Jr. Klippers forward and Kindersley native Logan Linklater only made his SJHL debut this season before the league’s pause.
Fast forward to last Friday night, and he was making his WHL debut with the Prince Albert Raiders. The team won 6-3 against Regina in his debut, and suffered a shoot-out loss Sunday night to Moose Jaw. In two games of action Linklater won around 35% of his face-offs, though he was unable to record anything for the score-sheet
At the beginning of the season, the young player had just begun adjusting to the Junior A level before play was canceled three games in. It must have been enough, as he felt right at home in his first two WHL match-ups.
“I just try to think the game more than I actually physically play it. I just try to prepare myself for situations, and think the game through before I go out there.” explained Linklater, “One thing is adjusting to the speed, but I think I was just ready to play and that helped me out lots.”
Linklater was ready for this years training camp in PA, and was actually going to play his first game with the Raiders last year before the pandemic shut everything down.
“I was ready to prove myself (last year), and I think coming in I am just trying to do the same thing.” said Linklater, “I think (coach) liked what he saw, and I think I did a good job of doing the little things right. That earned me some extra ice-time for sure.”
Linklater wasn’t exactly sure how to describe his role on the team, but did mention that he was on the first power-play unit. He was thrust into a few different situations during his debut, and feels good about the way he played all weekend.
Linklater’s team came out with the win on Friday night, but Logan obviously wasn’t the only one making their debut on Friday. 15 year-old Regina Pats phenom Connor Bedard scored two goals over a one-minute span in the second period, to quickly show why he was granted exceptional status into the WHL. Linklater and his PA teammates got the first chance to see what everyone else had been talking about with this young star first-hand.
Yet Logan can’t be focusing on a fellow rookie, and he knows that this experience in the East Division bubble will play a huge factor in his development. Linklater had been in contact with his coaches about the possibility of playing in Regina if the bubble went forward, as they liked what they saw in his small sample this season with the Klippers.
“Especially when I started playing with Kindersley they started watching me. They really liked what they saw, and that they were excited for me.” said Linklater, “I knew I was coming down, but the role and where I was gonna play and stuff like that was still in the air. Like I said I am just trying to come in here and prove myself. Prove that I can play, have an impact, be a good teammate; stuff like that”
Linklater is not just learning lots on the ice, as his roommate is Montreal’s first round pick in defenceman and team captain Kaiden Guhle. Just being able to pick his captain’s brain about his World Juniors experience, the NHL draft, and all things WHL is certainly bound to help Linklater exceed his current goals. Prince Albert has one other NHL pick on their roster, in forward Ozzy Wiesblatt.
Linklater and the Raiders will be back on the ice tonight against the Brandon Wheat Kings, as the Kindersley native searches for his WHL point.