One Plevy has been a very good thing for the Chilliwack Chiefs, and Harvey Smyl hopes two of them will be twice as nice.
Mitch Plevy joins the team this year, following in the skatesteps of older brother Austin. If the younger Plevy can do half of what Austin did last year, when he finished second in league scoring, then Chiefs fans will be very, very happy.
“People tell us we’re like twins, even though I don’t see it,” Mitch chuckled. “But I think we are both pretty smart players, with good vision, who can skate. And hopefully, I can be as good as he’s been one day.”
The 17 year old spent last season with the Ridge Meadows Flames of the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL). He struggled through 33 games, collecting just two goals and 12 points.
But Mitch believes the numbers reflect a lack of opportunity. On a Flames team that was deep in forward depth, the five-foot-10 and 160 pound winger didn’t get the ice time and power play chances an offensive-minded player needs.
“I had a tough year and didn’t get on the ice a lot, but I know Harv treats his young guys well, so I’m excited to be here,” he said.
In a way, Mitch’s situation mirrors what Austin was facing with the Langley Rivermen before being dealt to Chilliwack last summer. He produced 43 points in 58 games during the 2011-12 season.
Good numbers for sure.
But last year, placed on the top line with Luke Esposito and Josh Hansen, he exploded for 30 goals and 73 points.
Added responsibility allowed him to shine, and Mitch believes he could benefit in the same way.
“If I get my chance to get in a groove and get some momentum going, I think I can produce and help this team,” he said. “
The opportunity to play with his brother was one reason Austin opted to return to Chilliwack this year.
He could have left.
Austin committed to the NCAA’s Merrimack Warriors last season, and could have started his collegiate career this fall.
“Obviously, my brother being here was a pretty big reason for it, but it wasn’t the only reason,” Austin said. “I think my game needs more development and I need to get stronger. In college I’ll be playing against 20 to 25-year-old men who’ll push me around, so I need another year in the gym with Paulie (Chiefs strength and conditioning coach Paul Nicolls).”
Smyl has often lamented the tendency of young players to want to rush, rush, rush to the next level, even though it’s often better to take it slow.
Plevy is an exception.
“Some guys see it as, the faster they get somewhere the better, but I’ve had lots of good people telling me I need another year,” he said. “And having Mitch here, how many people get a chance to play junior with their brother? We’re going to have a fun time.”
Austin and Mitchell will stay in the same billet house this season, come to the rink together and ride the same bus to road games together.
It’s a good thing they get along.
“For the most part, we do the same things, have the same tastes in music (country) and movies and stuff like that,” Austin said. “There are times when I need to be away from him or I just want to straight up punch him in the head, but that’s normal for most brothers I think.”
“It’s a situational thing that I can’t pick apart,” Mitch said when asked which buttons he pushes. “Something pops up and I see an opportunity to bug him. But we do get along well, and rooming with him should be fun.”
The Plevys may be one of three brother acts on the Chiefs this year.
Pending his return from an injury suffered in last year’s playoffs, 20-year-old Tanner Cochrane will be joined by his brother Carter, a prized recruit on defence.
Jaret Babych’s brother, Cal, is gunning for a roster spot too.
“There could be a little name confusion in the dressing room, but we’ll figure something out,” Austin laughed.
The Plevys and their Chief teammates open the preseason slate tomorrow night in Surrey.
Chilliwack hosts the Eagles Saturday night at Prospera Centre with a 7 p.m. puck drop.
Get Chiefs info online at chilliwackchiefs.net and get BCHL info at bchl.ca.