KENNEWICK, Wash. — Sidney Crosby had the dryer. Robby Jackson has the garage door.
A 2012 Western Hockey League bantam draft pick of the Tri-City Americans, Jackson has spent untold hours over the years shooting pucks in the driveway. And just like Crosby, the errant pucks cause damage. For Jackson, the ones that miss the net or ring off the cross bar hit the wooden garage door, leaving battle scars from the aspiring hockey player.
"It's a little memento of my childhood," said Jackson, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound forward. "It still works, you just have to be careful when you close it. I told my parents when I sign my first pro contract that I'd buy them a new garage door."
Jackson, from Alameda, Calif., will be one of 38 players -- four goalies, 14 defensemen and 20 forwards -- at the Americans rookie camp that starts today at Toyota Center.
Jackson and his dad Bob are scheduled to fly into the Tri-Cities today.
"I think we will have to go from the airport to testing," said Jackson, who turns 15 today. "I haven't been up there (Kennewick) yet. We talked about coming up for a game last year, but we really never had the time. I'm so excited to come up."
The garage door will be happy to get a reprieve.
"I was shooting at it one day for three hours and I knocked a whole panel out of the door," Jackson said. "What are you going to do? It's all white behind the 4x6 net, and all around are the dings and such. My dad and I spent five hours one day (in June) reinforcing the door with wood and wood glue."
The patch work didn't last long.
Jackson was tabbed as a top 5 pick in the bantam draft in May, but with college hockey an option for the future, his stock dropped. Americans general manager Bob Tory was happy to see him still available in the seventh round.
"No question. He dominated at the St. Albert Tournament, where his team was competing against the Canadian kids he would be up against in the draft," Tory said. "He's a small dynamic player with tremendous lateral ability, great vision, he's a natural scorer and plays with passion. He's a special player."
Now, it's Tory job to convince the Jacksons that the WHL would be the best avenue to help Robby pursue his NHL dream.
"He has the potential to be one of the top players in his age group in North America," Tory said. "For us to be able to select him where he was tremendous. This camp is a big step for him to learn about the league. Credit to him for coming to camp and checking it out."
Though he's still on the fence between the WHL and college, Jackson said he's looking forward to seeing what he can do at camp.
"I've had a lot of tournaments and camps this summer, and in my down time I've been running and working out to make myself a better player and hopefully open some eyes and turn some heads," Jackson said. "I think this week will help me with exposure and give me a better idea about the WHL. I'm going to play it by ear and enjoy it. Later, I will think about what I want to do."
Jackson played for the L.A. Selects last season, along with Ty Comrie -- the younger brother of Americans goalie Eric Comrie -- who also was drafted by Tri-City.
"I played on the same line with Ty and we put up some pretty good numbers," Jackson said.
Eric Comrie and Tri-City teammate Brian Williams, are former L.A. Selects players. They have been able to share their experiences with up-and-coming California players.
"It helps that Eric and Brian were drafted by the Americans and they can give me the real story so I will know my options, Jackson said. "I saw Brian at camp and picked his brain a little. They both had good experiences their first year and it's nice to talk to them about it."
Bill Comrie, Eric and Ty's father, also has been able to give his 2 cents about the pros and cons of college and the WHL. His older sons Paul and Mike took different routes to the NHL.
"Paul went to Denver for four years before the NHL, and Mike went to Michigan for two years before playing for Bob (Tory) at Kootenay, then he went to the (Edmonton) Oilers," Comrie said. "Ty is a good student and already has offers for college. The WHL has a good package for education. We will work through it. There is no rush.
"(The WHL) is a great route. Eric has loved it here," Comrie added. "(Other parents) have asked me, and I told them they couldn't have been drafted by a better organization. I have nothing but good things to say about the Tri-City Americans."
Bob Jackson has appreciated all the input.
"The WHL option is nice," he said. "With all the teams out there, I'm glad we ended up with Tri-City. Everything I have gotten from Bill Comrie, Eric and Brian, they all love Tri-City, from the fans, to the arena to management. I have heard nothing but good things about them. We will keep our options open."
Note: The rookie camp and the main camp are open to the public and free of charge.