Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Klimek's Stock Climbing

Jordan Klimek may have only 19 BCHL regular season games to his name, but you wouldn’t know it from watching him play. The 17-year-old rookie defenseman of the Surrey Eagles has had a strong start to his first full year in Junior A hockey and has found a home as a key cog on the Surrey blue line. 

Klimek, who hails from Langley, got his first crack with the Birds last season, appearing in eight regular season and 10 playoff games at the age of 16. Now a full time member of the Eagles, he looks back on his time with the team last year as a key part of his development.

“Last year when I was an AP, it definitely helped out,” he said. “I kind of got a taste of what it would be like, so I had a pretty solid understanding of what it’s going to take and what I have to do.”

Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Matt Erhart was impressed with Klimek’s performance last year, both with the Birds and with the Valley West Hawks of the BC Major Midget league where the young blue liner put up 42 points in 40 games.

“He has a track record from midget, being one of the top scoring defenseman in that league, and there’s a lot of good players playing in that league,” said Erhart. “He jumped in this year, and it’s a big adjustment even if you’ve played before. He had a few games here and there early in the season where he probably thought he could have played better, but I think it’s a process with these kids, and I think these last few games he’s really figured out what makes him successful.

"He’s a player that can develop into a premier power play guy in this league."

Klimek’s confident play has paid off. He’s seen more minutes on the power play and at times has found himself skating alongside second year defenseman Devon Toews. Toews has already committed to attend Quinnipiac in the NCAA next season and was in a similar situation to Klimek at this time last year. For Toews, simplicity is the key for young defensemen.

“That’s what I was told last year, just to keep things simple,” said Toews. “I was playing with Linden Saip, and he just told me to keep it simple in the defensive zone and glass it out if you need to.

“Jordan’s got a lot of potential. He’s a really smart player, and he’s been playing really simple and putting pucks on net. He’s good in his own zone.”

While the veteran leadership on the Surrey team has helped Klimek adjust to the rigours of playing in the BCHL, he feels it’s the increase in his ice time that has allowed him to really come into his own.

“The last couple of games, I’ve settled in pretty well,” he said. “I’ve gotten a little more ice time, so it’s been easier to get confident and play my game. I just have to keep it simple, make easy plays and don’t try to do too much.”

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