Bobby Young is a great hockey name.
The soon-to-be 19 year old Chiefs rookie is blessed with a moniker that belongs on the front of a 1950s, 1960s or 1970s era O-Pee-Chee hockey card.
His name alone could make the teenager a favourite with Chiefs faithful, and his personality will endear him to the fans. The Ontario native is easy to talk to and quick with a smile.
But what makes the crowd cheer loudest is on-ice exploits, and Young looks like he’ll be one of Chilliwack’s top guns.
You shouldn’t read too much into preseason results, but we’re going to read into preseason results.
In four games, playing alongside captain Will Calverley and fellow freshman Corey Andonovski on Chilliwack’s ‘first line,’ Young looks like he not only belongs at the BCHL level but could be really good.
“I’d describe myself as a hard worker who likes going to the dirty areas, and I like making plays,” Young said. “I’ve always been told by my dad that I need to shoot the puck more, so I should probably start doing that, but I’m definitely more of a playmaking type.
“I think Will and I have similar type games where we get into the corners and work hard to get the puck, and Corey has a tremendous amount of skill.
“We clicked right off the bat and so far we’ve been pretty dominant in the offensive zone, holding onto the puck and creating chances.”
Young is one of three Kimball Union (New Hampshire) prep-school grads on the Chilliwack roster, along with forward Michael Lombardi and defenceman Sean Thomson.
Young spent three seasons with the Wildcats, tallying 12 goals and 43 points in 34 games last year.
Chiefs head coach Jason Tatarnic is known to buy in bulk with his offseason recruiting. He once famously imported eight players from one team, the Connecticut Wolfpack, in the summer of 2015.
“Mike, Sean and I talked a little bit about playing together when Jason contacted us, and while I wouldn’t say playing with them was the deciding factor, it definitely helped,” Young said. “It’s nice to have those familiar faces, but everyone’s been so welcoming here. I’ve been on teams where you’ve got different cliques who don’t hang out together, but it seems like it’s one pack in Chilliwack.”
“We’ve all just clicked right away and it already feels like these guys are some of my great friends.”
Young had interest from the defending Alberta Junior Hockey League champion Brooks Bandits and was contacted by two US Premier Hockey League teams, so he wasn’t without options.
“The winning culture with the Chiefs was the biggest draw,” Young noted. “The team has been unbelievable the last couple years, especially since Tarts got here.”
Here’s a fun fact.
Players are allowed to call Tatarnic Tarts.
“He likes that,” Young said with a grin. “Coming from a U-S prep school, coaches don’t like to be called by their names. It’s just ‘coach’ and I got used to that the last three years.
“But all the veteran guys were calling him Tarts when I got here, which I thought was a little different.
“So yeah, he likes it.”
Tarts will never pigeon hole a player into a role. Don’t bother asking him whether a skater is a top liner or a bottom sixer because he doesn’t think that way.
The bench boss wants players with complementary skill sets who can play up and down the lineup, and Young can do that.
“I’ve kind of been all over the place in my career, playing center and wing, but I think I kind of like wing a little better now because there’s more space in the offensive zone to play around,” said Young, who’s played left wing in the preseason.
— Young gets his first taste of regular season action tonight (Friday) as his team visits the Prince George Spruce Kings.
The teams will square off again tomorrow night.