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Cicek Still Smiling After NHL Debut



Credit: San Jose Sharks

While Tuesday night’s 5-2 win over rival Vegas Golden Knights was exciting for all within the San Jose Sharks organization, there was one player in particular who it might have meant most to.

That individual is Nick Cicek, who was able to suit up in the first NHL game of his career. He wasn’t sheltered by any means, either, with 17:35 in ice time. As you can imagine, he was ecstatic when speaking with reporters postgame.

“Yeah, obviously Vegas is crazy barn to play in, it’s loud the whole time,” Cicek said. “That atmosphere is definitely wild. I got an experience here in preseason, so I think that helped me out a little bit. I think definitely the nerves there in the first period, but throughout the game, I thought I got better and the nerves went away, and we just kept going.”

Those nerves were noticeable in the opening period, as Cicek fanned on a pass he was attempting to send up the boards to Nico Sturm. Instead, Jack Eichel picked it off, and soon after was able to score the opening goal of the game. Though not an ideal start for Cicek, his teammates immediately looked to pick him up on the bench.

“Pretty much the whole room came up to me and said ‘Don’t worry about it, you had a good first period with your NHL debut.’ They said mistakes happen all the time,” Cicek explained. “I mean it wasn’t my first mistake and it’s not going to be my last mistake. It’s going to happen, but I think I rebounded from that and kept going, and the boys definitely helped me out with that.”

That wasn’t all his teammates did to make him feel more comfortable with the group, either. As per tradition with all NHL teams, Cicek was spotted in warmups doing a solo lap before being joined on the ice.

Cicek may have also made some NHL history last night, though it hasn’t been officially confirmed. Though born in Manitoba, the undrafted 22-year-old is of Turkish descent. No player born in Turkey has ever suited up for a game in the NHL, though it isn’t quite clear if he is the first of Turkish descent to do so. Nevertheless, it certainly isn’t a common feat, and only adds to what was a special debut.

A debut of which he made clear was even more incredible than he could have ever imagined.

“Oh, I think it definitely lived up to it. I still got a smile on my face,” Cicek said. “I’ve been smiling all day. It’s been an incredible experience and can’t wait to keep going.”

Keep going he and his teammates will, as they will look to make it four straight victories on Thursday night in a home tilt against the Detroit Red Wings.

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