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From California Dreamin to the Heritage City — Anderson Violette backstops Leafs resurgence

Leaf backstop Anderson Violette is quick to thank former NHL goalie Dwayne Roloson for restoring his confidence following a serious injury. — Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily

By Emanuel Sequeira, KIJHL Communications Manager

After a less than impressive start to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season, Nelson Leafs have caught fire in October thanks to netminder Anderson Violette.

Violette came to the Green and White via a trade with Sannich Braves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

Why the Leafs a thankful they've found a quality goalie to backstop the team, Violette says he owes a lot of his success to retired National Hockey League goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

The Calgary product met Roloson, when Violette was a member of the Anaheim junior Ducks Bantam AAA team in the 2015-16 season.

“Working with him is unbelievable,” said Violette, who also played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U16 team in 2018. “Last year I had a pretty bad injury. He woke up at 7 a.m., we woke up and skated together for two months straight, he has been really crucial in the development of where I am today.”

Roloson, who won 227 career NHL games, along with 28 playoff games which included a run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals with Edmonton, helped Violette improve his skating and worked on his stance. There was a lot of focus on Violette’s skating.

“He has been my personal goalie coach for four or five years now,” said Violette, who moved to California and played there for three years, returned to Calgary for a year and returned to California for another year. “He saw me and saw something he liked. And then he wanted to work with me.”

Violette’s family moved to California as his father worked doing investing in corporate debt, which involves bringing businesses back that go under.

Since joining the Leafs in a trade on September 27th Violette, 18, is 6-0. Violette asked the Braves for a trade to be closer to his family in Calgary. 

The six-foot-two, 180-pound netminder has a 1.66 goals against average and .930 save percentage. Violette likes his start and says the Leafs are playing good and have been excellent in front of him.

“It has been a pretty easy transition coming into a new team when they are that good in front of you,” he says.

Adding to the success is the coaching staff, how the organization is run, ice time they get and community support.

He has helped turn the Leafs’ season around as they were winless in their opening six games, that included three overtime losses. 

Violette enjoyed his rookie season in the VIJHL last year, but loves playing in front of more fans.

“In Nelson we get 600 fans a game,” said Violette “In the Island league, because there is the WHL and BCHL, you have all these teams, it’s kind of hard to compete for fans. It’s a great time.” 

Violette has goals he wants to accomplish this season. He wants to lead the Leafs to a Cyclone Taylor Cup championship and believes they can do it.

“Every person here is working very hard. We are all doing the same stuff. We are truly a team here,” he says. “We are finding that bond. I think that is something special that you don’t get often. I think we are going to go pretty far in the playoffs.”

Personally, he wants to be the top goalie in the KIJHL. Violette has a bit of work to do, as after six games he sits third overall in KIJHL goalie standings.

LEAF NOTES: Anderson Violette faces his toughest challenge of the season Friday when Nelson travels to Fruitvale to meet Murdoch leading Beaver Valley Nitehawks. It's the first meaningful game between to the two rivals since the Hawks knocked Nelson out of the playoffs in six games during the division final. Beaver Valley leads the Murodch Division with a 9-1-1-0-2 record, two points ahead of Nelson. Both teams have played 13 games. . . . Saturday, the Leafs host 100 Mile House Wranglers at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena. The Wranglers are fourth in the KIJHL Doug Birks Division with a 5-7 record.