A bit of time away from the ice appeared to be all Jack Henderson needed to take the next step.
The Quesnel-product is leading the KIJHL in scoring this year, despite barely skating for six months through the pandemic.
“Missing a whole year like that is never fun,” he said.
“And I think we were going to be good last year I think too. We’ve got some guys back from last who are hungry to win.”
The Osoyoos Coyotes assistant captain had 26 points in 15 games as of Monday, Nov. 22, and is helping lead his squad to a best in the league record when it comes to points percentage (10-2-1-2).
While the Coyotes are second in the league in total points, they have played three fewer games than the league leading Columbia Valley Rockies and are one point ahead of the Kamloops Storm.
The Storm also boast Quesnel connections, with Kasey Jackson playing in 13 games this season as the youngest player on the roster, and Colton Phillips-Watts helping to backstop the team with a record of 8-3-1 and a save percentage of 0.911.
Henderson heaped praise on Osoyoos line-mates Alex Ochitwa and Ethan McKinley.
“I feel like I’ve been more of a passer my whole career, but playing with the guys I’m playing with this year, they tend to find me in positions where I can put the puck in the net pretty easily,” he said.
Henderson shares hopes alongside many residents the KIJHL could return to Quesnel for the upcoming season. He called a bid to award an expansion franchise to play out of the the West Fraser Centre “pretty awesome,” noting he hadn’t played in Quesnel since he was 13 or 14 years-old.
“It’s a nice new rink too, it’d be the nicest one in the league probably,” Henderson said.
The league’s board will vote on the potential expansion in December.
As for the 2021/2022 season Henderson hopes his team can keep up the pace, and is cherishing the chance to play in front of fans after more than a year without.
The Coyotes and Storm kicked off the year by playing in Kamloops, a memorable contest for Henderson.
“It was packed, it was awesome getting all that energy from the fans, it’s much easier to get up for games when it’s loud in the building versus what it’s been like for the last year or so.” “It’s been kind of a dead arena, relying on your bench and the other team’s bench to make all the noise, get all the energy up. It’s really easy to feed of the crowd in a game.”
The Coyotes had three more games left in November as of Nov. 22, including hosting the 100 Mile House Wranglers in Osoyoos on Nov. 27.
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