Once Colby Daniels found the right situation, his talent rose to the top.
In his second year with the Kindersley Klippers, the 18-year-old Daniels struggled to find the net during his rookie campaign and the early portion of this season.
But, when the 6-foot-0, 180-pound winger was put on a line with Giovanni Bombini, there was no stopping him.
“My year is going good; it’s been up and down,” says Daniels. “I’ve found a bit of scoring with Bombini.”
In his first 18 games Daniels had just 13 points, but in the last 24 matches he has added another 31 giving him 20 goals 24 helpers this season. Last year in 50 games, Daniels managed just 19 points in 50 contests so the sudden turnaround has caught even Daniels off guard.
“I hadn’t been focused on school (opportunities),” admits Daniels. “I didn’t think I would have the year I have had. When they started going in they really started going in.”
Putting the puck in the net shouldn’t come as a total surprise as Daniels had two strong seasons with the Battlefords Stars of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League prior to making the move to Kindersley. In 85 games with the Stars, Daniels recorded 69 points, which are pretty good numbers considering he had just turned 15 years old when he made the jump to that level.
Having graduated from high school in Martensville last year, Daniels, who grew up in Leask, Sask., is planning on writing his SAT exams this summer now that schools like Niagara and the University of Vermont have shown an interest and he has realized that the college route would be a great way to extend his career and prepare him for the future.
“My main focus is to further myself to go down south,” says Daniels. “If hockey doesn’t work out, then I will have my schooling to fall back on.”
The final stretch of games for Kindersley are crucial for the Klippers if they hope to see any post-season action and Daniels, who realizes he can continue to raise his stock with a strong performance, is ready for the challenge.
“It’s going to go right down to the wire,” says Daniels. “We’re feeling pretty confident about the playoffs. We’ll be seeking home-ice advantage because we know going to Estevan, their rink will be rocking.”
The Klippers must first hold off the Weyburn Red Wings for the final playoff berth and then focus on staying ahead of Estevan. That story will unfold in the next two weeks and with two years of junior eligibility remaining, Daniels has plenty of time to write the next chapter of his career and if things keep going the way they have, it should be a happy ending.
Tag(s): Spotlight Young Guns