By Gann Matsuda, Frozen Royalty
EL SEGUNDO, CA — From the time he started playing youth hockey, all the way up to his time in the Western Hockey League, center Jordan Weal has heard the same thing, over and over and over…
…that he was way too small to play junior hockey, let alone at the professional level.
“It’s something I’ve had to deal with all my life, being a smaller guy,” said Weal, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the third (70th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. “People have said that I’m too small to play, even going into the WHL draft, people thought I was too small to make it.”
Two years later, Weal has added seven pounds to his 5-9 frame, now weighing 180 pounds. (* See story at the bottom - 4 Ex-Pats by Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston) He is also enjoying greater success in maintaining his playing weight and adding muscle.
“Maintaining my weight [has] been a tough thing for me to do these last couple of years because I’m still young, and my metabolism is racing along,” the twenty-year-old native of North Vancouver, British Columbia explained. “If I don’t eat a bunch, I’m losing weight.. This year, I didn’t lose any weight. I maintained it, so I’m really happy with that.”
“Nelson Emerson [who oversees player development for the Kings] came to one of my games, and I saw a couple of the scouts at some of my games,” Weal elaborated. “They like how I play, they just know that the off-ice part is going to be [my biggest challenge], just gaining size, and maturing. But I’m starting to [maintain] weight easier, and put on weight easier.”
“It’s going to be a big summer, working five or six days a week [with a bit of a break that followed the Kings’ annual development camp in early July].”
Although adding size and strength will continue to be the biggest challenge in his quest to make it to the NHL someday, it is definitely not Weal’s only one.
Indeed, Weal is a skilled offensive forward, but the knock on him has been his play in the defensive zone, not to mention his play away from the puck. But he has been working on those aspects of his game.
“I think I made a lot of strides in both areas, especially in the defensive zone,” said Weal. “Our new coach, Pat Conacher, really stressed that a lot with his top players, that you have to be responsible at both ends of the ice.”
“As you get older, you begin to understand the game a little more in the defensive zone,” added Weal. “Sometimes less is more in the defensive zone. You can be more efficient in getting pucks out of your zone, and into the offensive zone. That’s what I learned how to do.”
“Once you learn the defensive game, it becomes a little more fun. You can definitely use it to your advantage.”
To continue reading this article on Frozen Royalty, click here.
by Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston
There have been four ex-Regina Pats who had less weight and height then Jordan Weal who made it to the WHL, NHL or Europe. Believe it or not they were some of our best players: Fran Huck in the early 1960's broke records in scoring, (1963-64 season had 86 goals, 67 assists for 153 points in 62 league games. Ron Garwasiuk mid 1960's (1968-69 play-offs had 63 points - still a record, scored 31 goals and had 32 assists). Dale Derkatch was only 5' 5" and only 145 pounds and look what he did - 491 points during his Pats seasons, plus breaking 9 WHL records. He never made it to the NHL, but played 13 seasons, in Italy, Finland, and Germany, had (532 games, scoring 369 goals, 496 assists. We can not forget Ken Doraty back in the 1930's who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs was only 5' 7" and 124 pounds ! He broke two NHL records (1934), January 16, one which will never be broken (3 over time goals in - a 10 minute over time period, in a play-off game!), plus April 3, scoring the winning goal in one of the longest NHL games, 6 periods of overtime.