The only thing better than doing what one loves, is getting paid to do it.
Whitehorse’s Jordan Lane will soon know exactly what that’s like.
The 20-year-old left-winger has just made the jump from junior to professional, signing a contract with the Mississippi RiverKings of the Central Hockey League, a team professionally associated with the NHL’s Nashville Predators.
“I think it’s great. I’m looking forward to it and I think it’s going to be fun,” said Lane. “I think it’s going to be a blast to see what it’s like to go play at the next level. This will be the highest level I’ve competed against. Up to now all I’ve played is Junior A or Major Junior.”
The six-foot-eight-inch forward recently wrapped up his junior career, playing with the Neepawa Natives (33-24-7) out of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League this past season. In 57 games Lane scored nine goals and produced 12 assists.
“He’s obviously played for a long time and it’s been his childhood dream,” said Natives head coach/general manager Bryant Perrier. “He’s made the rounds. He’s played in the KIJHL in British Columbia and he’s moved out east (on the Wildcats) and he’s been in Manitoba. So he finished his (junior) career here in Neepawa.
“He’s really worked on his skill. And he’s a big, strong young man and there’s no question that he can handle himself, but it’s the skill he had to work on and improve, and he’s done that over the course of the season.”
While on the RiverKings, Lane will be under the tutelage of head coach Kevin Kaminski, a former NHLer who played with the Minnesota North Stars, the Quebec Nordiques and the Washington Capitals before making the switch to coaching. As a coach, Kaminski was the assistant to Mike Babcock, current head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, while with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League.
“He’s going into a very good league and will be playing with very good players, so everyone is pretty excited for Jordan in our organization,” said Perrier. “The guys that go from junior hockey to college or professional need some good attributes to get there. You have to have a package in place to get to the level he’s going to.”
In the 2008/09 season, the former Whitehorse Mustangs rep player joined fellow Yukoner Ted Stephens on the Muncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. (Last month Stephens became the first Yukon-born player to compete for the Memorial Cup with the Wildcats.)
“I’m just having a blast while it’s here,” said Lane. “I’ve got to make the most of it.
“I’m looking forward to the experience.”
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