Logan Nijhoff of Comox has become the 80th captain of the Regina Pats major junior hockey club. Photo by Keith Hershmiller/Regina Pats

Logan Nijhoff of Comox has become the 80th captain of the Regina Pats major junior hockey club. Photo by Keith Hershmiller/Regina Pats

Comox hockey star named captain of WHL team

Comox Valley Minor Hockey product Logan Nijhoff has been named captain of the Regina Pats major junior club. He is the 80th captain of the team that competes in the east division of the Western Hockey League (WHL) .

“It’s definitely an old and historic franchise,” said Nijhoff, a 19-year-old centre who was the Pats alternate captain last season. He stands six feet and weighs 190 pounds.

“We’re playing in a bubble this year, so all the east division teams are in Regina, and we’re staying at the university dorms,” Nijhoff said. “We can’t really see anyone besides our teams and coaches. We had to do a week quarantine at home by ourselves.”

After arriving in Regina, players were required to isolate a further six days in their rooms, and were then tested twice for COVID.

“We all passed two tests, so we got to start practising as a team together.”

Nijhoff is entering his fourth full season in the WHL. A veteran of 150 regular season games for Regina, he scored 34 points in 61 games last season.

“He’s a special kid,” Pats head coach Dave Struch said. “Him being our captain has really helped us along the way as a coaching staff. The person he is off the ice, and his commitment and leadership on the ice has helped us get ahead of the game.”

Nijhoff played hockey locally from atom to second-year bantam before moving to Penticton to attend the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA). He became a member of the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. He played his first WHL game that year as he went back and forth between the OHA and Regina. At 16, he landed a full-time spot with the team in December 2017. The Pats reached the Memorial Cup final in 2018, though he didn’t see any ice time.

“Old guys back then gave him respect,” Struch said. “Now he’s the older guy. We get a chance to hopefully have him for two years as our captain. That doesn’t happen a lot in junior hockey.”

Struch said the team has been going through a “development phase” since the Memorial Cup.

It’s been a young squad the past two seasons, but Nijhoff notes some key additions in goalie Roddy Ross, 20, who is a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick, and centre Connor Bedard of North Vancouver, who at 15 has been granted ‘exceptional player status,’ and is therefore eligible to play in the WHL.

“We’re definitely starting to make that turn, and looking to win a lot more games this year,” Nijhoff said.

His team faces a busy schedule with 24 games in 47 days. The season opener is Friday, March 12 against the Prince Albert Raiders.

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