Oak Lake’s Josh Wiens found a hockey opportunity and a role out west.
The 18-year-old son of Brad and Angie Wiens played for the Castlegar Rebels in British Columbia and established himself as one of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League team’s top forwards.
“From Day One, Josh has stepped in and played with high speed and excellent vision for creating play,” Rebels head coach Carter Duffin said. “His ability to find teammates quickly has allowed him to be a key piece in one of our team’s top offensively producing lines.”
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound forward finished tied for fourth on the Junior B Rebels in points with 27 in 35 games. He was second on the team in assists with 24.
“Josh's greatest strength is his ability to make something happen,” Duffin said. “He can turn a forecheck into a turnover and give us an opportunity to score. He has a keen sense to be able to play defensive and disrupt teams from attacking or holding pressure against us.”
Wiens came to B.C. due to his connection with Duffin. The latter used to be an assistant coach with the Virden Oil Capitals. Wiens was listed at the time with the Oil Capitals and he used to attend the breakfast club sessions Duffin and Oil Caps head coach Troy Leslie put on.
He has been having fun out west.
“I think what I have enjoyed the most is meeting all the guys,” Wiens said. “I also enjoy the lifestyle of junior hockey. It’s nice to be able to be focused on just playing hockey. I also like the crowds we get to play in front of here. It’s a lot more than (midget) AAA and the bigger crowds definitely make playing hockey more fun.”
Wiens said a big difference between junior hockey and midget AAA, which he played with the Southwest Cougars, is that he is on the ice a lot more and is spending more time with his teammates.
“Being out of school makes it a lot different too,” he said. “It’s a lot different practicing in the mornings compared to at nights with AAA. It’s nice not having to do homework on the bus and before practices and everything too. We also do a lot of volunteer (activities) in Castlegar … I've enjoyed that so far.”
Even though he is far from home, Wiens still has the support of his family.
“When I was growing up, they spent a lot of time driving me to the rink and they made it to every game they could. As I got older and hockey got more expensive, they helped me with fees and costs and I'm very thankful for that. So, they have gone above and beyond helping me out.”