Growing up in Powell River, Jaunre Naude looked up to the Kings in the B.C. Hockey League.
He admired the players’ efforts to earn college or university hockey playing opportunities. Now he is getting his own shot with the Okanagan Lakers in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League. The chance comes at a time that works for Naude, who had stepped away from the game during his 20-year-old season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League to focus on his studies as he pursues a career in dentistry. Now 22, Naude has the time to balance his school and playing schedule as he will attend UBC-O for a final year.
“It would be a good opportunity to get back on the ice and just have some fun,” says Naude, adding it’s nice to be able to achieve his dream while staying at home with his family and girlfriend. “I really think this program is going to grow into something super great. To be part of the early steps of that is huge for me and I’m excited to have that opportunity.”
In 86 career KIJHL games, Naude put up 96 points. He added another 22 points in 28 playoff games.
“I put up some good numbers in the KIJHL and played some games in junior A as well where I got a few points,” says Naude, who played three games as an affiliate with the West Kelowna Warriors.
More of a playmaker, who will shoot the puck, Naude says playing in the KIJHL and with Kelowna was amazing for his development.
“I enjoyed it very much. We had a couple really good teams, especially that last year,” says Naude, who played from 2017-19. “We only lost a handful of games there in the season and unfortunately lost to Revelstoke to go onto the Cyclone Taylor.”
Playing in the KIJHL helped Naude advance his game and become more well-rounded. He added grit to his playing style and developed maturity to his play and credited the Chiefs’ coaching staff for his development.
“They implement a style of game that you can take into college hockey, university hockey,” he says. “They do a great job by developing players there. I definitely recommend the KIJHL and the Chiefs organization.”