Adversity — nothing that Nelson Leaf center Linden Horswill can't handle
Throughout the KIJHL season The Nelson Daily Sports Editor Bruce Fuhr will take a capsule look at the players on the Nelson Leafs hockey club. Today the focus in on Nelson native Linden Horswill. The Nelson Minor Hockey grad had to leave town before getting a chance to once again play before the home crowd at the NDCC Arena.
Adversity affects people in different ways.
For Linden Horswill, having the door slammed in his face by the Kootenay Ice Major Midget program simply opened another at the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
A door the Nelson native felt made him a better player and provided the skills to face the rigors of junior hockey.
“(Getting cut) was disappointed, for sure,” Horswill said when asked about that painful day a few years ago.
“But I feel now going to OHA made me a better player.”
“(OHA) has some really good coaches who helped my skating and had me in the gym, which really made a difference,” added the 17-year-old Leaf center.
Linden Horswill got his start in hockey at a young age — four years old to be exact.
The early start allowed Horswill to proceed to the head of the class as a star on most of Nelson rep teams during his minor hockey career.
That, however, all changed with the decision by coaches not to select Horswill during Major Midget tryouts.
The stress level only climbed when Horswill was forced to trek to Penticton, home of the OHA, and play away from the friendly confines of the NDCC Arena.
However, last season, as member of the OHA Major Midget Quad team, Horswill got the call to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League from then coach and GM of the Leafs, Chris Shaw.
The Leaf skipper wanted to use Horswill as an affiliate player for a few games.
Horswill did not disappoint as he wowed the crowd with his hustle and skating.
“It was definitely exciting playing again in front of the home crowd,” explained Horswill, with five goals and seven assists in 23 games with Nelson this season.
“I was pumped for the game but I was also relaxed because I got to play in Beaver Valley the night before so that really helped.”
Horswill has been one of the more consistent players on the Leafs this season.
However, while he’s been one of the few Leafs to show up every game with his tenacious play, the 5’11”, 165-pounder has struggled around the net.
That was, of course, until the winless Grand Forks Border Bruins came to town last week to face a Nelson team searching to snap out of a cold streak of their own.
And boy did the Leaf players, including Horswill; get a feel-good game pounding the Bruins 14-0.
Horswill finished the game with three goals and an assist for a four-point night.
The game was only the third multiple point game for Horswill this season with two of those games coming against the Border Bruins.
“Playing Grand Forks was a good way for us to get our confidence back,” said Horswill, on a line with two other Nelson Minor Hockey grads, Carsen Willans and Dallon Stoddart.
The trio combined to finish the game with 12 points.
“We’ve got Penticton (Lakers Saturday), a team we shut out last time so hopefully we can make it two in a row.”
Horswill is optimistic a good season in Nelson will parlay into a spot in the B.C. Hockey League.
At least that’s the goal the Westside Warrior affiliate has set for himself.
And if all the planets align in the near future, Horswill hopes to land a college scholarship somewhere to continue playing the only sport he really loves.
Well then there’s that adversity raising its ugly head again.
But we all know adversity won’t stand in the way of this young man.
Adversity, that’s something Linden Horswill knows how to tackle head on.
Linden Horswill Fast Facts:
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 165 pounds
Pre-game meal: whatever mother cooks
Favourite music: country
Favourite hockey player: Jarome Iginla and Martin St. Louis
Favourite NHL team: Edmonton Oilers — likes Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle & Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Hobbies other than hockey: video games and, sorry, hockey
Blackberry or iPhone: Blackberry
Future goals: get a college scholarship