsor family I have here.

Jessie has really been a big help. When I got here, he showed me around town and introduced me to a lot of the people that were helpful to him when he played here the first time around.

I've pretty much settled into a nice daily routine. The guys play golf all the time, and although I'm not the greatest golfer, it's been good to get out there on the course with the guys. A group of us also have been going to the movies the night before the games. It's good to get into that kind of a routine. It gets you into kind of a comfort zone.

This team has me really excited. There's an amazing blend of experience and youth, and I think what that leads to is chemistry.

You look up front at the guys on our top line with Scottie Morrow, Guy Larose and Wes Mason, and in net with Judd Lambert. There's a lot of experience there, and they lead by example. Hopefully, that is going to reflect on the rookies and younger players like myself.

It's also been great playing for coach Jim Burton. He's a great guy to talk to. Sometimes, you're not fortunate enough to have someone like that to just talk to. Jim's great, and so are some of the other guys, like Brian Patafie. I know I can always go talk to him.

When you add all those things up, it's easy to be excited about this hockey team. I think it's going to be a great year. For the fans, for the team, and for myself, as well.


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