Comox Valley Minor Hockey product Logan Nijhoff has been named captain of the Regina Pats major junior club. He is the 80th captain of the team that competes in the east division of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
“It’s definitely an old and historic franchise,” said Nijhoff, a 19-year-old centre who was the Pats alternate captain last season. He stands six feet and weighs 190 pounds.
A veteran of 150 regular season games for Regina, Nijhoff was among the team’s leading scorers last season with 34 points in 61 games. He’s entering his fourth full season in the WHL.
“We’re playing in a bubble this year, so all the east division teams are in Regina, and we’re staying at the university dorms,” Nijhoff said. “We can’t really see anyone besides our teams and coaches. We had to do a week quarantine at home by ourselves.”
After arriving in Regina, players were required to isolate a further six days in their rooms, and were then tested twice for COVID.
“We all passed two tests, so we got to start practising as a team together.”
Nijhoff played hockey locally from atom to second-year bantam before moving to Penticton to attend the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA). He became a member of the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. He played his first WHL game that year as he went back and forth between the OHA and Regina. At 16, he landed a full-time spot with the team in December 2017. The Pats reached the Memorial Cup final in 2018, though he didn’t see any ice time.
It’s been a young squad the past two seasons, but Nijhoff notes some key additions in goalie Roddy Ross, who is a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick, and centre Connor Bedard of North Vancouver, who at 15 has been granted ‘exceptional player status,’ and is therefore eligible to play in the WHL.
“We’re definitely starting to make that turn, and looking to win a lot more games this year,” Nijhoff said.
His team faces a busy schedule with 24 games in 47 days. The season opener is Friday, March 12 against the Prince Albert Raiders.