Logan Nijhoff of the Comox Valley is a member of the WHL Regina Pats. Photo by Keith Hershmiller

Logan Nijhoff of the Comox Valley is a member of the WHL Regina Pats. Photo by Keith Hershmiller

A talent in the making

Pats consider 16-year-old a leader

This is part of a series about Comox Valley student athletes who are moving onto the next level in their sport.

At 16, Logan Nijhoff has already experienced a Memorial Cup. A member of the host Regina Pats, he didn’t see the ice during last month’s competition where his side lost 3-0 in the final to the Acadie-Bathurst Titans. But the Pats coaching staff is confident the Comox Valley product would have acquitted himself well, had they given him some playing time.

During the regular season, Nijhoff scored three goals and three assists in 30 games for the Western Hockey League Pats.

“It was a little tough as the youngest guy, but next year will be better,” said Nijhoff, whose preferred position is centre. “It was a pretty big step going in with older guys. But I think the OHA (Okanagan Hockey Academy) prepared me for it, doing bantam prep then midget prep.”

After attending Robb Road Elementary in Comox, Nijhoff completed Grade 8 at Isfeld Secondary in Courtenay. He played minor hockey locally, up to first-year bantam. At 14, he left home to play in the OHA. He spent two years in Penticton, then went to Regina for the 2017/18 season. Then he returned to the Okanagan to finish Grade 11 and to continue training. The juggling act will continue through his Grade 12 year at Penticton Secondary while playing hockey in Regina.

The Pats selected Nijhoff in the eighth round of the 2016 bantam WHL draft.

“When we got him here, we knew he was going to be a special kid, as far as character and attitude,” said Pats assistant coach/assistant GM Dave Struch. “He’s had an impact as a young guy because of his leadership qualities.”

In the OHA, the 5’11, 180-pound Nijhoff received coaching from former professionals such as Bruno Campese and Stu Barnes. The latter is an assistant coach of the Dallas Stars.

As a U16 player, Nijhoff was part of Team B.C. that lost in overtime to Alberta in the final of the 2017 Western Canada Under-16 Cup.

Struch said the Pats are indebted to their scouting staff for finding young talents such as Nijhoff — who did not play in Memorial Cup games only because the coaches went with the older, experienced players.

“To be a part of the experience, for him, is going to be huge,” Struch said. “We expect him to be a leader, as early as next year.”