The Kelowna Chiefs are once again one of the top teams in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) this year.
With 50 points, the Chiefs sit first in their division and third in the league. The success that the Chiefs have continued over from last season’s record-breaking campaign has no doubt been a team effort, but has been largely helped by the emergence of Kelowna’s Porter Dawson, the league’s top scoring rookie.
Playing for his hometown team, Dawson has 47 points this year and acknowledges the increasing level of play in the KIJHL.
“The league is getting better each year,” Dawson said in a KIJHL interview.
“I feel the game speed is getting faster and kids are getting faster, stronger, bigger.”
On pace to finish the season with close to 70 points, Dawson has made vast improvements to his game after a disappointing last season with the Okanagan Rockets.
Paired on the Chiefs’ top line for most the season and playing in all game situations, the Kelowna coaches knew that Dawson could make an impact when given the opportunity.
“He’s just a natural, gifted playmaker,” said Chiefs’ coach Ken Law.
“He’s just a guy that has good vision on the ice, he finds his teammates. He works really hard to get into scoring positions.”
With 19 goals and 28 assists in 36 games so far this season, it’s hard from the outside to see what improvements Dawson could make, but the 18-year-old knows his game can improve.
“I found that you can’t make mistakes in this league,” said Dawson.
Making changes to his diet and training regiment, he knows that there is little room for error.
“It’s the same speed, but it’s more physical than the league I played in last year.”
Dawson has put his trust into his willingness to work hard each game and caring to make the right and unselfish play as the Chiefs look to finish the season strong at the end of February.
The Chiefs return to action at Rutland Arena Jan. 11 to host the Princeton Posse.
To report a typo, email: