Continuing with Chapter 4 of his guest blogging series with us is Dylan Willick, forward of the Kamloops Blazers. The native of Prince George, B.C. submitted his first entry to the blog back on November 1st with Part 2 arriving at the end of November. Part 3 came early in 2011.
Willick has now established new career highs for goals and points, currently sits third on his team for goals scored. The Blazers' alternate captain is coming off his most productive month that saw him collect 7 goals and 10 points in January.
Here is the fourth installment in Dylan Willick's 2011 Draft Blog...
What a January…15 games in 29 nights sums up the Kamloops Blazers first month of 2011. Fatigue didn’t seem to be a huge issue for us, but the constant wear and tear on guys led to far too many injuries that may not have been as serious if we had enough time to fully recover from them.
ur captain, Chase Schaber, played only 5 games in January as he went out with a leg injury. Other key injuries for our team this past month included Dalibor Bortnak, who received a concussion, Jordan DePape, also out with a leg injury and Bernhard Keil who was side lined with shoulder problems. With the exception of Chase, all of them have returned to action. Chase still does not have a firm return date on his injury.
Because the injury bug has hit our dressing room so hard, it has meant a lot of ice time for guys who generally aren't expected to play in those key roles. While our record doesn't really reflect our play, I do believe the guys in our dressing room stepped up and did everything they could do to fill in for those key missing guys.
Due to all of the injuries this last month, we were able to call up our 1st round Bantam Draft Pick, 15-year-old forward, Matt Needham. Normally 15-year-olds are only allowed to play in 5 regular season games. Because we had so many players playing in the World Juniors and in the U-17 Cup, he was allowed to play 10 games. He stepped up nicely for our team and got himself 8 points while here. The whole organization is certainly looking forward to him playing with us full time one day.
Needless to say, January wasn't our best month. We slowly dropped down the playoff ladder and currently sit in 8th place in the conference. Not exactly where we’d like to be, but hopefully with guys getting healthy again, we are looking forward to turning this all around and make the playoffs in decent shape.
Not all of a January was a total let down for certain individuals. The NHL's Central Scouting rankings came out and two of my teammates were named to the prestigious list. Tyler Hansen, a solid 17-year-old defenceman who is in his second year in the WHL. He was ranked 97th on the domestic skater rankings. Also on the list was fellow forward Colin Smith. He is a very talented and crafty skater who seems to have found his stride in the past month. He was ranked 130th.
Personally, the month of January 2011 was my most productive month in my WHL career. I was able to contribute 10 points, 7 goals and 3 assists. 7 of those points in the last 6 games where I was a +4. I have found the back of the net 4 times in the last 5 games bringing my YTD total goals to 17. On February 5th I scored my 60th point in my WHL career.
So far, February seems to be following the January example with the injury issues… we lost two significant defensemen for the long-term. Austin Madaisky suffered a hairline C-7 fracture in the neck on Friday, February 4 versus the Chilliwack Bruins. The 6’2” 5th round NHL pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets will go home for the rest of the season to recover from the injury. He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp in late August 2011.
Brandon Underwood suffered a torn MCL in his knee in the same game on Friday night. He will miss the next 4-6 weeks and we hope to have him back in the dressing room before the playoffs come in mid-March. Our backup goaltender Cam Lanigan is expected to be back this week after suffering a concussion in practice last Monday.
Our Kamloops Blazers Hockey Club is very excited that we get to play a game in Whitehorse, Yukon as part of the Scotiabank CBC Hockey Day in Canada. This will be a once in a life time opportunity for all of us as we take on the Vancouver Giants in a sold out Takhini Arena on Saturday, February 12th starting at 4:00pm. Both of our teams will be taking a chartered plane to Whitehorse, along with the Petitcodiac-Salisbury Bantam "A" Flyers from New Brunswick. We get to attend a banquet on Friday night with Don Cherry and other NHL alumni. It’s an exciting event and we look forward to playing some great hockey in front of the some very excited fans…
So I’ll end this blog with another tidbit about me that you may not know… I graduated high school with honours and have a bilingual diploma in French Immersion. I can fluently speak, read and write in both official languages. My Mom thought that one day, having a second language would be beneficial to us and since Canada has two official languages, we should learn them both! So my siblings and I all went through the French immersion program. I hope that one day, I can use my French language skills when I am playing hockey in the NHL… maybe being interviewed by the press in the Montreal! ☺
Thanks again for taking some “time out” to read my blog…
(Kamloops Photos: Tricia Mercuri / Kamloops Blazers)
Dylan Willick is sitting 8th in team scoring with the Blazers having scored 18 goals and 32 points thus far. The 5'10 and 187 lbs, right winger is currently riding a point scoring streak that has seen him notch 9 points in the past 8 games including.