CHRISTIAN BENDER/OJHL IMAGES Timmins Rock captain Derek Seguin, left, shown here battling for position with Matthew Hobbs, of Team OJHL Coffey, during his time with Team NOJHL East at the Eastern Canada Cup Challenge, has been selected to play in the CJHL Prospect Game in Okotoks, Alta., on Tuesday, Jan. 22. With 22 goals on the season, Seguin is in a three-way tie atop that category and he sits second in the NOJHLs scoring race with 43 points.
Timmins Rock captain Derek Seguin has been selected to play in the upcoming Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game in Okotoks, Alta.
The 2000-birth-year South Porcupine native will be the lone NOJHL representative on the Team East roster when it clashes with Team West at the Pason Centennial Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 9:30 p.m.
“I was at home eating lunch when I got a call from our general manager, Kevin Peever, and he asked if I had heard the good news,” Seguin said.
“I hadn’t heard anything at that point and he told me, but I really didn’t know how to react. I just said, ‘Thank you for telling me.’
“Then we kind of talked about the game a little bit and what’s going to happen.”
Seguin is currently tied with Soo Thunderbirds sniper Lucas Theriault and Cochrane Crunch forward Austin Whelan for to NOJHL’s goal-scoring lead, with 22, and his 43 points have him ranked second to Theriault’s 45 in the scoring race.
The 5-10 and 176 pound forward is in his second year with the Rock, after putting up a solid rookie campaign in 2017-18 (41, 12-16-28, 53).
He was taken 105th overall in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection by the Hamilton Bulldogs and attended training camp before the start of the current season with the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
Seguin, of course realizes what an honour it is to not only represent the Rock, but also the NOJHL at the event.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said.
“Hopefully I will be able to do a good job representing our league out there.”
Earlier this season, Seguin was part of the Team NOJHL East squad that took part in the 2018 Eastern Canada Cup Challenge Trenton.
He was also named the NOJHL’s Player of the Month for October and he was among the Eastlink TV 3 Stars of the Week for the period ending Oct. 28.
Like most players who advance to play Junior ‘A’ hockey, Seguin has had a dream of playing in the NHL since he was a youngster but he doesn’t expect to feel any extra pressure playing in front of NHL scouts in January.
“When it comes right down to it, you just have to go out there and play your game, regardless of who is watching,” he said.
“At the Junior ‘A’ level, there always people watching, so I don’t think I am going to feel any extra pressure just because it is the big dogs watching. It is just going to be another game for me and I will try to go out and do my best.”
Seguin’s career has taken him to many places over the years, but this will be his first trip to Alberta.
“I went to British Columbia a couple of summers back, but one of my teammates, Ben Jossinet, is actually from Okotoks and he was telling me a little bit about the community,” he said.
“He said the rink isn’t too far from his house, so I jokingly said I would go say hi to his family. He said it is a beautiful place.
“Our coach, Corey Beer, is just came back from Bonnyville, Alta., as well, and he loved his experience down there, so I am looking forward to it.”
Being selected to play in the CJHL Prospects Game is definitely the highlight of Seguin’s career to date.
“To be selected as one of the Top 40 players in the Canadian Junior Hockey League is huge,” he said.
“I can’t thank Beersy, our other coaches and my teammates enough for helping to make me a better hockey player.”
Two of those teammates are Seguin’s most-frequent wingers — Riley Robitaille and Keegan McMullen.
“As a centre, your wingers have a lot of impact on how well you play,” he said.
“I have been fortunate this year to play with a great power forward like Riley and a good sniper like Keegan. They really complement my game.
“We have stuck together most of the year and developed some pretty nice chemistry.”
While Seguin was pretty calm when he got the news, the same could not be said for his family.
“Honestly, my dad (Patrick) was probably more excited than anyone,” he said.
“He has Twitter fingers and he called me not too long after I found out and he was pretty pumped. We are going to go out and have a nice celebratory dinner tonight.”
Seguin’s brother, Ryan, is home from university, so the celebration will also include him, mom Michele, and sister Stephanie.
The CJHL, in partnership with the National Hockey League and Hockey Canada, as well as in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting, announced the rosters for the upcoming CJHL Prospects Game this week.
Each of the players chosen to participate in the game were selected through the efforts of NHL Central Scouting and are currently among the Top 40 CJHL prospects heading into the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver.
“We at the CJHL extend our congratulations to each of the players on their selection to compete in the 2019 CJHL Prospects Game in Okotoks,” said CJHL President Brent Ladds.
“We also thank and commend NHL Central Scouting for their significant contributions in helping formalize the Team East and Team West rosters.”
Since the first game of the 2018-19 season, Seguin’s coach has almost sounded like a broken record when it comes to describing how important his captain has been to the Rock franchise.
“This honour is a credit to how hard he works on and off the ice,” Beer said.
“He is our leader and our captain. In my opinion, he is one of the best two-way forwards in the game.
“He does so many things well, power play, penalty kill. He plays shutdown minutes against other teams’ top guys and he is able to produce offensively, as well.
“Any time you have a special player like Derek on your team, it is going to make your whole team better.”
Fans who want to watch Seguin play for Team East at the CJHL Prospects Game can do so by tuning it in on HockeyTV.com.
Beer is just back from Bonnyville, Alta., where he served as an assistant coach with Canada East at the 2018 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.
“It was a phenomenal experience, the best hockey I have ever been a part of,” he said.
“The pace, the skill, the structure, everything was incredible. From the selection camp in Toronto, to getting down to 22 guys, then flying into Edmonton, travelling to Bonnyville and getting everything set up, what a phenomenal experience.
“The players who played for us, the staff, everything was top notch.
“You look at it and you say we didn’t win a game, but we were in every one of those games. The exhibition game against the U.S., we were right there.
“You look at the 5-3 game against the Russians and there were a couple of goals that bounced off legs and went into the net. They have three guys who are expected to go in the first round of the NHL draft including one in the Top 5.
“In the game against the eventual winners, the U.S., we were up 2-0 and then had to face four three-on-fives.
“Then, in the last game against the Czechs, if not for a points swap with the West where we had to win in regulation, we wouldn’t have had to pull our goalie at the end.
“All in all, it is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. I was very proud to represent out country.”
In case fans were wondering, Beer resisted the urge to smuggle a few of those Canada East players back with him in his luggage.
“Even if they had been in my luggage, they wouldn’t have gotten back with me,” he said.
“Most of our team luggage didn’t make the flight. It is all being FedExed to us.”
You can rest assured, however, that Beer has supplied Peever with a list of names that he would like to see in a Rock uniform if they should ever become available on the trade wire.
While Beer was with Canada East, assistant coaches Marc Bisson and James Daschuk manned the Rock bench and compiled an impressive record of 4-1-1-0.
“Beezer and Dazzer did a phenomenal job while I was away,” he said.
“I can’t thank them enough for taking care of the guys and getting the team pushing forward with the points they got. It is a credit to our organization. It is pretty strong, top to bottom.”
Heading into this weekend’s home-and-home series with the Hearst Lumberjacks, the Rock (22-12-2-0) are tied with the Cochrane Crunch (22-14-0-2) for top spot in the NOJHL’s East Division standings and they have two games in hand on their rivals.
“Every game against them (the Lumberjacks) is a tough test,” Beer said.
“(Coach and GM) Marc (Lafleur) has probably one of the hardest forechecking teams in the league every year. It is not easy on our defencemen.
“We need to do a better job of coming back and making sure we help those guys out, do a better job on breakouts and try to be cleaner that way.
“Maybe it’s not a finesse game we need to play against them. Maybe it is a little bit more bump and grind.”