Brett Harris: ‘Everything is a step up’

Local hockey players trying to crack the lineup for SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks

Centre Brett Harris

Centre Brett Harris

Two hockey players from the 100 Mile House area are on their way to northeast Saskatchewan with their sights set on a Junior A roster spot.

Although Brett Harris, 18, a centreman from 108 Mile Ranch, and Reece Forman, 18, a defenceman from 100 Mile House, have already been carded by the Nipawin Hawks, it doesn’t guarantee them any ice time just yet in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).

Tryouts start Aug. 30.

“We’re not fighting to get signed,” Harris explains. “But, by no means does that mean we’re on the team.

“It definitely helps our cause, but there’s no guarantee until exhibitions are over and the team is finally set.”

Last season, Harris and Forman played full seasons in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League – Harris with the Summerland Steam and Forman with the Chase Heat. Both guys have some previous experience at the Junior A level – Forman played a few games with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and the Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and Harris played a game with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.

“I only got one game with (Penticton), but I managed to score a goal,” Harris says. “I’ve played at the level before. It is a high level, but I’m excited to be in it for a whole season … everything is a step up.”

Forman reiterates that point.

“Everything gets better … it’s harder hitting. There are bigger guys and everybody moves faster.”

Both players say they would eventually like to earn some sort of college or university scholarship. For now, they’re focusing on doing what they do best at camp and impressing Nipawin’s coaching staff.

Forman describes himself as “defensive-minded.”

“I like to jump up in the rush, but my area is keeping the puck out of my net. I’ll let the forwards do what they do best.

“A lot of coaches look for hard work as the first thing and not giving up on pucks. Being 6-foot-2, I have to be laying the body on guys. I can’t be getting burned and I need to make quick passes out of my zone. That will keep the coaches looking at me.”

Harris says he is what you’d call a “speedy forward.”

“I like to make plays. If I have an opportunity to score, I’ll try to take it.”

Harris has played hockey in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, so being in the area and being away from home is familiar to him, he says.

Forman hasn’t been east of Alberta.

“(Saskatchewan) will be a whole new world for me,” he says.

It’s good experience, Harris adds.

“New town. New team. It’s exciting, for sure. You never know what you’re going into, but the best you can do is get excited and hope for the best.”