Jeremy Bishop remembers being the young kid who looked up to older players for guidance and direction in senior hockey in this province.
He had guys like Brian Gruchy and Craig Tulk in Grand Falls-Windsor show him the way. He also had Royals stalwarts Rob French and Darren Colbourne show him a thing or two about finding his way on the ice.
Now, the role is reversed.
Bishop, a Grand Falls-Windsor native who calls Corner Brook home now, is one guy bringing leadership to the table for the Corner Brook Royals in the new West Coast Senior Hockey League.
Bishop, an electrician by trade and father of two, played with his hometown Cataracts in the Central West Senior Hockey League last winter.
This year, he decided to play with the Royals because he wanted to be closer to his two children, who are heavily involved in a number of sports throughout the year.
“Over the past 15 years I’ve kind of been travelling back and forth beating the highway for senior hockey, and it was an opportunity to play here in front of my family,” he said. “If I had to travel and play hockey this year then my kids’ sports would suffer so my sports goes on the backburner right now and I’m just happy to be able to play a game of hockey.”
This year’s edition of the Royals is a young, fast and skilled group of guys, several of them graduates of the Western Kings major midget hockey program and former college and junior hockey players who have come back home.
It’s a young group of players who are excited about playing senior hockey for their hometown and Bishop appreciates that level of enthusiasm he sees when he goes to the rink.
During the Royals last home game against Stephenville, Bishop took matters into his own hands, scoring a goal and picking up two assists while clearly being one of the most vocal players on the team on and off the bench.
He wants to do what he can to help the younger guys find their comfort zone. He knows how some of the guys are feeling because he was in the same boat when he got into the senior game 20 years ago.
“Just want them to stay calm and on an even keel because I know as a young person your emotions run pretty high,” Bishop said. “ So you have to be level headed and hopefully I can be that voice of reason to keep the younger guys under wraps sort of.”
The Royals will tangle with the Deer Lake Red Wings Friday night 8 p.m. at the Corner Brook Civic Centre.