Port Perry native Jesse Michel’s decision to head west this hockey season continued to pay off this week, as he helped the Campbell River Storm raise the Cyclone Taylor Cup as the 2014-15 British Columbia provincial Junior ‘B’ champions.
The Storm will now head to Cold Lake, Alberta to compete for the Keystone Cup, a de facto national championship, which draws Junior ‘B’ teams from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Ontario.
Campbell River is just the latest stop in a whirlwind junior hockey career for the 19-year-old product of the Port Perry Predators. Last season, Michel played in Sweden with Sollentuna HC. In seventeen games he recorded a goals against average of 3.52 and a save percentage of .878.
“Sweden seems to be producing some of the best goalies, so I decided to try and learn directly from the source. It was an awesome experience and I definitely think that it made me a better player on and off the ice. The entire system over there is much more geared towards development, and it really paid off for me,” Michel told The Standard.
The Swedish influence on his style of goaltending has carried over to this side of the Atlantic this season.
“I play a system called five-point goaltending which I created with the help of Stefan Perrson, the goalie coach for Sweden’s Olympic team. He also coached Eddie Lack and Viktor Fasth, and he’s been a big influence on my game.”
After beginning this season with the Ottawa Candiens Junior ‘B’ team, Michel was dealt to Campbell River in November, and made an immediate impact, compiling a 13-3 record, with two shutouts to go along with a sparkling 2.37 Goals Against Average.
In the playoffs, Michel has continued his sensational play between the pipes, including a dazzling save on a penalty shot late in the third period of Game 4 of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League Finals, with the Storm eventually winning by a score of 3-2 to sweep the Victoria Cougars.
“I love Campbell River, the fans have been amazing and the town has been so supportive. Hopefully we can bring them one more championship before the year is over,” Michel said.
The Storm begin their quest for the Keystone Cup on Thursday, April 16, and local fans can follow along with all of the action from the tournament on-line at www.keystonecup.ca.