Jonathan Walsh willing to do whatever it takes to pursue his passion for hockey

Dave Kearsey dkearsey@thewesternstar.com
Published on January 5, 2017

Jonathan Walsh makes a pass during a Western Kings AAA bantam hockey team practice earlier this week. The son of Michael Walsh and Trudy Taylor-Walsh of Norris Point is looking forward to seeing how the Western Kings stack up against other Atlantic Canada teams at the fifth annual East Coast IceJam Tournament starting Monday at the BMO Centre in Halifax, N.S.

©Chris Quigley/TC Media

Jonathan Walsh spends a lot of time on the road honing his hockey skills, but that’s a commitment he made in an effort to be the best he can be.

Walsh, a 15-year-old Norris Point native, has been a member of a provincial hockey team for the past two years, and is immersed in his sophomore season with the league-leading Western Kings of the Newfoundland and Labrador AAA bantam hockey league.

Walsh, a crafty defender at 5-6, will patrol the blueline for the Kings next week as major bantam teams from Atlantic Canada converge on the BMO Centre in Halifax for the fifth annual East Coast IceJam Tournament.

It’s his first trip to the IceJam, but he has played in the Atlantic Challenge Cup in Moncton on two occasions, so he knows there will be some dandy players suiting up for the opposing sides.

Last year, as a member of the provincial Under-14 team, he was the recipient of his team’s Hard Hat Award, which recognizes the work ethic of a player and is chosen by teammates.

Walsh knows he can only get better if he keeps competing against players at an elite level. The Kings are the top team in this province heading into the tournament, but he figures getting to play against teams from other provinces instead of the same teams over and over again should prove to be beneficial.

“If you’re playing with somebody who is better than you it’s obviously going to make you a lot better,” he said.

The Kings feature a roster with only a handful of rookies, so the team has some experience at high-level events, but Walsh believes success will depend on being aware of the intelligence level of the players at these major showcase events.

He said most of the teams on the mainland have played together for a lot longer and they play more games, and they can use systems and plays not familiar to the Kings, so it will be mean being on top of their game.

It’s always a good measuring stick for a team when it competes against teams off the island. It will be a tough test, Walsh acknowledges, but he believes his team can hold their own if they bring a physical brand of hockey and avoid trips to the penalty box.

No matter what unfolds, Walsh wants the guys to make the most of the opportunity and have fun playing the game.

He loves hockey, so he’s just happy for a chance to show what he can do.

“I want to keep playing it until I can’t anymore,” he said.