Captain calms the Thunder


Captain calms the Thunder

Fundy defenceman Archibald shows leadership on and off the ice

Fundy captain Jake Archibald was a steadying influence this season as the Thunder went all the way to the Nova Scotia U16 AAA Hockey League final.

Jake Archibald made a statement as a relatively quiet but effective leader this season with the Fundy Thunder.

Archibald captained the Truro-based Thunder to the Nova Scotia U16 AAA Hockey League final, in which they lost 2-1 in overtime to the Basin Armada at Bedford. He scored Fundy’s lone goal in the championship game.

“I’m not the most vocal, so I try to lead by example both in the dressing room and on the ice,” said Archibald, a Valley resident. “I’d be respectful to the coaches and the owners and the rink staff.

“I tried to model my leadership after guys like (Alex) Ovechkin and (Sidney)

Crosby who lead by example.”

It was Archibald’s second season with the Thunder and his first year wearing a letter in minor hockey.

“Sometimes, it was a lot (to handle),” he said. “But I tried to look at what other captains I’ve had throughout the years did and what some of the older guys that I know would have done. Just stay calm and try to lead by example.”

Archibald’s leadership was apparent on and off the ice. The provincial league named him as a second-team all-star on defence.

“Jake had a good season,” said teammate Tyler Totten, the league’s top forward and top scorer and a first-team allstar. “He played a good role. He’s a very defensive defenceman. He helped the team out a lot in that department.

“He showed good leadership and did the things a captain should really well, leading by example and all that.”

Archibald was a mainstay on the Fundy blue-line as the Thunder posted a 23-8-1 record in the regular season and went 5-3 in the playoffs, including a 3-2 slate in the provincial championship tournament.

“I would say I try to be as consistent as possible,” he said. “Just be solid and reliable. Help out my teammates on the defensive end.”

Archibald, a Grade 11 student at Cobequid Educational Centre, had five goals and seven points in 32 regularseason games. He has one more year of U18 major eligibility, but isn’t certain about his plans for next season.

He opted not to attend this spring’s identification camp for the New Glasgow-based Weeks U18 Majors.

“The last two years, I was cut from that team, so I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to go again,” he said. “And it’s very expensive to go to those camps. It’s a lot of money and commitment.”

Archibald has even bigger goals for the coming season, hoping to land another tryout with his hometown junior A team, the Truro Bearcats. He was invited to the Maritime Hockey League club’s training camp last summer.

“It’s a lot faster and more physical and more skilled,” he said of the junior A level. “It’s a big jump.”

This season, he was encouraged to see multiple local players break in with the Bearcats as they went all the way to the MHL final before falling to the Summerside Western Capitals. The youngest of those Bearcats was 16-year-old defenceman Simon Mullen, who played major bantam with Archibald two years ago.

Archibald, who turned 17 in February, is about six feet and 160 pounds.

When training this offseason, he intends to focus on gaining weight.

“This summer, I’ll probably do a lot of eating to bulk up,” Archibald said. “Just eating more consistently. Maybe come up with a meal plan and try to eat foods that are going to help my body gain muscle.”

For the second straight summer, he’ll work at an ice cream factory. And he keeps active playing in the Nova Scotia Soccer League with the CC Riders. The U18 AA soccer team includes two of his Fundy hockey teammates, Alex Field and Ryan Tam.

“It’s competitive, but I don’t really take it that seriously,” Archibald said. “It’s kind of just for fun. It’s a good way to stay in shape, keep my cardio up and play with my friends still. I enjoy it.

“That’s my main other sport. I was going to do track and field this season, but I was really busy with hockey. It lined up around playoffs (for the Thunder).”

Fundy found its stride in the post-season and came within a whisker of winning the provincial U16 AAA championship.

“It was a very good year,” Archibald said. “At the start of the season, we had a goal of doing well. It would have been nice to win it. I think we definitely had the team to be able to win it. It’s unfortunate how the (final) game went.”

As an NHL fan, Archibald cheers for the Edmonton Oilers, mainly because he lived in the Alberta capital for a few years as a child. He likes Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar.

“Nurse is a very good player,” he said. “Makar is always exciting to watch. He’s electric out there. He’s amazing.

“I also like watching (Minnesota Wild forward Kirill) Kaprizov. He’s very good. He’s very exciting.”