Hard work and dedication does pay off.
That can be said for Jaxon Danilec, who, after a breakout season at the Junior ‘B’ level, is moving up the hockey ladder next year in signing with the Olds Grizzlys of the Alberta Junior ‘A’ Hockey League (AJHL).
The Prince George product took the Kootenay International League (KIJHL) by storm with the Sicamous Eagles as his efforts were rewarded with the Doug Birks Division MVP and Rookie of the Year honours.
The soon-to-be 19-year-old notched 57 points in 43 games, which tied the KIJHL rookie season-scoring race last season but he led the way with 29 goals in that category.
Danilec was also named the Eagles’ Top Forward and Rookie of the Year as well for the shortened 2019-20 campaign.
Sicamous, as a team, finished last in its competitive division and missed the playoffs after posting a record of 15-32-1-0-1.
The KIJHL’s postseason was ultimately cut short on March 12 by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Danilec is going to an Olds team that’s been struggling in the last three full seasons.
The Grizzlys fell 4-1 in the AJHL divisional quarterfinals this past season to Drumheller and failed to make the postseason in the two years prior.
The third oldest franchise currently in Alberta’s top junior circuit (1974) hasn’t won a league title since 1994, the year they also went on to claim Canada’s national junior ‘A’ championship.
Danilec will, however, look to bring some playoff experience to the Grizzlys after winning the BC U18 AAA title with the Cariboo Cougars in 2019.
That year, he recorded 16 points in the regular season and added five more in six playoff games, including three goals.
As of this publication, the AJHL season hasn’t announced when it’ll start its 2020-21 season.