Virden Oil Capitals rookie Logan Rands has found himself competing against older, bigger players as well as his hometown team.
“I grew up watching the (Portage) Terriers and looked up to them as a little kid, watching them win multiple championships,” Rands said. “Getting the chance to play against them now is a real cool experience!”
The 17-year-old defenceman has handled the transition to Junior A hockey with aplomb. The eighth overall pick in the 2016 Manitoba Junior Hockey League Draft has earned minutes in a pairing with 20-year-old standout and Virden product Tristen Cross, who was fourth in the MJHL in blue line scoring as of Monday.
“He is a very intelligent player,” Virden head coach Troy Leslie said. “He is very mature for his age. Because of that, he has been able to step in and play right away for us.”
GOALS AND POINTS
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Rands has two goals and 15 points in 55 games this season as of Monday. On many nights, Rands has been the Oil Capitals’ best defensive player and not just on the blue line, Leslie said. The Virden bench boss praised Rands for his smart defensive play, strong positioning, and for having a good stick.
“Defence is a very important part of my game,” Rands said. “I take pride in my defensive zone play and helping keep the puck out of the net. I’ll hop into the offence if I see an opportunity, but usually hang back as Cross is probably already up in the play.”
Although he grew up a Terriers fan, Rands is pleased to be playing in Virden.
“The Oil Caps organization is second to none,” he said. “We have an amazing fan base and great community support that is easy to play in front of! We have a great leadership group and a great group of guys in the room that are awesome to be around everyday.”
Another aspect of life in Virden Rands enjoys is his billet family. He stays with Megan and Trevor Gabrielle and their children Rhyse and Makayla.
“They are an amazing family,” he said. “They made it super easy to move out here, and I felt welcomed and at home as soon as I moved in. I couldn’t have asked for a better billet family!”