Quesnel hockey player Jack Henderson, seen here playing with the Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, has signed with the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League. (Photo courtesy of Jen Jensen Photography)

Quesnel’s Jack Henderson makes the jump to the BCHL

The 18-year-old has signed with the Merritt Centennials

A Quesnel hockey player is working hard to get ready to make his mark on the B.C. Hockey League this season.

Osoyoos Coyotes rookie Jack Henderson has been signed by the Merritt Centennials, following a season of 10 goals and 31 points in 43 games in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).

“I feel the KIJHL helped me with the adjustment to Junior A hockey by having the opportunity to play alongside and against older players,” Henderson, who did not play the previous season after breaking his femur a week before the season started, said in a news release from the KIJHL.

Henderson, 18, is from Quesnel, and according to the release, he has worked to improve his strength without sacrificing speed or quickness. He credits his trainer Chase Astorino, who helped him become a better hockey player and overall person every day this summer.

Henderson says he feels good about joining the Centennials because they are a long-standing organization in the B.C. Hockey League and in a tight-knit community.

“I feel Merritt is a good fit for me based on the culture and core values being built around the program,” he says. “There is also a lot of great young talent here, and the future looks very promising with the guys we have. I’m very excited to do whatever I can do to help the team and make the most of this opportunity, meanwhile doing my best to fulfill any role they need me to take on this season.”

Centennials assistant coach John Stuart says Henderson is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team.

“Jack is an extremely good teammate and overall person; he does everything the right way. His work ethic on and off the ice is at an elite level, and he will do anything for his team and community,” Stuart says on the Centennials’ website. “Jack brings a ton of speed and energy on the ice, along with his skill and shot. He is a dangerous offensive player, especially when using his speed to beat defenders wide. He also brings along with him physicality and grit, which make him tough to play against.”

The Merritt Centennials play out of the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, and they will begin their pre-season schedule Oct. 9 at home against the Trail Smoke Eaters. Henderson will play close to his hometown Oct. 25 and Nov. 7 when the Centennials take on the Prince George Spruce Kings in pre-season play at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena in Prince George.

The BCHL regular season is set to begin in early December.

READ MORE: BCHL approves back-up plan for 2020-21 season


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