Callegari enjoying all-star season
Most players would be happy to be producing at a point-per-game clip, but Eric Callegari readily admits that — in his opinion at least— he is not providing peak production.
Through 28 games this season for the Valley West Hawks, the 17-year-old centre is tied for second on the team with 22 assists and he has seven goals for 29 points.
“I am doing alright, but I think I should be doing better, honestly,” Callegari admitted.
“I want to get my point total up, I am not completely happy with it.”
But while Callegari may not be 100 per cent happy with his production, he is definitely doing things right on the ice in his second season with the Hawks as tomorrow night, Callegari will suit up in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League all-star game (see story below).
“He is one of our leaders,” said Hawks coach Tom Spencer, who will assist behind the bench at the all-star game.
“Day in and day out, he is there battling.
“He deserves (to be at the game) and hats off to him because he has earned it.”
“He will definitely show that he belongs out on the ice with all those guys,” the coach added.
“It is obviously an honour since the league is so skilled and there are so many high calibre players,” Callegari said.
“It should be fun.”
There is no question what Callegari brings to the team.
“He is a very skilled player, a playmaker, pass-first kind of guy,” Spencer said.
“A very responsible 200-foot player — very good in the (defensive) zone and very good on face-offs.”
And Callegari relishes the responsibilities of taking a key draw in his own zone with his team protecting a lead.
“I enjoy the face-offs and the coach utilizes me a lot to win them,” Callegari said.
“I appreciate that trust.”
This is Callegari’s second season with the Hawks and he has built nicely upon his rookie campaign which saw him score 13 goals and finish with 29 points in 38 games. His play earned him an invitation to the junior A camp of the Penticton Vees over the summer, before the coaching staff ultimately decided another season of major midget was in the best interest of Callegari’s development. He also briefly considered playing junior B with the Aldergrove Kodiaks — where he would have joined his older brother, Adam — but ultimately wound up back with the Hawks.
He said a major reason the Kodiaks opportunity did not work was because of the practice schedule as the team typically hits the ice at 1:30 p.m., right near the end of the school day for the Grade 12 student at Brookswood Secondary.
Callegari has his sights set on junior A next year —he is an affiliated player with the Surrey Eagles — and knows he needs to add size to make the jump.
He has the height — he stands 5-foot-11 — but just needs to bulk up from his 150 pounds.
Spencer feels this is all within Callegari’s grasp — if he wants to.
“I think he has the ability, he just has to believe he can,” the coach said.
“Being a slighter player … he just needs to be more assertive.
“I totally think he is capable of being a leading goal scorer in this league.”
Four other members of the Valley West Hawks will be suiting up in the 2014 B.C. Major Midget Hockey League all-star game.
A sixth was chosen but is unable to attend because of injury.
The game will be played tomorrow (Friday) night at the George Preston Recreation Centre with a 6 p.m. puck drop. Forty-two players were selected to take part.
In addition to Callegari, Matt Bradley (Surrey) and Paul Savage (Surrey) on Team Blue while Kyle Cheema (Cloverdale) and Mitch Newsome (Surrey) are on Team White.
Devante Stephens is the injured Hawks player unable to play.
Hawks head coach Tom Spencer will be an assistant on Team White.
The Valley West team is made up of players from Langley, Cloverdale, White Rock and Surrey. The Hawks sit third in the 11-team league with a record of 17-10-1.