Jordan Berschiminsky played just three games in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for the Osoyoos Coyotes, but he stood out.
Most notable was a 44-save performance in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Nelson Leafs on Nov. 14. After the Coyotes surrendered a 2-0 lead to trail 3-2, the Saskatoon product made 16 saves in the third period to allow the Coyotes to force overtime.
“I really showed how I could play in that game,” says Berschiminsky, who earned a win in three games, with a .944 save percentage for the Coyotes.
He improved his skills during practise, and showed what he can do in games. With the help of coach Carter Rigby, Berschiminsky will look to build on his skills as a member of the Selkirk Saints in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League. Conversations between the sides began in December, but Rigby played a key role in helping move his goalie on.
“It means a lot to move on to the next level,” says Berschiminsky, who started his junior career with the Delisle Chiefs in the Prairie Junior Hockey League.
He spent two seasons in the PJHL, the final with the Hockey Extreme Regina Capitals then saw a game of action with the Flin Flon Bombers in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in 2019-20.
In 45 PJHL games, Berschiminsky collected 38 wins with seven shutouts along with a 2.04 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. He also earned two playoff wins.
The Saints are a good fit because of their academics and hockey program. He plans to study business and professional management. He likes the hockey program, which has won four B.C. IHL championships in its history, has a tight group, and that he has friends on the team – he will be joined by Coyotes teammate Andrew Smiley.
While his time in Osoyoos was briefer than expected, Berschiminsky loved the players he played with and said Rigby treated him and the whole team well.
He looks up to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and likes how precise his movements are and just how he competes.
“He does whatever it takes to make a save,” says Berschiminsky, who took advantage of practises to become better on the penalty-kill as they did a lot of work in that area. “There were lots of good reads in our zone, which led to games. I’m a very technical goalie. I make an unorthodox save, and I will battle or compete to make a save.”
Rigby says the former Saskatoon Icehawk was everything he wanted in a goalie.
“He was a great leader and a vocal goalie,” says Rigby. “He could back it up in net. He could steal every single game and was a contributing factor. He made an impact with the backup goalie and was amazing for us.”
Rigby is confident that Berschiminsky will do well for the Saints with his big frame (six-foot-four, 180 pounds) and compete level.
The biggest influence on Berschiminsky is his goalie coach Daniel Wapple, who played in the Western Hockey League. Wapple has worked to help get Berschiminsky’s playing skills to the next level.
Once a new season with the Saints starts, Berschiminsky aims to be the hardest working guy and be prepared to show off his ability.
“Playing time is wide open going in,” he says. “I want to be the hardest working goalie there. This was the best fit to earn an opportunity to play games. I like there is a chance to be a No.1.”
Berschiminsky says coming to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League helped, saying it’s the top Junior B league in Canada.
“The skill on most teams was pretty close. It’s a deep league,” says Berschiminsky.