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Experienced Oleksiuk helps Oil Caps

Jack Oleksiuk, a Winnipeg-born Oil Cap has national and international sports in his repertoire.
Jack Oleksiuk

Jack Oleksiuk has brought varied and valuable hockey experience to the Virden Oil Capitals this season.

The 19-year-old forward from Winnipeg has played ball hockey at the national and international level. Oleksiuk spent a season in the United States developing his game. Before being acquired by the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Oil Caps, he suited up in the MJHL for the Winnipeg Blues and the Portage Terriers.

“Jack has a ton of experience in the league with a few different teams so he is relied upon to be a mature guy that can help our younger guys through situations by the way he handles himself,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “Jack has been a good addition to our hockey club.”

The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder has proven he can contribute for the Oil Caps. In 23 games this season, he has three goals and 15 points.

“Jack is very skilled and has the ability to play in tight spaces, which allows him to make plays that keep the defending team on their heels,” Ramsey said. “He can be an energy guy and a motivating influence for our group. We are happy to have him here with us.”

Oleksiuk said he said he has enjoyed the relationships he has made since joining the Oil Caps. 

“From management, coaches and the players - everyone has been so friendly, and the communication is amazing through and through,” said Oleksiuk, who noted that it has been great living with Lance and Janice Barrate and their sons Isaiah, Evander, and Allister.

As a 17-year-old, Oleksiuk got his junior career started with the Winnipeg Blues. After a season there, he was swapped to the Portage Terriers for a 2020-2021 campaign severely shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Playing for the Blues in my rookie year really helped me know that nothing was impossible,” Oleksiuk said. “We were doubted heavily before the season and ended up making the playoffs. It shows that hard work can take a team anywhere.

“Playing in Portage for the short amount of time I was there showed me how to be a professional on and off the ice. With the history and achievements they have, it really taught me what it takes to win.”

Before joining the Blues, he played his 16-year-old season for the Sioux Falls Power 16U program. In South Dakota, he was coached by former women’s college hockey player Noelle Needham, whose resume also includes time as a Toronto Maple Leafs scout.

“Playing in Sioux Falls is the best thing I could have done for my hockey career,” Oleksiuk said. “Playing for Noelle Needham helped me so much as a player and a person. She had completely changed my playing style. Noelle is the most hockey smart person I have ever met in my life so learning from her was a gift. She has done so much for the state of South Dakota hockey and I am proud to call her a friend. I go back to Sioux Falls every summer to train and coach for Noelle.”

For five years, Oleksiuk has played ball hockey. He feels the sport has benefited him on the ice.

“In ball hockey, you are constantly running, and it really helps my speed and cardio for hockey,” Oleksiuk said.

He has suited up for Team Manitoba in ball hockey for five years. Oleksiuk has captained three of those squads. His play at the 2017 nationals earned him the opportunity to compete for Canada at the 2018 U-16 World Junior Ball Hockey Championship in Zlin, Czech Republic.

Team Canada trained for a week in Plzen. After that, Oleksiuk was named an alternate captain for the squad. Team Canada went 5-0 in the tournament and beat Slovakia, 3-1, in the finals to win gold.

“It was the greatest thing to ever happen to me and an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Oleksiuk said. “I am playing in nationals in June for Team Manitoba once again for an opportunity to make Team Canada.”