John Little took a giant step in his young hockey career.
The Parksville junior hockey player is now a member of the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. He was signed by the Giants last summer.
Little said he really wanted to play in the WHL. The five-foot-11, 180-pound forward was originally selected by the Giants in Round 3 of the 2017 WHL bantam draft. He played for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the B.C. Hockey League last season where he recorded 10 goals, 16 assists and 14 penalty minutes in 53 games.
From Jan. 5 through Feb. 9, he recorded points in 15 straight games. He added one goal in five playoff games. In October 2017, Little captured a gold medal with Team B.C. at the WHL Cup.
“Our scouting staff followed John’s progress closely last season,” said Giants GM Barclay Parneta. “His development trended upwards as the season progressed and from January on he was an integral part of his team’s success. We’re thrilled to welcome John to our organization. He adds even more depth to our strong group of 2002-born players.”
Little said the time he spent playing in the BCHL significantly improved his game.
“It was my first year playing major junior and was the youngest player (15 years old) in the league,” said Little. “Last year’s experience in the BCHL helped me prepare for the jump to the WHL which is a higher-skilled league. The WHL teams play a more structured game and there is a higher level of intensity.”
This year, Little said, the Giants are focusing on his development in preparation for his NHL draft year in 2021.
“So far it has been a lot of fun and the training and development is the same standard as the NHL, which is very hard but rewarding,” said Little. “With this year being my rookie year, my expectations have to be set on what I earn. All rookies have to learn the systems, be consistent and earn the trust of the coaches.”
Little has played six pre-season games with the Giants, scoring a goal and posting three assists. He also has played two regular season games against the Prince George Cougars.
Little is the seventh player selected by the Giants from the 2017 WHL bantam draft to sign with the team. Other 2017 Giants draftees include: Justin Sourdif, Tanner Brown, Cole Shepard, Krz Plummer, Braedy Euerby, and Jacob Gendron.
— NEWS Staff