Malachi Franklin made the best of his rookie season with the Chase Heat.
While he only played three games in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season, the Cranbrook native put in the work on and off the ice to earn an opportunity to sign with the La Ronge Ice Wolves of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
“I’m always excited to move on to the next level and I’m always looking to find ways to be able to get better to move on,” says Franklin to MBCRadio.com. “This is a big step for me and I’m very excited.”
The six-foot, 190 pound Franklin says the Ice Wolves are a good fit for his development because their style of play fits his – physical and fast paced.
“I believe that they have the resources and the coaching staff to help me improve and give me the resources that I need to make that next step,” says Franklin to the KIJHL.
Franklin considers himself a defensive defenceman, whose focused on “locking down the D-zone and worrying about getting my first outlet passes.”
“After that, a little more dynamic with passing, making plays and getting shots through from the point,” he says.
Under the guidance of Heat head coach Brad Fox and his coaching staff, Franklin used the extra practice time in the shortened season to develop small area skills, including his puck handling and lateral skating. With specific drills given by Fox, Franklin was able to continue to iron out any problems that he was having.
The soon-to-be-19-year-old made a lasting impression on Fox.
“He was one of those under the radar players at the Junior A level,” says Fox of Malachi, who joined the Heat after playing for the CNHA Canucks U18AA. “One of the greatest qualities he brought to our program through the recruiting information from our staff was his level of unwavering will to improve.”
Throughout the 2020/21 season, when the entire focus is on constant preparation, Fox says there is an amazing amount of development on and off the ice. Fox watched as Franklin took the time every single day to maximize his focus on getting stronger in every facet of his game even when there were challenging days to maintain that second level of commitment.
“We set him up with areas of detail that he had to improve, and he was relentless in taking on the challenge,” says Fox. “Franklin is a great example of leadership is best exemplified by doing what is needed through your resilience of the process.”
Fox says by February, Franklin went from being an average player in the KIJHL, to someone he believes will be a very solid Junior A player.
“The La Ronge Ice Wolves are getting an outstanding young man and player for their program moving forward,” says Fox.
“I owe so much to Foxy. Just how he pushed me and believed in me through the process,” says Franklin, also expressing his appreciation to the Heat organization to help him further his career. “I’m confident in my play as well through what we have done.”