Alek Erichuk is moving on from Nelson to join the B.C. Hockey League’s Merritt Centennials.
Photo from Leafs’ Facebook page
Alek Erichuk of the Nelson Leafs will be lacing his skates in the B.C. Hockey League next season.
Erichuk, a Kamloops native, is excited for the opportunity to play with the Merritt Centennials in the BCHL because it’s a fast-paced, skilled league.
“I’m really happy to make this step up from the KIJHL because it’s tough to crack the lineup of a BCHL team,” says Erichuk, who broke into the KIJHL with the Kelowna Chiefs in 2017-18 seeing action in two regular season games. “This is something I have been working towards so it’s really great to reach this goal.”
In his two seasons with the Leafs the six-foot-three, 190 pound defenceman had seven goals and 25 points in 29 games. He missed a month due to a concussion. In his career, he played 72 games, finishing with nine goals and 37 points. In 19 career playoff games, Erichuk had a goal and six points.
“I had a really good season this year with the Leafs,” he says. “I played a smart game, moved the puck well and was solid on the power-play that helped us get some points. It would have been great to finish the playoffs because we were on a winning streak and I think we had a good shot at making it to the finals.”
The Centennials get a blueliner who has worked on increasing his skating speed and passing skills.
“I focused on the little things like lengthening my stride, bending my knees more, following through on my passes, and just getting physically stronger,” he adds. “My skating has improved and I move the puck more effectively. I’m also better at separating guys from the puck in the corner and along the boards.”
Erichuk credits his time with the Leafs in helping him mature as a person and player. His confidence grew on and off the ice. Erichuk says he has learned to be a better player and teammate and believes that will help him with the Centennials.
In a team statement, Centennials head coach and general manager Derek Sweet-Coulter says that Erichuk has a lot of different abilities that will make him a good defender in the BCHL.
“Alek is a solid puck moving defenceman, he is able to take away time and space quickly from opponents with his long reach and keeps the play in front of him,” says Sweet-Coulter. “He has great awareness with the ability to read the play and make the high percentage decision. He sees the ice very well, and had success as the QB on his team’s power play last season where he excelled at getting his shot through from the point.”