The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals are enjoying one of their best seasons in a long, long while.
They finished first in the North Division in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and have the potential to go deep in the playoffs.
If there’s any player in the current Generals roster who is savouring every moment of it the most, it’s team captain Landon Dziadyk. This is his last season with the Generals and he would like to see the team go as far as they could in post-season play. It would be a fitting end to his junior career.
The Generals rarely finish on top of the North Division. Dziadyk can attest to that, having endured more of the ups and downs of the Generals than any of the players in the team now.
The Qualicum Beach product started his junior career with the Generals.
He was just 16 when he committed to play for the team in the 2015-16 season.
He unsuccessfully tried out for other teams that include the Peninsula Panthers and Nanaimo Buccaneers, who at the time were coached by Dan Lemmon, who is now coaching the Generals.
When Dziadyk joined the Generals, their record was poor. They’ve had more losses than wins. It was tough, Dziadyk recalled. But despite the struggles, he stuck it out with the club.
“In my first year with the Generals we won just seven games,” Dziadyk recalled.
“It was hard. It’s not fun when you’re not winning. But there were some players who encouraged me and told me not to let the losses get me down. There was Chandler Bruyckere and Travis Flug who took me under their wing and they helped me get to where I am now.”
Staying with the Generals helped Dziadyk not only improve his game to become one of the team’s dependable snipers in the last four seasons, but he also has become an exemplary leader, a role that he says he is enjoying.
“It obviously is a big responsibility especially with the young guys, keeping them in line and also showing them what it takes to try and get to the next level. I’ve been there for a little bit,” said Dziadyk, who had a brief stint with the Cowichan Capitals in the B.C. Hockey League, when he was 18. “Our league focuses more on promoting guys on so I just try to be a role model and help them get to the next level.”
Dziadyk also shared the wisdom that he inherited from his mentors, Bruyckere and Flug to savour the moments, win or lose, enjoy being part of the team, and playing the game.
“Chandler told me not to take things for granted because it goes by quick,” said Dziadyk. “I kinda looked at him and said I got like six years. But looking back at it, my junior career is coming to an end and it flew by. It so quick. It’s crazy how fast it goes. So I tell them to kind of embrace it and have fun.
Generals president and former coach Gerry Bickerton commended Dziadyk’s development and growth on and off the ice.
He said he’s been great to watch over the years.
“His on-ice production speaks for itself,” said Bickerton.
“He came to us as a 16-year-old who saw limited ice time in his first year and has developed into a premier contributor not only for our team but in the entire league. Landon has always been committed to the events we do within the community and has been a leader in helping our players understand the importance of playing for a community-focused organization.
“He has accomplished all of this as a local player playing for his hometown team.”
In his first year with the Generals in the 2015-16 season, Dziadyk had five goals and seven assists. His scoring prowess improved each year and this year he currently has 22 goals and 21 assists.
Dziadyk is also recognized for having played the most games in Generals history.
He broke his mentor and friend Flug’s record last season when he played his 138th game. His total games played with the Generals to date is 220 and it’s still climbing.
“It’s a long commitment,” said Dziadyk. “It might be tough to beat but you’ll never know.”
Dziadyk is now imagining life after the Generals. There’s going to be a void that’s hard to fill, he said.
“It’s kind of upsetting,” said Dziadyk, who doesn’t have any definite hockey plans yet. “What are we going to do? There’s a few of us. Our whole life is to go to the rink everyday and now it’s coming to an end. So what is there after? I am sure we’ll figure it out but at this moment it is sad.”
Dziadyk indicated that what they’ve achieved this season is something he and also the Generals organization can be truly proud of.
“It quite an accomplishment,” said Dziadyk. “I am happy it’s happening in my last season with the Generals. It’s been quite a journey for me. I have been there with all the ups and downs. Now we’re finally where we wanted to be.”