Dylan Coghlan has not been lacking for opportunities this year, and he is currently in the process of his biggest yet.
The North Island Silvertips defenceman is in Calgary this weekend, representing Nanaimo on Team B.C. at the Western Canada Under 16 Challenge Cup.
The 15-year-old started the year with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, but was sent back to the Silvertips for some more seasoning.
Now he will be playing with and against some of the best players in his age group from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and B.C. "It's unbelievable," said Coghlan. "It's fun being around all of the guys and the staff is so nice. It's great."
Silvertips head coach Jason Dubyna has been impressed with what he has seen out of the six-foot-one, 175-pound blue-liner, even if his numbers do not jump off the page.
In 12 games in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League this season, Coghlan has just one solitary assist. But Dubyna expects it is just a matter of time until the stats start to accumulate. He will certainly get that opportunity, playing mostly with defensive defencemen like David Biagioni and Coleman Doney.
"He makes good outlet passes and he has a strong shot, he just hasn't found the back of the net yet," said Dubyna. "I think when he comes back from this tournament, hopefully he will have more confidence to push his game more with us, because I know he's capable of dominating."
This season is all about learning and growing as a player. Last season Coghlan was playing with the Nanaimo Bantam Tier I Clippers, scoring 40 points (18 goals, 22 assists) in 34 games. He was drafted in the third round (63 overall), by the Americans in the WHL bantam draft this summer.
He went down to Kennewick, Wash., for the Tri-City prospects camp, but did not make it through to the main camp.
Still he learned a lot in his short time south of the 49th parallel.
"The coaching staff really helped me with my offensive and defensive skills," he said.
With Team B.C. he has a whole new set of instructors to learn from, including head coach Trevor Sprague, the general manager of the BCMMHL's Cariboo Cougars. "It's a whole different coaching style, but I think it's good for me and they're giving me nothing but good information and they're just trying to make me a better hockey player," said Coghlan.
They open their tournament today against Team Alberta and will wrap up on Sunday.
© Copyright 2013