Rankin readjusting to hockey

Christopher Cameron
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Westville native in first season with the Scotians

TRENTON – Jake Rankin is a character player on the ice for the Pictou County Scotians, but it took some character from the Westville native off the ice to get back into game shape.

 

Jake Rankin of Westville is a first-year forward with the Pictou County Scotians this season. 

The 19-year-old was a member of the Northumberland Nighthawks boy’s hockey team in high school playing with Craig Matheson and Dustin Bowron, who also play with the Scotians now. He took last year off from hockey, but got the itch to want to play again after attending a few games.

“Last year I took a year off and when I saw they were playing when I watched a couple games I knew the next year I at least wanted to try out and see if I could do it,” said Rankin. “I went to the tryouts and pretty much ended up where I am. I had mixed emotions (during tryouts) because I have played with them before and know I can play with them, but seeing them now they’re on another level of play at the moment. I’m just trying to catch up.”

Rankin said he’s a high-energy player who looks to give the team a boost every time he hits the ice. He plays whatever role the coaches need him to play on the third or fourth lines, having played both wings and centre already this year.

He said the biggest struggle after taking a year off was trying to catch up to where his teammates were in their skill sets. According to Rankin his forechecking, skating and speed have improved already this year. He said he’s not a great offensive threat, but is more of a shutdown player who blocks a lot of shots.

“The endurance, the stamina and just getting back in the stride was a hard at first,” he said. “I tried going to the gym a lot, running and any chance I got just skating out here. I just skated as hard as I could and it’s slowly coming along.

“That first game was a nail biter with all the nerves coming back and being nervous about making the team.”

The nerves also came into play a little bit during his first games as a Scotian. Although he has played on county teams before, coming out in a Scotians uniform with the crowd cheering them on was something special.

“I played bantam AAA, so I’m used to the county thing, but this is far from what I thought it was going to be,” he said. “It’s just up on another level. You walk out and you know you’re representing your county at a junior level, which is kind of different.

“This place – it was just one of those things where I’d be sitting on the bench and someone would score and the whole place erupts. It’s just great energy and it pushes you more and more to try to go out and get another one.”

This Sunday Rankin and the Scotians host the Strait Pirates at the Trenton Arena. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. Last night they were on the road against the Cumberland County Blues.

The Scotians have also started a new community initiative this week, which will give game passes to players and coaches of the “Scotians Minor Hockey Team of the Week.” This week’s team is the Ballantyne Fuels peewee AAA Crushers.

 

 

christopher.cameron@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsChris

 

Organizations: Cumberland County Blues

Geographic location: Westville

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