Photo: Stefanos Lekkas looks to don the mask for AAA hockey once again this year, after competing at a USA Hockey camp in N.Y. Courtesy photo
Elburn resident gearing up for elite camp in N.Y.
by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—Stefanos Lekkas, 16, of Elburn has his particular tools of the trade.
“My mask is white, with all-white straps and an all-white cage,” Lekkas said. “I just fell in love with it early on.”
That’s a common theme for the honor-roll student from Kaneland, who finds a lot to love about the sport of hockey.
Threaded throughout his family, including his two siblings, Lekkas could be seen tending goal for area hockey outlets like the amateur Chicago Mission for the past four years.
Now, Lekkas prepares to head to Rochester, N.Y. for a USA Hockey National Player Development Camp held from July 7-13, at the Sports Centre.
Lekkas is slated for the Youth Select 16 grouping.
It’s no small feat; Lekkas was one of eight goaltenders selected, after being chosen from an Illinois group, and then a five-state grouping in the Midwest.
Lekkas relishes the opportunity to be between the posts, even with the players by definition being the best of a particular area.
“It’s fun, because everyone has respect for each other and everyone is a great hockey player,” Lekkas said.
He was selected by the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League in their futures draft in May, and while not being selected for the under-20 team after a tryout camp earlier this month, he remains property of the franchise.
“I have another year and I’m optimistic that something can happen. They could still call me up as a prospect on a weekend if they need someone,” Lekkas said.
At 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, Lekkas makes the most of his frame with a hybrid style of goaltending.
“With hybrid, you mix technique with athleticism. I’m not tall enough to be a standup goalie and it’s different from butterfly,” Lekkas said.
Lekkas doesn’t consider himself done even when off the ice, taking in National Hockey League contests on occasion.
“I’ve been up to Detroit three or four times a year to see a game. I like Toronto, and my favorite team is the Montreal Canadiens,” Lekkas said.
Lekkas is eyeing his next move once the gathering out East concludes.
“I’ll be skating with a AAA team somewhere and want to do a goalie camp,” Lekkas said.
Wherever Lekkas stops one-timers next and on whatever level, it stands to be tough to get the ice out of his blood from now on.
“It’s more than a sport. You’re with a family and it’s cool to be around. I’ll always get used to more hockey time.”
Hybrid goaltenders in the NHL include: