A Look At: St. Thomas Stars’ Cal Horvat – by C. Scott Holland

Living up to the expectations of being a good hockey player is what has driven St. Thomas Stars’ 17 year-old forward Cal Horvat this season.

The 6 foot tall Rodney, Ont. native is following in the footsteps of his brother, NHLer Bo Horvat, and is contributing during the first half of his rookie season with the Stars. Thus far, he’s played in 27 games and posted 6 goals along with 11 assists and 13 penalty minutes.

HIs hockey career has taken him from playing with the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs (midgets) to the Port Stanley Jr. C Sailors last season.

He admits the adjustment to Jr. B hockey has been relatively easy, “I had played for coaches Adam (Nemeth) and Darren (Kelly) earlier and this season we have an awesome group of guys. We work well together.”

He’s honed his hockey skills by practicing throughout the summer with his brothers and said, “My brother (Bo) is good at faceoffs and we practice in the driveway. Faceoffs are such an important factor in games.”

After having played AAA hockey he noted the difference of Jr. B, “It’s a faster game, more aggressive, smarter players all around.”

Another facet he’s seen is the size of the various Jr. B rinks. The smaller “tighter rinks” he said suits his style of play better, but he realizes that every player has to come totally prepared for each game. “We can’t take any team in our (West) conference lightly. We just have to go out and earn every win we can.”

Last season, while playing with the Sailors, he got a taste of what life was like with the Stars since he was called up for Monday practices. “It helped out greatly and made my transition easier.”

As for developing and improving his own game, he said, “I feel I’m a good two-way player. I can put up the odd point and take faceoffs. I have to try to get the puck deep (into the opposing zone) and pressure the opposition.”

His brother Bo will be in Detroit with the Vancouver Canucks for an NHL game on Dec. 18th, but Cal won’t have a chance to watch him. Instead, he’ll be with the Stars as they face the Leamington Flyers in the team’s annual Fill The Rink game. “It’ll be amazing playing in front of 1,500 fans,” he exclaimed. “The fans will be more up for the game and so will my teammates and myself. The large number of fans will help pump us up.”

He was drafted by the London Knights (15th round) in the 2014 Priority Draft and knows that eventually he will move on either in hockey or scholastically. But which path will he follow? “I have no preference,” he said, “OHL or NCAA. I just love the game of hockey and it doesn’t matter which way I head.”

With an attitude like that Cal is definitely going to be successful no matter where he goes.

(photo credit – Collen Wiendels Photography – Strathroy Rockets Facebook)

C.C. Scott Holland is an accomplished author, a former Western Jr. B Hockey League statistician and is recognized as the West Conference’s and GOJHL’s historian. A lifelong resident of Leamington Scott was a journalist for the now defunct Leamington Post for 26 years and currently writes for the Southpoint Sun. Among the books he has authored are: 75 Years: A History of the Leamington and Erie Shores Golf Course; A Century In The Making – History of Heinz Canada 1909-2009; Leamington Flyers 1992/93-2011/12 Platinum Anniversary Special Program; the Western Jr. B Record Book 2003/04 and 2005/05 editions; as well as updates of both the West Conference and GOJHL Record Books. He was been a member of he Leamington Jr. Flyers hockey club for the last 27 years and served many years as a board member, statistician, press box announcer, and scorekeeper among other duties. He has been named the West Conference Volunteer of Year and a Windsor-Essex Sportsperson of Year award. He resides in Leamington with his wife Susan. He can be reached at: cttocsh1@yahoo.ca

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