Continuing his guest blogging series with us today 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 which you can read HERE. Since then, the Blazers have played near .500 hockey and Willick has added 6 points taking his season total to 12.
Here is the second chapter in Dylan Willick's 2011 Draft Blog...
Since we last spoke, much has changed around the Kamloops Blazers dressing room. For starters, my team is currently sitting with a 12-12-0-1 record. When we talked last month, we were 8-7-0-1. We seem to follow a pattern of “win some, lose some” and hover right around the .500 mark on the season. This has been a ‘below expectations’ season thus far for the type of players that sit in that dressing room. Our Division currently is in a head-to-head battle and there isn’t much point differential between the second place team and the last place team. Every game result seems to change the landscape. We are going to need to focus hard and work on consistency to keep us moving up in the Division and earn our spot in the Playoffs.
This month has brought about plenty of change around our rink. At the start of November we had a total of 25 players on our roster. We are now down to 22. A total of four players who wore our jersey, no longer represent the Kamloops Blazers and only one new face has taken their place.
The first player to be reassigned was Jesse Sinatynski. He only played a total of three games with us after we got him from the Brandon Wheat Kings. Next to leave was veteran defenseman Linden Saip. He was in his third year with the Kamloops Blazers after we received him through a trade with Vancouver. Fellow Prince George product Lyndon Martell, was reassigned to his former Jr. A team, the Prince George Spruce Kings so that he could get the ice time he required to develop his talents. This was his rookie season and he played a total of 8 games for our club. Most recently, we traded Jon Groenheyde to Edmonton for goalie Cam Lanigan. I wish all the players who have moved on from our team the best of luck with their new teams and hopefully we see one another in the not too distant future. (Above, Willick takes the puck to the net against former Edmonton Oil Kings netminder Cam Lanigan - Photo: Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oil Kings)
For the eighth straight year, the Subway Super Series took place in Canada. On November 17, 2010, Kamloops was fortunate enough to host this spectacle and local fans were in for a treat. Three guys from our team had the honour of representing us on Team WHL in the Subway Super Series. Chase Schaber and Austin Madaisky were on the original list of WHL players who would be playing against the Russians. Both men were acquired from Calgary last year and have become a huge part of our team. Chase is our team Captain and Austin serves as an Assistant. A week before the first team WHL game, Brendan Ranford was added to the team. In my eyes, a well deserved spot as he is currently leading the league with goals (24) and sits in 2nd place for points with a total of 44 (when I wrote this). Our entire team was in attendance for the game and we got to watch some of the best players in the league play a very good Russian team. Team WHL unfortunately lost it in a shootout, but it was very entertaining and quite the experience just to watch it.
So what’s new for me? I’ve been working hard on being consistent on the ice, gritty on my shifts and being hard to play against. I have been playing all 3 forward positions. I’ve been lucky enough to have that effort be rewarded by getting a few more points on the stat sheet. I had a 3 game stretch with 2 goals and a fight and I have scored 3 goals and 5 points in the last 6 games. More importantly my last 2 goals forced overtime..... vs Regina where we picked up the win in OT (watch a highlight pack here) and vs Spokane where we won in the shootout.
On Nov. 27th I received an academic award from my team for my course work at the Thompson Rivers University. I always appreciate the recognition for academics because it shows all the players that being a good student as well as good player, counts.
I thought it would be fun to end these guest Blog posts with a “Things you may not know about Dylan Willick” section. The first thing I would love to share with you all is how proud I am to be an Aboriginal Athlete. My Métis heritage is an important part of who I am, and some of the opportunities I’ve had as an athlete have come directly from recognition from the Aboriginal Community. I played two years on Aboriginal Team BC representing my Country at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships. My second year, I was honoured to have been chosen to wear the Captain’s C on my jersey. In 2007, the Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Association named me ‘Aboriginal Male Athlete of the Year’ for BC.
This past summer, I was awarded a Walk Tall Aboriginal Achievement Award in Sport from the local Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. Being recognized by my Aboriginal community as a positive role model and mentor for youth in the community is something I take very seriously and I like to be able to encourage other Aboriginal athletes to follow their dreams of pursuing paths in professional sport. I would also like to acknowledge that a fellow past recipient of this award was Damien Ketlo, goalie for the Regina Pats. Damien is from Fort Fraser, not too far from my hometown of Prince George, BC.
As we head into the flurry of game activity before the upcoming holiday season, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my Blog post and hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
(Kamloops Photos: Tricia Mercuri / Kamloops Blazers)
Dylan Willick is sitting 8th in team scoring with the Blazers having scored 6 goals and 12 points thus far. The 5'10 and 187 lbs, right winger is currently riding a point scoring streak that has seen him collect 3 goals and two assists in the past 6 games.
I have been a minor hockey coach for 4 years and have recently elevated my appreciation for the game by focusing on player development that occurs in the game in the play before a scoring chance or how the assists are generated.
Willick is the ideal example of the depth and talent the NHL should be looking forward to acquiring in the coming years ahead. As he puts it 'gritty on every shift and being hard to play against'.
Willick however fails to mention his pro skills on the penalty kill that has resulted in a number of shorthanded scoring chances.
My prediciton is that it will be the next wave of players like Willick coming out of the CHL that continues the Canadian tradition of putting the EXTREME in our hockey.
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