Despite being drafted in the United States Hockey League Futures Draft by the Sioux Falls Stampede in May, 16-year-old Stefanos Lekkas isn’t ready to join the team yet.
A goaltender from Elburn, Lekkas didn’t make the under-20 team in Sioux Falls, S.D., this month, but said the tryout experience went “really well.” The tryouts lasted four days from June 1-4, and consisted of practices, scrimmages and games to evaluate the players.
“There were kids from age 16 to 20 at the tryout,” said Lekkas, a Kaneland student. “And since I’m only 16, there’s no rush to join the team just yet.”
Before he traveled up to the University of Minnesota for the tryout, Lekkas was thrown a curveball. The coach who drafted Lekkas, Kevin Hartzell, was fired just six days after the USHL Futures draft. Lekkas said playing for new coach Cary Eades took some acclimation, but only in the beginning since Eades hadn’t seen him play.
“It was different,” Lekkas said. “But they found some stuff I need to work on to get to the next level, so that’s what I’ll be working on this year.”
Lekkas did not say where he would play his hockey this season, only saying that he would be playing for “an under-18 AAA team in Chicago,” rather than the under-16 Chicago Mission team that he played for last year.