By Dave Leaderhouse
ESTEVAN BRUINS, D
He has been on the Estevan Bruins’ radar for several years and while it took a little longer than expected it appears that Jake Heerspink is settling in as a key cog to a dynamic offensive club.
The 19-year-old rearguard first appeared in a game with the Bruins as a 16-year-old and then when he was finished his midget eligibility with the Regina Pat Canadians the following season he dressed in a handful of regular-season and playoff games for Estevan and completed the 2015-16 season by competing in the Western Canada Cup, which the Bruins hosted.
The 6-foot, 188-pound Regina native then headed west for the start of last year as he spent the first half of the 2016-17 campaign with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League, where he registered two goals and three assists.
The Bruins paid a player development fee to reacquire Heerspink in mid-November of 2016 and in 30 games with Estevan last year he tallied one goal and set up 10 others. Heerspink also dressed in all nine playoff games, where he was held off the scoresheet, making what he has accomplished so far this year that much more unexpected.
Through 34 games this year Heerspink has notched five goals and assisted on 20 others and in the last 10 games he has collected at least one point in eight of those.
Heerspink brings a lot of intangibles to the Bruins. He is durable as he never missed a single game in two years with the Pat Canadians; he plays with grit as his 129 minutes in penalties with the Pat Canadians attests to (he also has 47 minutes already this year); he is a winner as he was part of the championship Regina squad in his first season with the Pat Canadians; and he can provide plenty of offense when given the opportunity – Heerspink had five goals and 33 assists in his 88 regular-season games with the Pat Canadians.
Heerspink helped the Bruins capture the Viterra Division banner a year ago and his improved play this season has them in a position to repeat as a divisional winner. With one more year of junior eligibility remaining after this year, the Bruins certainly have a building block in place for now and the future as well.
Tag(s): Young Guns