Steven Lorentz played his first NHL game last week and cites patience and perseverance as reasons for where he is today.
"It was so cool to be out on the ice and just contribute in my first game, be able to get some hits and get my feet wet," he said.
The Waterloo native is now on the active roster for the Carolina Hurricanes, but remembers his passion for the game developed in his hometown when he was just two years old.
When he was seven, RIM Park was considered home nice for him. It was here that his former Waterloo Wolves coach Shawn Dietrich knew Lorentz would go far.
"He's always on the right side of the park," he said. "He's a very hard-working player.
"The big thing for him is he stayed with his training off ice and got bigger and stronger."
Lorentz spent the next few years working on his game in the ECHL and the AHL.
"It's my own path," he said. "Kind of taking the long way but I don't think there's anything wrong with that."
Dietrich says he admires the sacrifices Lorentz made to achieve his goal, while the pro remembers how his former coach helped him develop his roots.
"He wouldn't just scream in your face, he would pull you aside and sit you down and show your mistakes on video," he said.
Lorentz is also looking to give back to the area and met with young generations of Waterloo Wolves last fall.
"He talked to our players about what it takes to be a pro," said Dietrich. "Worked with our guys in certain aspects and drills too."
Lorentz says he's optimistic for the future and has his eyes on the big prize.
"Moving forward I wan to be able to contribute and hopefully bring a Stanley Cup to North Carolina," he said.