Making a mark on the scoreboard can be a challenging prospect for newcomers to the KIJHL but with the right mix of coaching and mentorship, it is a league where the rookies can shine.
One of the Sicamous Eagles 2019 roster additions, Jaxon Danilec, 18, has proved to not only be one of the top scoring rookies in the league but also leads the Eagles with 16 goals so far this season. Only one other KIJHL rookie has topped Danilec’s scoring total so far this season. Elvis Slack of the Grand Forks Border Bruins has lit the lamp 19 times this season.
Danilec said he shares the ice with a lot of good veteran players who have helped him build his confidence. He credited Trysten Brookman and Tristan Walz in particular, as well as linemates Brayden Haskell and Brandon Pelletier. Eagles netminders Cole Steinke and Koltin Dodge have also helped the rookie skater by offering him insight about where to shoot to beat opposing goalies.
One aspect of KIJHL hockey that Danilec has noticed is how much more physical the game is at the Junior B level. Playing as part of the BC Major Midget Leagues Cariboo Cougars before he became an Eagle, Danilec now faces more mature players and has to keep his head up a lot more to make plays. With help from his linemates and tweaks to his game, his shots are getting through and many of them are finding the back of the net.