The level of excitement in La Ronge is at a long-time high as the Ice Wolves are on the cusp of returning to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoffs for the first time in four years.
For 20-year-old forward Jake Gudjonson that prospect has to be somewhat overwhelming.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound product of Golden, B.C., is in his fifth season of junior hockey and he has yet to experience playoff hockey. In his first season with the Ice Wolves last year, La Ronge was out of the playoff chase shortly after Christmas and in the three years before that with the Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League he never saw action beyond the regular schedule let alone even being in a position to challenge for a playoff spot.
It is just a matter of time before all of that changes and Gudjonson has been an integral part of the vast turnaround shown by the Ice Wolves.
Through 46 games Gudjonson has already set personal bests in assists and points and on Wednesday in Melfort when he picked up an assist on Daylon Mannon’s 32nd goal of the season, Gudjonson reached the 100-point plateau in the 104th game of his SJHL career.
Gudjonson has been on a bit of a tear since the Christmas break collecting 12 points in nine games. That outburst gives him 16 goals and 36 assists on the season and with three more goals he will equal his output from last year.
Despite being on cellar-dwelling teams in Golden, Gudjonson did his part collecting 77 points in 141 games over three seasons. He was the team captain during his final year with the Rockets and that leadership ability did not go unnoticed in La Ronge as he has been an alternate captain this season with the Ice Wolves.
There is still plenty of work to be done before the Ice Wolves can officially lay claim to a playoff spot, but with the steady play and leadership being shown by players like Gudjonson it is just a matter of time before the post-season returns to the far north. Gudjonson will undoubtedly enjoy that experience more than most others.