Leafs goalie grows from professional mentorship

Nelson Leafs goalie Anderson Violette says he owes a lot to retired NHL goaltender Dwayne Roloson.


The Calgary product met him when Roloson, picked Violette for his Anaheim junior Ducks Bantam AAA team in the 2015-16 season.


“Working with him is unbelievable,” says Violette, who also played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U16 team in 2018. “Last year I had a pretty bad injury. He woke up at 7 a.m., we woke up and skated together for two months straight, he has been really crucial in the development of where I am today.”

Nelson Leafs goaltender Anderson Violette earned his first Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory against the Summerland Steam. Emanuel Sequeira/KIJHL photo

Roloson, who won 227 career NHL games, along with 28 playoff games which included a run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals with Edmonton, helped Violette improve his skating and worked on his stance. There was a lot of focus on Violette’s skating.


“He has been my personal goalie coach for four or five years now,” says Violette, who  moved to California and played there for three years, returned to Calgary for a year and returned to California for another year. “He saw me and saw something he liked. And then he wanted to work with me.”


Violette’s family moved to California as his father worked doing investing in corporate debt, which involves bringing businesses back that go under.

Since joining the Leafs in a trade on Sept. 27 from the Saanich Braves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, Violette, 18, is 5-0. Violette asked the Braves for a trade to be closer to his family in Calgary.


The six-foot-two, 180-pound netminder has a 1.39 goals against average and .942 save percentage. Violette likes his start and says the Leafs are playing good – have been excellent in front of him.


“It has been a pretty easy transition coming into a new team when they are that good in front of you,” he says.


Adding to the success is the coaching staff, how the organization is run, ice time they get and community support.


He has helped turn the Leafs’ season around as they were winless in their opening six games, that included three overtime losses.


“He was outstanding. Saanich wanted him back but he didn’t want to play that far away from home,” Leafs GM Lance Morey told the Nelson Star following the trade.


Violette enjoyed his rookie season in the VIJHL last year, but loves playing in front of more fans.


“In Nelson we get 600 fans a game,” says Violette “In the Island league, because there is the WHL and BCHL, you have all these teams, it’s kind of hard to compete for fans. It’s a great time.”

Violette has goals he wants to accomplish this season. He wants to lead the Leafs to a Cyclone Taylor Cup championship and believes they can do it.


“Every person here is working very hard. We are all doing the same stuff. We are truly a team here,” he says. “We are finding that bond. I think that is something special that you don’t get often. I think we are going to go pretty far in the playoffs.”


Personally, he wants to be the top goalie in the KIJHL. After five games, he is second in goals against average and third in save percentage.