While goal scorers may get the glory, Jordan Pughe relishes his role as a pest.
“I have never been the goal-scoring guy,” he admits.
“But I have always been the nitty, gritty, get the team going kind of guy.”
“Knowing my role and my capabilities has really gotten me to where I am so far.”
The 20-year-old Pughe is in his final season of junior, having spent four seasons with the Aldergrove Kodiaks junior B hockey club.
He has been fairly consistent in each of the previous three years at the offensive end — with five, six and nine goals, respectively — but has erupted in 2011/12 with 13 goals in 27 games.
He attributes his surge in goal scoring to taking more shots and getting some puck luck.
His coach disagrees on the latter point.
“He works really, really hard and he deserves everything he gets,” said Kodiaks coach Tim Preston.
“For him to say it’s puck luck, I think he is being a little bit modest.”
“He is getting a lot of ice time and making the most of it.”
Pughe is on a line with Daniel Higgs and Stephen Ryan — coincidentally, all three are from Langley and Higgs is his cousin — to form the Kodiaks shutdown unit.
That means they get the unenviable task of going up against the opposition’s top line.
“I really enjoy that role,” Pughe said about beaking at his opponent, trying to get under their skin and get them off their game.
“I am a pest on the ice, but that is the only time.”
Preston describes Pughe as tenacious.
“He is always in people’s faces, he is a good skater, and quick on loose pucks,” the coach said.
“He plays with a lot of heart, a lot of grit and a lot of passion in his game.”
And while Pughe may undersell his values on the ice, his play has not gone unrecognized.
He was selected to skate in last week’s Pacific International Junior Hockey League (PIJHL) all-star game in Mission, although the game was postponed due to the weather.
“It caught me off guard,” Pughe admitted about the honour.
“I am not really the most talented player (so) it is definitely a feather in my cap.”
Another first for Pughe is serving as the Kodiaks’ captain.
In previous seasons, both with the Kodiaks and during his minor hockey days with the Langley Minor Hockey Association, Pughe has worn an ‘A’ on his jersey.
But to him, the captaincy is just a letter.
“I don’t really take it as me being any different than any other player,” he said.
“It is no different for me if I had an ‘A’ on my jersey or nothing at all; I would still be the way I am now.”
“He is a proud captain and the guys love him,” Preston said.
“Jordan plays the game hard every night and leads by example and is a big piece of what we have going on in Aldergrove.”
“His heart and his passion for the game, his drive to win and his competitiveness all really stand out for me,” he added.
The Kodiaks sit atop their conference with a dozen games remaining in the regular season.
Two years ago, Pughe was part of the Aldergrove squad which captured the PIJHL championship. But last year, the team and Pughe struggled.
Pughe missed the majority of the season with a hand injury.
“Watching the boys go through the difficulties and the humps, it was hard to watch from the stands,” he admitted.
With this being his last season with the team — Pughe hopes to play at the university level next year — he is looking for another long playoff run and feels the team has the pieces to make that happen.