Some tests, Mark Jankowski knows, can explore a young man’s heart, x-ray his soul.
That History of the Modern Middle East exam his senior year at Providence, as a for-instance.
“It was a requirement for my major,” recalls the rangy centreman, involuntarily, almost imperceptibly recoiling at the memory. “And it was … tough. A tough class. History of the Modern Middle East. I mean, it even sounds tough.
“So I really had to focus, to buckle down, because I needed it to graduate.
“I remember the week leading up to writing it, I don’t think I came out of my bedroom. Didn’t get much sleep. I’m not sure I even ate.
“Just locked into my notes.”
His current study habits are decidedly different. They involve every extra rep in the gym, each additional kilometre on the odometer while running, the pushing and prodding of his body to be bigger, faster, stronger, sharper.
An hour-long informal skate out at WinSport on Thursday alongside a mixture of hopefuls and seasoned campaigners is only the latest study time aimed at the 2012 first-round pick securing a spot on the Flames’ 2017-18 opening night roster, Oct. 4th three hours north versus those dastardly Edmonton Oilers.
“Ever since I was drafted here, I’ve pushed hard in the summer because an important thing for me is getting bigger, stronger,” he notes. “And I think I’ve done that.”
“That’s what makes it more rewarding. Putting in the work to get where you want.
“We did a lot of hill runs today. They weren’t fun. But they’re part of the process, part of the end goal.
“So bring ’em on.”
As Jankowski embarked upon his initial season in the pro game last September after four years of collegiate hockey life in the Providence Friars’ program, Flames’ general manager Brad Treliving compared the upgrade in class and expectation to suddenly “working with no net.”
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