By Mike Stackhouse
Turnover is inevitable in Junior ‘A’ hockey, even more expected from teams that win championships as it’s, generally, assumed a top team is stocked full of veterans.
That’s certainly the case with the defending Canalta Cup champion Battlefords North Stars; however their offense appears to be in good hands if 1997 F Ben Allen (Allen TX) continues his upward development curve.
Allen was one of three players on last year’s squad to average more than a point per game, with 19-goals and 26-assists in 44-games; which was his first tour of duty in the SJHL after playing closer to home with the Dallas U18 club for two years. Allen followed that up with 13-points in 12-playoff games, which was good for third on the team as they rolled through the postseason by winning all 12 contests.
Stars GM/Head Coach Nate Bedford says, “Ben is a quiet player both on and off the ice. He sneaks up on you because of his modesty. He’s extremely gifted and is a very intelligent player. The more we used him as the season went along, the better he got and the better our team played.”
Along with Layne Young, it’s expected Allen will get top line minutes, including plenty of opportunity on the powerplay, right from the get go this Fall. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the top ten of league scoring,” says Bedford.
Allen, who’s known as a team player and never complains, has a high hockey IQ and understands the flow of the game to the point where he’s always a step ahead.