The hockey pipeline from Prince George to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., continues to deliver a precious northern B.C. resource – accomplished junior hockey players.
Prince George Spruce Kings forward John Herrington became the latest U.S. college hockey prospect to commit to a scholarship arrangement with Lake Superior State University.
The 19-year-old centre from Hudson’s Hope was a key ingredient for the Kings in their climb to the B.C. Hockey League Chilliwack pod regular season championship. He scored six goals and picked up eight assists in 20 games as a BCHL rookie.
“With the shortened season and practices only for the most part of the year, being offered a scholarship was very unexpected,” said Herrington, in a team release. “It was a very exciting moment for me and my family and left us pretty speechless at first. I still don’t think it has totally sunk in yet.”
Herrington’s effectiveness as a BCHL forward grew as the shortened season progressed and the scouts were obviously watching.
“We are very proud of John Herrington and he and his family are very deserving of this achievement,” said Kings head coach Alex Evin. ”Since joining our team as an affiliate player, we have witnessed Johnny work extremely hard to improve each and every day both on and off the ice.”
Prior to joining the Spruce Kings, Herrington spent two seasons in the B.C. Hockey Major Midget League based in Prince George with the Cariboo Cougars. He played eight BCHL regular season games and three playoff games with the Kings in 2019-20.
“He’s a northern BC player who has gone through the correct process,” said Kings general manager Mike Hawes. “He affiliated with us during his last season of midget and then came in here the following season and worked hard on his development. This scholarship is very well deserved.”
This year, armed with former Spruce Kings forwards Dustin Manz and Spencer DenBeste and former Cariboo Cougar/Salmon Arm Silverback defenceman Jeremy Gervais of Prince George, the Lakers advanced to the Frozen Four in March, reaching the NCAA Division 1 semifinals for the first time since 1996. Lake Superior State won the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Lakers’ season ended March 26 with a 5-1 loss in the semifinal to the University of Massachusetts Minutemen.
“Lake Superior has that small town feeling where everyone starts to know everyone and growing up in a town of 1,000 people, it should feel like home,” said the five-foot-10, 170-pound Herrington, who turned 19 on April 19.
“I think I have to not only become bigger, faster, and stronger, but also working on protecting the puck and creating more space to make plays and get shots on net.”
Earlier this week, the BCHL announced Spruce Kings forward Christian Buono has been selected as the most valuable player on the Chilliwack pod, while goalie Aaron Trotter won the pod’s top goalie award.
Buono led the Spruce Kings to a 14-5-0-1-0 record atop the pod standings as the team’s leading scorer and his 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points in 20 in games earned him the top scorer award. The 21-year-old Burnaby native joined the Spruce Kings last summer from the Merritt Centennials to play for the Kings in his final season of junior eligibility. Buono collected a goal and two assists in a 4-2 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs May 9 which clinched the pod title for the Kings.
Trotter, a 20-year-old Victoria native, was also an off-season recruit who joined the Kings last summer after playing for Shawnigan Lake School. As a BCHL rookie, Trotter compiled a 1.63 goals-against average and .934 save percentage with two shutouts and a 7-3-1 record.
Sasha Teleguine of the Chilliwack Chiefs was named the top rookie of the Chilliwack pod, while Jackson Munro of the Chiefs won the top defenceman award.