A Look At: Vipers’ Left-Winger Nathan Savage – by C. Scott Holland

One of the GOJHL’s most versatile players is LaSalle Vipers’ left-winger Nathan Savage. A fifth-year player with the Vipers, the 6′ tall, hometown boy has shown how prolific he is during his four seasons with the West Conference club.

While he is currently attending the University of Windsor, the 19 year-old has put up some pretty good numbers. This season he has notched 10 goals and tacked on 15 helpers while taking 32 penalty minutes and firing a pair of powerplay and game-winning tallies. Also he has added one shorthanded effort. He sits among the active West Conference leaders with 166 games played, 110 career points, 13 powerplay markers and 12 game-winners.

When he’s not attending school or honing his hockey skills, he likes “hanging out with friends and watching Netflix.” Yet he knows that combining both school and hockey into his life translates to “arranging school around practices and game days.”

Technically, the 175 pound forward is in his fifth season with the Vipers although Nathan only played two games for LaSalle in 2011/12.

The Vipers’ vet says that Evegeni Malkin is his NHL role model and while his play may not totally reflect Malkin’s accomplishments, it does exhibit the grittiness and all-around ability of a hard-working NHLer.

Playing in the West Conference’s and GOJHL’s different arenas hasn’t affected his game much, but he does state, “Sarnia is my favourite rink in which to play because the fans make it fun.”

While those large crowds from Sarnia’s Brock St. Arena may spur him on at that particular rink, Strathroy’s West Middlesex Memorial Centre is the one rink which he detests because “it’s too small.”

The biggest highlight of his junior B career is “playing in the Sutherland Cup finals last season.” However, he says, “I’m enjoying playing with my guys this season – players like Blake Jones and Liam MacDougall.”

While he’s playing and having fun, he cites “his leadership and willingness to go to the hard areas” of the game as his assets, but also realizes that if he is to make his “dream of playing in the NHL” a reality, he needs to “improve my skating; I need to become a bit faster.”

While he currently believes he can obtain that lofty NHL goal, in all honesty, he is one player who hasn’t put all his eggs into one basket. Nathan knows that 10 years from now if he isn’t playing in the NHL he’ll be “working for my dad and giving back to the community by coaching minor hockey.”

Making those type of plans is definitely a necessity for any GOJHL player and no matter how far down the road of life Nathan travels, his teammates and the GOJHL will know that he will succeed through sheer diligence.

(photo credit – Tyler Brownbridge – The Windsor Star via The Vancouver Sun)

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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