Zakery Anderson spent two seasons in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with his hometown Kamloops Storm. Anderson, 18, joined the Storm from the Thompson Blazers program. Last season for the Storm, Anderson had 22 goals and 40 points in 40 games. Anderson is in his first season with the B.C. Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies where he has three assists in 17 games.
Anderson talks about his season in this Q&A. The interview had been edited for length and clarity.
KIJHL: What has this season been like for you?
ZA: It’s definitely a big change moving to a new town to play on a new team and going from being a top guy last year to a fourth-line player this year. You’re not getting in every game, and not getting the same amount of minutes as I would have last year, but it’s a huge jump. If you want to go somewhere in hockey I feel like you have to be able to make that jump and go through things that you are not expecting at the start. It has been really good this season and it has taught me a lot.
KIJHL: How do you feel you have adapted to being in a role and getting adjusted to the league and play?
ZA: It’s good to get in those games to get a feel for the game. I have found that when I’m in the lineup, I have to show them my best and do what I need to do for the team.
KIJHL: What is your role that you are asked to play?
ZA: If we’re getting put out there in a defensive zone draw, we need to be able to get that puck out and not be hemmed in our end. One thing our coach always says is, ‘Try to end your shift in the offensive zone with the faceoff.’ It’s not going to be, ‘I need you guys to score this shift. I just need you guys to bring the energy up and maybe throw a couple hits, get pucks deep and work hard.’
KIJHL: How do you feel you have performed, especially in terms of the role you are asked to play?
ZA: I feel like I’ve done well. We’ve had some injuries so I’ve been getting in a lot more, but it’s good.
KIJHL: You earned your first BCHL point in the opening game this season, what did that do for you in terms of building confidence?
ZA: Yeah, it definitely helped a lot. We were down in that game, but because we were trailing, I feel like that allowed me to play more. I’m getting used to the speed of things and being able to build my confidence up.
KIJHL: In what areas have you seen growth in your skills?
ZA: I’m reading the play better and you have to read it faster to be able to make plays before the puck gets to you so you know what to do. Everything is a lot quicker. Playing with stronger guys, my strength has gone up a lot. I’m on the ice every day and shooting a lot of pucks. My shot is definitely getting better and knowing where to place it.
KIJHL: What is the feedback you get from your coaches about your play?
ZA: Fortunately for me, my coach from last year Geoff Grimwood is the assistant coach here. He is always really good at telling me I’m doing well in my role. From the head coach Rylan Ferster, I’m always getting good feedback saying, ‘Good game, I like how you played the wall tonight. I like how you guys were always in the offensive zone.’ It’s always good feedback.
KIJHL: How did your time in the KIJHL help with your transition to the BCHL?
ZA: It helped me a lot. Playing against guys three and four years older than you, you definitely get used to that because it’s the same age guys who are stronger and bigger. You are on the ice four or five times a week and that helps with your confidence. Being on the ice, being able to practice every day you are getting a lot better.