TISDALE — Tisdale Trojans defenceman Jeremy Hancock has had goaltenders seeing red lately.
As of Sunday, the 15-year-old rookie had scored in each of his last three games. All four of Hancock’s goals this season have come since Ukrainian Christmas.
“Just lately I have lots of confidence, and I am just shooting the puck more often and trusting myself with the puck,” Hancock said.
This season the rookie has eight points in 38 Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League games. However, numbers don’t tell the complete story of the 6-foot-4, 170-pounder’s value to the league-leading Trojans.
“He is a big guy... has a good reach, handles the puck really well, and skates well for a big man,” Tisdale head coach Darrell Mann said. “Those are probably his biggest attributes, plus he has a good hockey IQ. He understands the game and understands positioning and how to play. He has been a big force for us here.”
Hancock has been seeing time on one of the Trojans’ power-play units. One of his goals came with the man advantage. On five-on-five, he has been teamed lately with Tisdale’s own Blake Samida, a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder, to create an imposing blue line duo.
While growing in the Star City area, Hancock went to some Trojans’ games with his father.
“At that point, I thought it would definitely be awesome to play for the Trojans,” he said.
That wish came true – and Hancock is certainly enjoying it. He billets with Pat Bladen and said he is enjoying the high-level of competition in the SMAAAHL and his teammates.
After playing a season with the North East Wolfpack bantam AA squad, Hancock headed west to develop his game. While billeting, he played for the Okanagan Hockey Academy Edmonton bantam prep team. “Last year in Edmonton playing with OHA really helped everything on the ice,” Hancock said. “We had position specific skill days, also just days that we would have skating instructors that worked with our stride - that really helped my game. It also helped with off ice. I learned how to take care of myself and be independent.”
The OHA Edmonton team won the Canadian School Sport Hockey League bantam prep championship. It was only the bantam team’s second prep season. Hancock sees some similarities between that championship squad and the Trojans, who host the Telus Cup Western Regional this season.
“Last year was quite something once everyone started playing how they could,” he said. “This year is very similar with when our team is going we really would have a small chance in being stopped. Also off ice, our team are all good buddies and all get together really well, where last year was the same thing. Everyone was included and had a strong bond.” After his strong season at OHA Edmonton, Hancock was drafted at both the major junior and the Junior A level. The Red Deer Rebels grabbed him in the fourth-round, 72nd overall, of the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Melfort Mustangs acted quickly to keep Hancock close to home if he goes the Junior A route by picking him 14th overall in their league bantam draft.