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Wednesday, 14 November 2012 15:14

First-rounder Gawdin leads B.C. to U16 gold

Written by  Brad Brown
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Swift Current Broncos fans know him as the fifth overall pick in this summer’s Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. In B.C., at least for the time being, he’s the Gawd-father of under-16 hockey.

Glenn Gawdin capped an eventful half-year earlier this month when he helped Team B.C. to the gold medal at the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup with a 9-3 win over Alberta in the championship game.
“I didn’t make certain expectations for myself for that tournament,” said Gawdin. “I just took the role they gave me and tried to build off of that.
“Coach told us he wanted our line to generate most of offence and be the go-to line, so that’s what we tried to do.”
Gawdin finished the tournament with three goals and four assists, including one goal and two helpers in the gold medal game — his first major hockey championship.
“From what I’ve seen of Glenn when he can play at his best, he was meeting expectations at that tournament,” said Team B.C. head coach Ryan Weber, who also coached Gawdin’s bantam team in 2011-12.
“The biggest thing is he’s just starting to realize how dominant he can be when he plays against other players at an elite level.”
Maybe no coincidence then Gawdin has a goal and three assists in his two B.C. Major Midget League games since returning from the U16 Challenge.
One of four 15-year-old skaters on the Greater Vancouver Canadians, Gawdin is second in team scoring with 12 points in 12 games.
His bigger contribution though may be that, now, he knows how to win.
“It’s quite important because they kind of know how to do it,” Gawdin said of players with winning pedigrees. “They’ve been there before so they know what it takes and can set an example for others.”
The past six months have been a bit of a whirlwind for Gawdin, who was drafted by the Broncos in June, signed his WHL contract later that month and was chosen in July to play in the All-Canadians Mentorship Cup.
It was the culmination of a five-day camp in Toronto and pitted 42 of the top bantam-aged players in the country against each other.
There, Gawdin played on a team coached by Edmonton Oilers’ forward Taylor Hall, scoring once in a 9-8 shootout loss to a team coached by John Tavares of the New York Islanders.
Weber says it all boils down to work ethic.
“He takes public transit to get to dry-land training … he arrives early to get ready for practice, and he just loves all aspects of hockey.
“He definitely treats it like it’s a job, and definitely has a very serious approach to that extent. He’s very mature.”
Mature enough that the Canadians might already want to start planning for life without him.
Gawdin says he’s preparing to be a WHL regular as a 16-year-old next season and, if history is any indication, should get plenty of opportunity to do so.
Players to claim a regular lineup spot at 16 under Broncos head coach Mark Lamb have included Adam Lowry, Reece Scarlett, Dillon Heatherington and Brycen Martin.
“Glenn has a very high hockey IQ and knowledge of the game,” said Weber. “He understands how it’s played and when he has to step up and play his best. He gets the dynamics of the game. He’s obviously a big body and uses that to his advantage, he shoots the puck really hard and he’s really the complete package as far as the kind of player you’re looking for at the next level.”

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