Defenceman Josh Anderson arrived on schedule for his first crack at the Prince George Cougars training camp.
Considering the height of the 14-year-old from Duncan, it's only fitting Anderson is part of Team Chara, named after the six-foot-nine Boston Bruins captain who used to play for Cougars.
Listed at six-foot-three and 216 pounds, Anderson takes up a lot of space and that was one of the obvious selling features when the Cougars selected him third overall in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. That tall shadow he now casts will get even longer if Anderson's insight into his own genetics proves true.
"I should be six-foot-five or six-six when I'm done growing," Anderson said. "My doctor said I'll grow another two or three inches."
He's not sure where he gets his height from. His dad Chris is five-foot-10 and his mother Christine is not overly tall. Whatever the source of his stature, he's glad he's blessed with it.
"It gives me a lot more time to move the puck because throughout the league I played in not many kids wanted to get near me," he said.
The Cougars plan to give Anderson a good look before they send him back to his home in Duncan to prepare to join his midget team in Victoria. The Cats' staff in the press box will also be keeping close tabs on their other big kids -- Kody McDonald, five-foot-11, 190 pounds, and Kolby Johnson, six-foot-one, 180 pounds, who were picked 24th and 52nd overall, respectively.
"Josh is a big strong guy who skates very well and shoots very well, and he's physical," said Cougars general manager Dallas Thompson. "it will be interesting to see him the first couple days with his peers [grouped with 1997 and 1998-born players] and then hopefully everything goes well and he can move up with the older guys where everything is quicker.
"We wanted to get bigger and stronger and with our first three picks we did that."
With his high draft order comes the inevitable pressure of living up to expectations and Anderson, who will play this season for the South Island Royals major midget team says he's prepared for that.
Anderson played last year for the Cowichan Valley Tier 1 bantams, who won the Vancouver Island league and finished third in provincial playoffs. He stuck to hockey throughout the summer and attended the NHL Players Association's All-Pro Prospects Camp in Toronto as well as camps in Calgary, Victoria, Duncan and Nanaimo.
"I'm pretty pumped to be here, it's a great organization, a great team and a great community," said Anderson, who turns 15 on Thursday. "I can't say enough about the feeling of being picked so high in the draft."
"I'm a shutdown defenceman who can move the puck fast where it needs to be and I'll use the body to play my game and be the best player I can," he said.
As a 15-year-old, Anderson is limited to maximum of five games with the Cougars this season. He's looking forward to visiting Prince George with his Royals team this winter.
"We'll be playing here twice for sure, road trips with the boys are always fun," he said.
n Training camp continues today and Sunday at CN Centre. Following today's scrimmages the 1997- and 1998-born players will be grouped on two teams -- Team Setoguchi and Team Tyrell -- for a scrimmage Sunday at 9 a.m. The top 40 players from that will compete in the Young Guns game Sunday at 7 p.m., for the right to hoist the Rob Charney Cup.
The Cougars have several 16-year-olds signed, including first-rounders Jansen Harkins and Brad Morrison, as well as Shane Collins, Aaron Boyd, and Tate Olson, who will push for spots on the team. There are 19 returning players, including goalies Brett Zarowny and Mac Engel.
The Cats open the preseason Aug. 31 in Edmonton against the Red Deer Rebels.