Things are falling into place quite nicely for Jesse Lansdell.
Even before he joined the Chilliwack Chiefs this season, Lansdell had earned himself a scholarship offer to the University of Notre Dame, committing to the prestigious American university back in the summer.
And now, after a strong first three quarters of his rookie B.C. Hockey League season, the Langley teen has garnered himself an invitation to next week’s Canadian Junior Hockey League Top Prospects Game.
The game will be played at South Surrey Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and features 40 of the top junior A hockey players from across the five Canadian leagues.
Lansdell will be joined on the Team West roster by another Chiefs player, Langley’s Dennis Cholowski.
“It is pretty special, (especially) being a first-year player in the league,” said the 17-year-old Lansdell, a rookie left-winger with the Chiefs.
“To get that recognition, it just means that people have watched you and seen that you are working hard and have had success throughout the year.”
“There have been some ups and downs this season, but overall, it has been a good experience and a lot of fun.”
Entering play this week, Lansdell had 11 goals and 29 points in 38 games for Chilliwack. Both his goals and points place him fourth on the team and he is 16th overall among BCHL rookies in scoring.
“Jesse has done a good job as a rookie,” said Chiefs coach Jason Tatarnic.
“He is confident, very calm and poised.
“He is quite comfortable.”
The rookie is a fixture on both special teams for Chilliwack.
Lansdell attended the Yale Hockey Academy last year and suited up in seven games for Chilliwack as an affiliate player, registering one assist.
While playing with Yale’s prep team, he registered 17 goals and 55 points in 25 games. He also accumulated 106 penalty minutes.
At 5-10 and 198 pounds, Lansdell is a big body who plays a physical brand of hockey.
“With his size and strength, we are not surprised he has adjusted so well (to the BCHL),” Tatarnic said.
Lansdell — who turns 18 in August — is scheduled to play one more season of junior next year before he leaves for Notre Dame in the 2017/18 season.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to commit to a program like Notre Dame,” he said, adding it will be nice to play alongside former Yale teammate and fellow Langley hockey player Alec Capstick, of the Langley Rivermen.
The pair also played together at the bantam level with the Langley Minor Hockey Association.
Lansdell visited the Indiana university in the summer before committing to the program.
“(The coaching staff) liked my style of play and they explained how I would fit in the program,” he said. “I liked the coaches and what they had to say.”
He wants to work on his strength and speed before starting his collegiate hockey career.
But in the meantime, there is the top prospects game, which will have scouts from all 30 NHL teams in attendance.
And with more NCAA players finding their way into the NHL, there is always that chance for Lansdell should he chose to pursue that route.
“Jesse will have an opportunity to showcase his talent (at the game),” Tatarnic said.
“There is always that possibility for him. He just has to continue with his development.”
As for nerves knowing you are playing in front scouts who could determine if pro hockey is in your future, Lansdell doesn’t plan on changing his approach.
“I am just excited to play in it,” he said. “Obviously it is going to be a little different (but) I’m not nervous or anything. Just treat it like any other game.”