Draft Diaries: Logan Stankoven (February 2021)

Jeff Rea

2021-02-26

Feature image courtesy of Andrew Armstrong

 

Draft Diaries: Logan Stankoven is going to be an ongoing series in which writer Jeff Rea and Kamloops Blazers forward Logan Stankoven will be collaborating to document Logan’s season. Logan will be providing commentary and quotes, telling the story from his perspective while Jeff helps weave the story together and provide the context.

We kicked the series off in September with a look back at the year that was for Logan in the WHL with the Blazers. In October,  Jeff and Logan talk about his off-season training in one of the weirdest years any of us have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, Logan takes us into his mindset and what the WHL return announcement meant for him. How close was he to heading to the USHL? What has he done to keep his mind right? Find out all that and more in this month’s Draft Diaries.

 

A Positive Mindset

I feel like I’ve definitely taken advantage of the longer offseason.

 

It’s been pretty disappointing and frustrating for us, to not be playing. But it’s something that’s out of our control. I’ve tried to look at this prolonged offseason as a time to really improve and develop my skills, instead of just sitting around and waiting. 

 

Ever since our season was canceled last March, I’ve used the time to sit down with myself and find things in my game that could use some work. I’ve been doing my very best to stay sharp both in the gym and on the ice. During the week, I’ve kept busy by being on the ice five times and I’ve been in the gym almost every day, as well. My speed and lower body strength have been my main focus. I can say that I’ve made lots of progress in those areas.

 

Photo Courtesy of Kamloops This Week

 

I’ve spoken with lots of other draft-eligible players and we’re all in the same boat when it comes to the Draft. All of us players just want to be together again and to get back to playing games. If the draft does potentially get moved back, that doesn’t change my mindset whatsoever. Every day I want to improve my game and learn new things. When Draft Day comes I want to be in the best shape I can possibly be.

 

I’ve done my best to stay optimistic throughout these uncertain times. I feel like I’ve found some things in my game that I’ve been able to really improve on and I’m looking forward to showcasing some of my new and improved skills once the season starts.

 

 

The Green Light

Before the WHL came out with a statement guaranteeing us a 24-game season, I was very interested in going down to the USHL. The Fargo Force out of North Dakota had reached out to me and were pretty keen on having me join their team. I was looking forward to playing some games again and I think that the experiences I would’ve had playing for Fargo, in a whole different league with new teammates and coaches, would’ve been fun. At the same time though, playing with the Blazers was and will always be my first option. When the league made that statement, I was excited and looking forward to getting things going again here in Kamloops, too.

 

 

I had just gotten off the ice with some other local WHL players, some of whom are my closest friends. All of us were pretty thrilled when we heard the news because it gave us something to look forward to and kept us motivated. Although there wasn’t an exact date given for when the season would start, it sounded promising. For most of us, we haven’t played a real game since early March 2020.

 

As of right now, there are no plans set in stone on when or where the games will be played in BC. With start dates set for the other three divisions in the WHL however, it’s encouraging for the league. I’m hoping the BC division will be next to jump on board.

 

I’m definitely looking forward to playing against all of the other BC division teams. The rivalries that have been created over the years, especially Kamloops versus Kelowna, always make things exciting. To have many more games against Kelowna in the near future is something I look forward to. Also, I think that playing against BC Division teams can only give us an advantage in the future, in terms of knowing their style of play. We’ll surely know what to expect.

 

Goal Setting

The Blazers have encouraged us to stay focused and in a mindset that has us game-ready when the season starts. Every Monday since the summertime we usually do team Zoom calls to keep us connected with each other and to see what each player is doing to keep active. 

 

Photo courtesy of CFJC Today

 

When it comes to this team and our goals I think the sky’s the limit. We’ve spoken a lot as a group and we feel that last season we were just getting started. We want to take that momentum and keep rolling into this season. Even though there may not be playoffs, we want to establish ourselves as one of the toughest teams to play against. I truly think that a WHL championship in the coming years is a realistic goal to have set. 

 

In terms of setting goals for myself, I’ve definitely had lots of time to think about it. Personally, I want to take a big step when it comes to production and ice time. I feel like last season our team was really deep and it was tough to come in as a younger guy and expect a lot. I did my best to try and work my way up the lineup. 

 

This season, as a returning guy, I want to play a bigger role in special teams and prove to the coaching staff that they can trust me in high-pressure situations. I’d also like to have more of a leadership role and make sure that the younger guys coming into the league feel a part of the team and feel welcome. Since I was a rookie last season this is especially important to me.

 

 

I’ve heard that the U18 World Championships are being held in Texas, between two host cities, but I haven’t heard anything with regard to Hockey Canada yet and what they have planned for the tournament. Obviously being a part of that tournament would be pretty special and it would be an opportunity of a lifetime. Keeping that in the back of my mind is important for me. 

 

Draft Rankings

When it comes to my draft stock, I’m never satisfied. Making sure that I’m continually working and putting in extra time to get better is what I pride myself on. I know that any other kid my age would love to be in a position to be drafted into the NHL so I don’t take the opportunity for granted. I want to rise in the rankings once the season starts. I want to be ready right from the first puck drop.

 

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The Draft Diaires series is going to keep up with Logan right up to the Draft so be sure to check back for the next edition! You can follow Jeff Rea on Twitter at @JeffReaScouting!

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