For Shane Rutherford coming to the area to play for the Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has been a great decision.
The blueliner who is originally from Charlie Lake B.C. celebrated his birthday and turned 18 on Feb. 3 which came with a pleasant surprise at a road game.
“It was good. We were in Fernie and lost but it was nice that my parents came down. It was a surprise because they didn’t tell me they were coming down,” he said.
As for playing with the Rockets Rutherford has been doing well and said, “It has been going really good. I have been having lots of fun.”
Before coming to Golden to play with the Rockets, Rutherford spent some time playing hockey in the Edmonton area.
As for what kind of player he is on the ice, Rutherford seems himself as more of an offensive d-man.
“I am more of a play maker. I like to get the puck out and make that first pass real quick. I focus on smart heads up hockey.”
Though he still considers himself a Calgary Flames fan he did admit to enjoying the style of play of the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins while liking Brian Campbell who like Rutherford is not the most physically imposing blueliner.
“I try and lay the body when I can but some guys are pretty big. The players are very strong. They are a whole lot stronger than in midget especially when I am playing against older guys now,” Rutherford said. “I have been hitting the gym and working out a lot this season.”
One area on the ice Rutherford has been trying to improve is on the power play.
“I have been working a lot on the power play working on puck movement which I think ties into my game,” he said.
As for the team Rutherford could not be happier to play with his teammates.
“It is a great team. I love playing with the guys and am having a lot of fun with them.”
Rutherford thinks the team is very close to being able to contend against any team in the KIJHL.
“We just need to try and bear down on our chances and put the puck in the net when we can. We also have to tighten up on the defence and keep the other guys out of the way.”
As for his own play, Rutherford is hopeful he will continue to show improvements for the rest of the season.
“I want to help the team get through the first round and keep this season going as long as we can.”
Although he does hope to make the jump to Junior A next year Rutherford is open to the idea of returning to the Rockets for another season. “I would like go to Junior A if I could but if not then I will be back here. It has been a great time here. A lot of the people are very friendly and it is nice coming to a smaller town where everybody knows everybody.”