Playing for the Powell River Kings during the B.C. Hockey League Pod season was a blast that gave valuable experience for Curtis Gould.
After only playing three games with his hometown Princeton Posse last season, Gould played 17 for the Kings, scoring a goal against the Surrey Eagles on April 16. Gould experienced different hockey from the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, facing quicker players with more hockey IQ.
“For being a younger kid (playing in his 17-year-old season) I was getting quite a bit of ice time. The coach Brock Sawyer, he was really big in talking to me and being there and helping me settle in. It was good,” says Gould.
A year removed from midget hockey, Gould improved his hockey sense enabling him to see plays and make them quicker. He also improved in other areas.
“My skating improved quite a bit. There was surprisingly a bit more time to skate with the puck,” says the 5-foot-10, 180 pound blueliner, who likes to play a physical style. “When playing in the KIJHL, guys are on you right away sometimes. The way I see the ice, I got a lot better just from playing up there and learning from some of the veteran defencemen. They were really good with helping me settle the play down and see it and after two games, I was seeing it the way they were. It was really good.”
He received positive feedback from the Kings, as the organization felt he had a solid Pod season, playing a strong defensive game becoming more reliable, especially on the penalty kill.
As great as the experience was, Gould wanted to play for the Posse this season, with a focus to develop well enough to return to Junior A hockey next season. Gould has always wanted to play for the Posse. He grew up watching them when 100 Mile House Wranglers coach Dale Hladun coached in Princeton.
“It’s been a big part of me. The organization is kind of what pushed me into wanting to play hockey. Watching it growing up. I’ve been around the organization a lot, back when Duner was coaching,” says Gould. “He did a lot with minor hockey. Getting the guys out, doing that. We still do that, helping with the practices.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play in front of the crowd, being I know what it’s like to be in the crowd and watching (in the Princeton & District Arena),” he says. “How much support we gave. How much they do give now. It’s really nice and I wanted to be a part of it.
Pulling the Posse jersey over his head every time they play means a lot to him. It’s representing Princeton and the team for everyone.
He also came back because of the coaching staff with Mark Readman and assistant coach Dakota Mason, with Mark McNaughton as General Manager.
“I like their coaching styles. I knew they would push me really hard to be the best I can,” he says. “That’s a big thing for me. I know they can push me to the top of my game, get me to where I want to go.”
Gould is steady in his zone, however, he’s showing an offensive side with four points in eight games.
“I know I can do it, I’m starting to get out of my comfort zone,” he says.
Despite a slow start with one win in eight games, Gould isn’t doubting anything as guys are working to settle in. He sees a solid team not getting bounces and knows what they can accomplish because of the heart within the group. He wants to help lead the Posse to playoff success.