Columbia Valley Rockies defenceman Dylan Malarchuk enjoyed showcasing himself to the Powell River Kings and the B.C. Hockey League during its 2020-21 Pod season.
Malarchuk immediately began making adjustments to how he plays his position seeing how the BCHL game is played. Among them was gap control as he quickly learned that opponents will take advantage of space given to them. He also focused on making quicker decisions and moving his feet.
“It’s definitely a lot of adjusting and it’s a faster game,” Malarchuk said prior to the season ending. “A lot more systems and just overall, bigger, better players. Getting used to playing against them it’s different, but also a lot of fun.”
His time with the Rockies helped him be ready to play for the Kings because he was on the ice every day.
“Putting in extra work helped a lot,” says Malarchuk.
The Calgary product had days where he felt he proved he can play in the BCHL. Malarchuk had three assists in 11 games for the Kings as they finished second in the Coquitlam Pod with seven wins, 11 losses, one overtime loss and a shootout loss. The five-foot-11, 190-pound defender focused on defensive play and didn’t worry much about offence. Malarchuk feels he has shown what he can do, even when he had challenging shifts.
Along with playing a faster paced game, Malarchuk needed to keep himself ready in a condensed schedule taking care of his body and making sure he was well rested. Malarchuk says the coaching staff saw the improvement in his play. His focus throughout the season was being a consistent player.
Malarchuk was joined by a large contingent of Kamloops Storm players and said having other players from the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with him made being on the team feel more comfortable. He wasn’t alone and they could relate.
“It helped us come together,” says Malarchuk.