John MacNeil/Independent editor
Big Valley defenceman Logan Hermus likes the way Chris Pronger plays hockey. For that reason, Hermus picks Pronger as his favourite NHL player.
“He’s got all the components and he’s a mean guy,” Hermus said. “They want mean defencemen, so I’ve got to start eating nails for breakfast, I think.”
Soon after breakfast today, Hermus heads to Moose Jaw, Sask., to attend his first Western Hockey League training camp.
The Moose Jaw Warriors selected the 15-year-old prospect in the fourth round of the WHL bantam draft in May, with the 80th pick overall. Last season, he played with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels White team, along with longtime Big Valley buddy Ty Mappin, whom the Everett Silvertips drafted seventh overall.
“I kind of adapt to whatever role I need to fit in,” said the rugged Hermus, almost six feet and about 175 pounds. “This (past) year, I’ve played more of a defensive, shutdown role. And then, on the power play, me and Ty Mappin were the power-play guys on the team. I like to contribute offensively, usually setting up plays, but a lot of the time, my favourite thing to do is to shut down the top-line forwards, and I think I do a pretty good job of that.”
Hermus was the third leading scorer on his bantam AAA team, with 35 points — including 27 assists — in 33 games. He ranked third among all defencemen in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League.
Hermus is a big fan of the Colorado Avalanche and the team’s retired captain, Joe Sakic.
“I was born around the time they were winning (Stanley) Cups,” he said.
“Joe Sakic is a huge role model for me in how much of a leader he is. I like to be a leader, with the Alberta Cup and stuff like that, and meet new guys.”
“With Hockey Alberta (tryout camps), it usually comes down to short-term competition. I really like to help bring the guys together and be a voice for the team. If I break that awkward kind of ice and help out that way and get guys motivated, all the better.”
Hermus was among Alberta’s top 80 bantams at the provincial evaluation camp in Camrose in July, but he wasn’t one of the 34 players shortlisted for the under-16 team that will represent the province at the Western Canada Challenge Cup this October in Moose Jaw.
“I thought I had a really good camp,” he said. “I started off a little slow, but my games were good. I thought I battled really hard. I was a little disappointed I didn’t make the (core) team. I thought I deserved to be on that short list and work from there, but it’s what happens and you’ve just got to keep working for it. I thought I did a lot of good things, but sometimes the cards don’t go your way. But it gives you motivation to keep going.”
Hermus kept going with a busy summer of training off the ice and occasional on-ice workouts in Red Deer.
“August has been really intense, doing a lot of cardio and footwork, lots of working out and running,” he said. “Quite a bit in July as well.”
Hermus even carried his training routine into a family camping trip last week, running through campgrounds.
Early this week, he was an instructor in Stettler at the East Central Hockey School, where his 12-year-old brother Brock is one of the participants.
His mother and grandfather are accompanying Hermus on his training camp trip to Moose Jaw, where the Warriors are stepping into their new rink, Mosaic Place. Registration is tonight and the camp kicks off Thursday with fitness testing and on-ice sessions.
“It’s a tough camp, but it should be fun,” Hermus said. “It’s a good experience. I’m a little anxious, but I’m real excited for the opportunity to skate with the big boys and play that kind of high calibre.”
Hermus was introduced to the Warriors during their June prospects camp.
“That was a good opportunity to meet all the guys in the organization,” he said. “It’s a really good organization. All they want you to do is work and that’s as much as they can expect from you. Do your job and wake up in the morning and keep putting in a good effort. That’s just what I’ve got to do.”
Hermus and his 1996-born draft peers aren’t eligible to play in the WHL on a full-time basis this season, so after about a week in Moose Jaw, his focus will turn to midget AAA tryouts with the Red Deer Optimist Rebels. That training camp begins Sept. 3.
“There’s a lot of older kids and not very often 15-year-olds make it, but that’s what I’m preparing for next,” Hermus said of his shot with the midget AAA Rebels.
“I think minor midget would be a fun year, playing with a bunch of guys I know, but I wouldn’t quite develop as much as I would like.”
Regardless of whether he plays midget AAA or minor midget, Hermus will be with a Red Deer based team again this season, though he’ll attend school in Stettler. He’s going into Grade 10 at William E. Hay Composite High School.