PORT WILLIAMS, NS - A Port Williams native is making a name for himself in the university hockey circuit in Ottawa.
John Deacon, who is a familiar face for Valley Wildcat fans after spending three years on the junior A team’s bench, also played for Horton High in 2010-2011. Last September, he made the jump to university hockey after he was recruited by the Gee-Gees at the University of Ottawa, where he had five goals and seven assists in the 22 games he played.
The 22-year-old forward now appears to be on the cusp of a breakout year, with a strong pre-season performance netting him athlete of the week honours Sept. 18 after tallying three goals in one weekend, helping the Gee-Gees to a pair of victories in exhibition play.
“Being named athlete of the week felt very good. It's nice to be recognized by my schools athletic program in that way,” Deacon said.
The regular season kicked off Oct. 1, with the Gee-Gees picking up two wins – one a shootout, the other in overtime – and two losses, including one overtime loss.
Deacon has been in the thick of things, adding two assists in the overtime loss, and he says he’s feeling confident about the Gee-Gees chances this season.
“We've had a good start to the year. We had some ups and downs in pre-season but we faced some good teams, including the Belleville Senators of the AHL and two NCAA teams Penn State and Robert Morris,” he said.
“I feel like this really got us ready for regular season. We started our regular season off with a win and an overtime loss against two of the better teams in our league.”
He’s please with his own performance on the ice, he added, thanks to the experience he gained in his rookie season.
“I'm more used to the pace of the league and I think it shows with what I've done on the ice so far,” he said.
Deacon, who is studying economics at the University of Ottawa, says the Wildcats program helped prepare him, but adds it’s definitely a different level of hockey. While he doesn’t have any real standout memories from his rookie season last year, he says it helped him get used to the pace and demands of university hockey play.
“It's a lot different than playing for the Wildcats. For one, I was living at home, so being on my own is a big change,” he said. “Also, being a full time student while playing hockey adds some stress and takes up a lot of my time. It's a big jump from Jr. A hockey to U sports. The pace is a lot faster and the players are stronger.”
Deacond is hoping to see the Gee-Gees up their performance this year - it’s in a harder division, he says, so the players will have their work cut out for them – but he’s determined to bring his game to the rink every night.
“My personal goal for this year is to become more of a relied upon player every game,” he said. “I would like to improve my point total from last year as well. Our team goal is to win a championship.”