Airdronian helping new team gear up for deep playoff run
Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 05:28 pm
It has been a year of movement for 19-year-old netminder Kurtis Chapman, but since landing in Portage la Prairie, Man., the Airdronian has found a fit and is gearing up for a playoff run with the Portage Terriers.
As a member of the Terriers, Chapman has become a serviceable backup playing in 11 games and posting a 7-4 record and helping his team clinch a berth into the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) postseason with nine games remaining in the regular season.
“(Heading into the playoffs) is going to be fun,” Chapman said. “We have a good bunch of guys that can go on a run.
“I just need to keep bringing my positive attitude and when I play have the guys’ backs and do everything in my power to give the team the opportunity to win.”
Coming out of the 2015-16 season, Chapman had concluded his first season of junior hockey in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Olds Grizzlys.
As a rookie, Chapman led the team in games appeared in (34), wins (11) and shutouts (1) and helped the Grizzlys to a playoff berth.
During the offseason, the 19-year-old had his rights dealt to the Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he appeared in two games and posted a 1-0-1 record before being traded once again on Oct. 18 to the Terriers for future considerations.
“(The trade from Olds) caught me off guard. I wasn’t really expecting it. I loved it in Olds,” Chapman said.
“I’m also grateful for the experience that was given to me in Estevan and I wanted to take all the positives I could out of it and bring it to Portage.”
Moving across the prairies has been a challenge for the journeyman goaltender who also got another shot at the Western Hockey League this season, appearing in a pair of games with the league-leading Regina Pats.
“(Getting to play up with the Pats) was amazing,” Chapman said. “I was really happy they have given me the opportunities that they have.”
Although he has taken on more of a backup role since becoming a member of the Terriers, Chapman’s positive attitude has remained strong for his team, helping out any way he can as the team looks for a third-straight league championship.
“Every chance I get to go in, I try to make the best of it and do the best I can,” Chapman said. “You can’t control where you go or if you get traded. The only thing you can control is your attitude.”
By making his way to Portage, the netminder joins a program with high expectations year in and year out and has seen huge amount of success over the past decade and a half.
In the past 13 seasons, the Terriers have won the Turnbull Cup (MJHL Championship) seven times, the Anavet Cup (Saskatchewan and Manitoban Championship) twice and the RBC Cup (Canadian Junior Championship) once.
Being a member of a historic team like the Terriers has not gone unnoticed by the netminder as he knows he has a reputation to uphold that has been built up by the Terriers since the turn of the century.
“When I was told I was traded to Portage, I was pretty excited knowing that they’re a good team,” Chapman said. “(The team’s history) pushes me to be as good as I can be and to reach the goals that previous players have gotten to (while with the Terriers).”