Jordan Loewen was playing rec hockey until high school hockey came to Linden Christian School this season, just in time for his Grade 12 year.
Loewen, 18, was making it count on Sunday as he was one of five Linden Christian Wings to represent the school in its first-ever appearance at the Winnipeg High School Hockey League's all-star day at the MTS Iceplex. Loewen was named Team Black's player of the game in the Coca-Cola division with two goals and an assist.
"I had just been playing rec hockey the year before, because minor hockey was getting a little (too much)," said Loewen, whose dad Lyle is the Wings' head coach.
"Playing hockey for my school gave me the chance to be able to play competitively again and with friends. With the community that I'm already immersed in, it totally changed my hockey experience for the better."
If the WHSHL was looking for a mission statement, Loewen just saved them a search. And his Team Black didn't even win the the game.
Team Gold came back from a 4-2 second-period deficit to win 8-6. Team Gold was led by Linden Christian players Mark MacKinnon (one goal, one assist), Brett Sirant (one goal, one assist) and Brett Johnson (one assist). In addition to Loewen's scoring, Team Black also got a goal and an assist from Linden Christian's Matt Mantler.
"Our school handed out a survey (last year) at both the high school level and the younger ages to see if there was enough interest for a hockey team, but also to make sure it was something we could sustain," said Brett Sirant, a Grade 12 student, whose dad, Mike Sirant, coaches the University of Manitoba Bisons men's hockey team.
"It's been so much fun to play with your classmates and just share the experience with the entire school," Brett said.
MacKinnon, also a Grade 12 Linden Christian student, scored to tie the game 4-4 midway through the third period for Team Gold, who never trailed again.
"The whole school has just taken off with it. We have (fellow student) Declan Schroeder who writes articles about our games on Facebook and James Doerksen shoots video for us, so we have highlights (on YouTube)," MacKinnon said.
The WHSHL has 33 teams divided into three divisions based on school size and team strength.
Linden Christian is third in the Coca-Cola division with a record of 11-3, but leads the division in goals, scoring an average of 6.8 per game.
Stars were shining
Winnipeg High School Hockey League all-star day at the MTS Iceplex:
Gold 8 Black 6
Players of the game: Justin Pokrant, Murdoch Mackay Clansmen-Gold; Jordan Loewen, Linden Christian Wings-Black
Winnipeg Free Press division
Black 9 Gold 6
Players of the game: Tanner Pouteau, Sanford Sabres-Black; Kris Sigurdson, Miles Macdonell Buckeyes-Gold
Platinum Promotions division
Gold 3 Black 2
Players of the game: Tyler Dodd, Oak Park Raiders-Gold; Kayden Jarvis, St. Paul's Crusaders-Black