Ben Keon is having what he calls “almost like a breakout season” with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Grande Prairie Storm.
In 47 games, the 100 Mile House Wranglers alum has six goals and 32 points.
“It’s been good and I’ve played a lot and in some good, key situations,” said Keon, who joined the Storm from the Toronto Junior Canadians.
The six-foot-one, 185 pound blueliner has played with more confidence in his abilities, which has rewarded him offensively, though he added points aren’t everything.
“I just feel like I’m making plays that I wouldn’t normally make and I’m seeing the game better,” he said. “I have seen an improvement in the offensive aspect, the defensive side I knew was already there. It has gotten a little bit better, but I think it’s been more on the offensive side.”
Keon has collected points from making key plays for the Storm’s offence, making him the team’s leading scoring blueliner.
“I’m grateful for the guys that are around me,” said Keon. “I’m relying on them.”
His play has attracted the interest of NCAA programs, which Vandekamp and his advisor handle. Keon keeps his focus on his play and helping the Storm have success.
The North Vancouver product put up 27 points in 45 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League regular season games in 2018-19, then added an assist in nine playoff games for the Wranglers. In 36 games with the Canadians, Keon had 10 points. With this being his “last kick at the can” Keon wanted to give everything he has.
His vision has improved and he has been given more opportunities by coach Mike Vandekamp and his staff to have patience and poise.
“The more you play, and the more minutes you play, you just get a better feel because it’s hard when you only play say 10 minutes a night,” added Keon. “Playing upwards of 30 minutes, you are getting triple the experience. You are adapting.”
Keon has also focused on being a leader for his teammates. As an assistant captain, he tries to be a lead by example and how he conducts himself around the rink and other guys. He mentors the younger players showing them how to do things after he learned from the previous leaders.
“Last year I noticed how big of an impact our leaders, especially on the ice, could have – in sticking up for teammates,” said Keon. “That sat with me the impact it made through the lineup.”