The Rookie Round-Up gives ECHL fans the chance to get to know a rookie who has signed with an ECHL team for the 2018-19 season. This week, the ECHL spoke with Justin Lemcke of the Wichita Thunder. After finishing his junior career with the Hamilton Bulldogs, he’s ready to get started on the next chapter – get to know him in this Q&A!
Name: Justin Lemcke
Hometown: Orono, Ontario
ECHL Team: Wichita Thunder
2017-18 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs (59 gp, 9g, 17a, 26 pts.)
ECHL: What should Thunder fans know about you?
Justin Lemcke: I am a right-handed, two-way defenseman that likes to play with an edge. I am from a small town Orono, Ontario. I like to spend my free time away from hockey by golfing and fishing.
ECHL: What were the factors that led you to sign with Wichita?
JL: After talking to coach (Malcolm) Cameron, and having my own aspirations to play pro hockey, Wichita seemed like a great fit for me to develop my game, and myself as a person to help prepare myself to move up the ranks in pro hockey.
ECHL: You had the honor of serving as captain for three years with Hamilton. What did it mean to you to have such a long tenure as captain at the junior level?
JL: I think being a captain for as long as I was is rare in junior hockey and gave me the opportunity to really grow as a leader. I can definitely say I came out of junior hockey confident in myself and leadership abilities.
ECHL: This past season was a special one for you as the Bulldogs won the OHL title and competed in the Memorial Cup. Are there any special memories that stand out from the season?
JL: I think it goes without saying that hoisting the Robertson Cup (as OHL champions) and getting to share the experience with such a great group of guys was the highlight of it all. I also think the playoff run all together in itself was very memorable as it will be something I look back on and I learned from when playing at the next level.
ECHL: Are there any NHL players you try to model your game after?
JL: A player I have always taken interest in and tried to model is Dan Girardi. I think the D zone always comes first and he is a smart, two-way defenseman with a very active stick. I try to play with a bit more of an edge to add another component to my game.
ECHL: How have you been spending your summer?
JL: I have spent my summer preparing for the upcoming season, training out of Elite Training Systems run by Anaheim Ducks strength coach Mark Fitzgerald. I also have been able to spend some time up at the cottage where I do lots of fishing and golfing.
ECHL: What are you most looking forward to about your first season in pro hockey?
JL: I am really looking forward to just the physical and mental test that comes with a long season. I am very competitive and am excited to have an opportunity to prove myself at the pro level.