Former Raider Jeremy Price stars for Colgate
By Chris Messina
Photo by Bob Cornell
Jeremy Price had a very successful 2008-09 season playing for the Nepean Raiders in the Central Canada Hockey League. The native of Burlington, Ontario was part of a Raiders team that fell two wins short of a CCHL championship, he also won Bronze at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge representing Team Canada East, and was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the fourth round of the National Hockey League’s Entry draft the following summer. It was a pretty successful final year of junior before heading off to Colgate University to play Division-l in the NCAA's ECAC conference.
Price went to Nepean after playing two seasons in the Ontario Junior Hockey League as a member of the Milton Icehawks. The blueliner was seen at a prospects tournament in Toronto by then head coach of the Nepean Raiders Gary Galley. The former NHLer liked what he saw and recruited Price to play for him in Nepean the following year. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more, it was the best year of my hockey career thus far,” says Price. “I couldn’t say enough about the coaching that I got from Gary Galley that year. I went into that season with no expectations, just trying to get a new fit and everything kind of happened to me that year. I just thought he was an awesome coach, he instilled a lot of confidence in me and just gave me room to play my game and that is where things took off.”
Price billeted with teammate Ben Sexton, who is now a rival of his in the ECAC as a member of the Clarkson Golden Knights. However, not all of Price’s highlights that year happened in a Raiders uniform, as he had the opportunity to represent his part of the country, as a member of Team Canada East at World Junior ‘A’ Challenge. The tournament was held in Camrose, Alberta and he was able to return to Nepean with a Bronze medal.
“It was an unbelievable time, to get a group of guys together that didn’t really know each other for 10 – 15 days and basically live together and all you’re focusing on is hockey. It was pretty amazing time,” recalls Price. “You’re almost treated like pros. I remember walking in the locker room and you just have Team Canada jersey’s spread out across the room and everything is there for you. It was a pretty amazing experience.”
Price still reflects on the devastating defeat his Nepean Raiders squad suffered in overtime of game 6 of the CCHL finals, when Pembroke’s Damian Cross scored to end the series. “It was unreal. I didn’t have much playoff success in Milton,” he says of the playoff run. “We had such a good group of guys. Even the game that we lost we took it to OT, that atmosphere in Pembroke was pretty surreal. I’m never going to forget that year.”
Price felt that with a bit of luck, the sky was the limited for his team that season. “One of the guys I play with now won the RBC (Cup) that year (Mike Leidl played for the Vernon Vipers). Every now and then I think about what it would have been like to win it. You hear the stories about what the entire run was like. Ours was about half of what (Leidl’s) was. I could just imagine what it would be like to make it all the way to the RBC. I think we could have done it, it just came down to a goal.”
A few months after the loss to the Lumberkings, the Canucks drafted Price into the NHL with the 113th pick of the draft in 2009. The last few summers he’s participated in Vancouver’s development camps and feels it has helped him understand what he has to do to make his dreams of playing hockey at the highest level a reality. “(You learn) just the kind of dedication that it takes. You can see at just one camp, how many players there are and how talented they are and what you have to do to separate yourself from that group. You can be a pretty amazing player and still never get a shot. It tends to put things into perspective.”
He also enjoyed watching the Canucks go on a run last spring that took them to within a win of the Stanley Cup Finals last spring. “It was just cool too watch them, almost being a part of that organization, you know a lot of the guys in that system. It’s fun rooting for them.”
A few years prior to having his name called at the NHL draft, Price was taken by the Oshawa Generals in the OHL Priority Selection. He attended one of their training camps, but he knew he wanted to pursue an NCAA scholarship after watching his older brother Matt play at Boston College. “After going down to Boston and watching him there, I knew that was what I wanted, it was my end goal,” says the Raider. “I got to have that firsthand experience of watching College games as opposed to others that just sort of hear about it.”
Price has enjoyed his time at Colgate University so far. “I’ve enjoyed the aspect of being able to manage the academics with hockey, it kind of keeps you grounded and focused,” says the economics major. Price did have to make some altercations to his game after leaving the CCHL to adjust to the pace of US College Hockey. “I’ve had to embrace a more physical role (because of the intensity). That’s how you have to play to be more effective, whereas in Nepean it was almost like my role was to skate the puck, be a more offensive guy. The one thing I’ve learned here is you have to go every single shift.”
Both Raiders organizations have a long list of alumni that have gone on to play in the NHL. At this rate they might have one more.
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