When the Stettler Lightning score, chances are the team’s Captain, Dylan Houston, had a hand in the point.
The team leader is also the team’s top scorer, and when he’s not the one firing the puck past the opponent’s netminder, he’s often the assist.
Houston’s drive, leadership and scoring power caught the eyes of the Heritage Junior Hockey League, of which the Stettler Lightning are members, resulting in the player being named player of the week for Dec. 12-18.
Houston is the first of the Bolts to get the nod so far this season.
With five goals and four assists during the week, and 20 points in the team’s past six games, the acknowledgement for Houston was long overdue.
The 20-year-old, who is Stettler born-and-raised, had two back-to-back one-goal, one-assist games against Red Deer last week, and nabbed three goals and two assists in Three Hills.
“It’s a good honour to have,” Houston said. “Me and my linemate Matt Sylvester have been having a really good season.”
Sylvester trails Houston in the standings, but is the team’s second-highest scorer.
Houston securely holds fifth place in the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s scoring with 55 points, and also ranks third in assists. He is tied for sixth in goals.
As Captain of the team – this is his first full season as the team’s leader – Houston said his job is to be a leader to the team both on and off the ice. Netting an honour like Player of the Week doesn’t hurt his duties any, he said.
“Maybe some of the younger players respect me more,” he said with a chuckle.
Head Coach Gavin Brandl said he was glad to see Houston receive the recognition from the league.
“He’s responded really well to the leadership responsibilities we’ve given him this year,” he said. “We can see he craves the responsibility, and we knew he was ready for it.”
Brandl said that Houston is shining as a leader, and the team is following suit.
Team General Manager and President Doug Smith said he’s not surprised that Houston got the nod from the league.
“This isn’t his first time being named Player of the Week,” he said, noting that Houston made the roll last year. “He’s definitely our team leader right now, and it’s nice to see the league give him some recognition.”
Smith said he thought one of the reasons why the team hasn’t had much recognition thus far this season is due to inconsistency in play, a problem he said he doesn’t believe will affect them much in the second half of the season.
“We’re really coming together,” he said. “We’re seeing some nice, solid hockey now.”