January 16, 2013

Juniors Journal: Small town, big names

By Shawn Hutcheon

There are some pockets of cities and towns throughout New England that have produced more than their fair share of hockey talent. Within the state of Massachusetts, Billerica has churned out a number of individuals who have gone far in the game of hockey. 

Michael Jamieson has 23 points through 30 games for the Islanders this season. (Photo: EJHL)

Tom Fitzgerald, who played more than 1,000 NHL games, as well as Bobby Miller (Boston Bruins, Colorado Rockies), Paul Miller (Colorado Rockies), Bobby O’Connor (Winnipeg Jets) and Dean Jenkins (Los Angeles Kings) are among the many that hail from the town who have reached the sport’s highest level. Add in a pair of Olympians (Bobby Miller, Mike Mastrullo) and countless standouts at the minor league and collegiate levels and it just becomes more apparent that Billerica’s a true hockey hotbed.

One junior player who aims to become the town’s latest success story is Michael Jamieson of the Islanders Hockey Club. The 20-year-old forward, who is in his second season in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, recently committed to play for the Northeastern Huskies in the fall of 2013.

Last year, Jamieson was a member of the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs team that won the Dineen Cup as league champions. Islanders head coach Sean Tremblay was at the helm of the Monarchs for that championship run and has seen Jamieson, who followed his coach over to the Islanders for this season, develop into a responsible two-way hockey player.

“Obviously, he (Jamieson) earned this. It’s been a two-year process with me and two years before that at Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass), so he’s certainly put in the time,” Tremblay said.

“This year, since day one, he’s been a true leader on this team,” Tremblay continued. “(He’s) a kid I count on day in and day out to help build a culture here, and his being with me last year has helped me and the organization build that culture so he’s getting what he deserves.”

Jamieson is equally as happy to play for a coach of Tremblay’s stature.

“Playing for coach Tremblay has helped me tremendously,” Jamieson answered when asked about his coach. “He doesn’t play favorites and that has definitely helped me.”
Jamieson spoke with quite a few college coaches before choosing Northeastern, a school he knew would be a perfect fit.

“I chose Northeastern because of its history.” He said, “Obviously, it’s in Hockey East and growing up in the Boston area, it’s definitely a place where you dream to play. It’s also a Beanpot school. I fell in love with the place and I think it was just a no-brainer. I have a lot of family and friends in the area who support me and I was just lucky enough to have things work out.”

Like all young players on the cusp of a college career, Jamieson knows he still has things he needs to improve upon before stepping on campus.

“Obviously, I’m a little guy (5-foot-7) so I need to get stronger and continue to work on my defensive game, which has come along after playing two years of junior. I think I’m relied upon as a defensive guy by coach when he puts me out on the ice in the last minutes of a game.”

The first attribute one notices about Jamieson is his quickness and how he is always one of the fastest skaters on the ice, game in and game out.

Jamieson agrees.

“I like to use my speed and hope to convert that into the college game and make things happen,” he said. “I’m like a Mason Raymond (Vancouver Canucks) type of guy. I like how he plays and have watched him in the playoffs. I like how he uses his speed. You really notice a guy out on the ice no matter what they’re doing because they’re using their speed and it’s a good way to get noticed.”

Jamieson hopes to use that speed to fast track himself into a successful hockey career and add his name to the annals of a small town that’s produced a whole lot of big names.    

Game of the Week

If it seems to be getting a little redundant, please accept my apologies, but when two of the top three teams in New England face off, you want to see every minute of the action. This will be the case when the No. 1 ranked Boston Jr. Bruins travel to Haverhill, Mass. to face off with the No. 3 Valley Jr. Warriors on Sunday for a 1 o’clock meeting. Each club has potent offenses, solid defensemen and some of the best goaltending in the Eastern Junior Hockey League.

This will be the third match between the clubs. Valley won the first game (1-0), with the Jr. Bruins taking the second tilt with a shutout of their own (3-0).

Power Rankings

1) Boston Jr. Bruins (23-6-0-1-0) 
2) Islanders Hockey Club (22-7-0-0-1) 
3) Valley Jr. Warriors (19-13-0-0-0) 
4) Northern Cyclones (19-6-2-2) 
5) South Shore Kings (19-12-0-3-0) 

6) Connecticut Wolfpack (19-6-2-1) 
7) Boston Jr. Rangers (15-5-7-2) 
8) Bay State Breakers (18-14-0-0-2) 
9) Springfield Jr. Pics (17-15-0-0-1) 
10) Walpole Express (18-6-2-0) 

11) Boston Bandits (14-14-0-0-1)
12) New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (13-14-0-0-2) 
13) Portland Jr. Pirates (8-23-0-1-0)
14) Connecticut Oilers (7-18-0-2-1)
15) Laconia Leafs (7-18-4-0)

Shawn Hutcheon can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.