|JAKE BURTON: A VIEW FROM SUDBURY|
|July 29, 2017 « Back « Previous Next »|
Accomplished in the classroom as he is on the ice, Jake Burton did his homework when it came to choosing the next step in his hockey career.
The Sudbury native and reigning Great North Midget League scoring champion spoke with several teams before signing with the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League on Friday.
"I had to really take a step back and I did a lot of research," said Burton, 18. "This is my next step to hopefully getting to the NCAA, so it took a lot of consulting with my family and people who have played with these teams in the past and I made sure I found a good fit for myself."
The Dukes are entering a new era of their own following the departure of longtime head coach/general manager Marty Abrams in June and the expected announcement of new ownership in the coming weeks.
"It's an exciting time in Wellington and it's exciting to get to be a part of it," Burton said.
By going to the OJHL instead of major junior, Burton will preserve his U.S. college eligibility, with an eye toward earning a Division I commitment.
A skilled forward, but a relative late bloomer who broke out for 84 points in 36 games this past season, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder sees the NCAA route as more suited to his development.
"I didn't really start in hockey, competitively, until 12, because I played house league starting at eight, so I recognize that my developmental path is a little different from the average hockey player coming up through the AAA system," Burton said. "When I broke my collarbone in minor midget, I missed the whole year and that really threw me off the radar. After having a pretty good season, I'd like to try and go to the NCAA, because I have the grades, I finished high school with an 88 average and I think in two to three years, I can try to crack a good program."
To prepare for 2017-18, he's staying with family friends in Aurora, Ont. and training with former NHLer Gary Roberts.
"I have been trying to focus on the little things, like off-ice preparation, nutrition, and in the gym, but also working on my skating, because if you can't skate in today's game, then you can't play," Burton said. "I have been really working on my east-to-west skating and north to south, as well, just trying to improve all those little aspects of my game."
He has been visiting family and friends Sudbury on weekends when possible and hopes to return at least once more before moving to Wellington for the start of the season.
"Playing in the OJ has been a goal of mine for a while," Burton said. "I'm hoping to learn a lot from my experiences down here and continue to work on becoming a complete player while bringing leadership and being a productive, intelligent player for the Dukes and represent the Sudbury community well, on and off the ice."
Courtesy: Sudbury Star