Josh Hansen (right) has been the offensive surprise of the year in the BCHL

Unexpected star leads Chiefs offence

Josh Hansen leads the BCHL in goals and sits top 10 in the points race, unexpected stuff for the former third line mainstay.

Josh Hansen, scoring star.

Let’s be honest now.

Did anyone see that coming?

Sure, we all loved the Chilliwack kid’s game — his work as a penalty killer, as a leader, as a gritty get-in-on-the-forecheck kind of guy.

But with a grand total of 21 goals in 113 regular season BCHL games coming into this season, the idea that the 20-year-old would suddenly become an offensive force, well…

“I kind of thought it might be in me, and it was waiting for the right opportunity,” Hansen said after Tuesday’s practise. “I was always the defensive penalty killer. Now, I’m getting chances on the power play and I’m saying after every game, ‘I want to stay here.’ I’m trying to make the best of it and I feel like I have.”

He certainly has.

Hansen’s career high coming into this year was 12 goals, scored last season in 58 games.

He blew past that in just 16 games this year, and currently leads the league with 15 goals in 18 games.

For the record, that’s a 50 goal pace.

“I try not to think about that because it’s so early in the season,” Hansen said. “A lot of credit goes to my linemates. I just try to get to the right spot at the right time, and they seem to get me the puck.”

Hansen has indeed been blessed with great linemates.

Offseason acquisition Austin Plevy has more than replaced the offensive production of the man he was traded for (Derek Huisman). Through 18 games, the Langley native has 11 goals and 23 points.

“He gets the puck down low, to the dirty areas where it needs to be,” Hansen said. “He forechecks hard, sees the ice so well and has a great shot. Just so talented.”

Luke Esposito hasn’t played like the BCHL rookie he is.

The Connecticut kid leads the league in assists, and with 24 points he sits second to Penticton’s Wade Murphy in the BCHL scoring race.

“He’s so solid on the puck and he’s obviously a great playmaker,” Hansen said. “I’ve always wanted to play with guys like that and getting the opportunity this year has been great.”

If Hansen had his way, he’d probably issue 100 per cent of the credit to Plevy and Esposito, but that would be selling short the work he did over the summer. Hansen spent the offseason training under the watch of Chiefs strength and conditioning guru Paul Nicolls, and the results are obvious. Not only is he stronger on the boards, his footspeed has improved remarkably.

Several times this season, Hansen has been seen pulling away from pursuing defenders.

“I always considered myself a good skater, just not very explosive,” Hansen said. “Paul worked a lot with me to develop that and I think it’s helped.”

Hansen doesn’t have the dangling ability of his uber-skilled buddies, but the veteran complements them so well with what he does. He is adept at going to the net and getting those ‘garbage goals’ that coach Harvey Smyl loves so much.

All coaches love Hansonish players, and it’s no coincidence that his offensive surge has resulted in more attention from collegiate talent evaluators.

Hansen still hasn’t committed to a scholarship opportunity, which makes his goal-scoring binge particularly well timed.

“I’ve never really talked to any schools up until this year, and now I am,” he said. “It’s different and good, because I definitely want to play hockey after this season is over.”

Hansen and his Chiefs are on home ice Saturday night at 7 p.m., hosting the Penticton Vees at Prospera Centre. Chilliwack beat the Vees 4-1 in Penticton last weekend, but they’ll be without Plevy and defenceman Cooper Rush this time.

Both are taking part in a prospect showcase game as part of the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Mark Strahl is speaking in the House of Commons on Oct. 20, 2020, on a Conservative motion to create a special committee to look into the WE charity scandal. The speech will be posted live on his Facebook page. (Facebook image)
VIDEO: Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl to speak on WE scandal today

Prime Minister has said Conservative motion for ethics committee could trigger election

Plow equipment clearing the roads on Dec. 13, 2016 focused on Priority 1 and 2 roads. (City of Chilliwack)
Dozens of Chilliwack roads could get upgraded for snow removal

But side streets mostly remain as priority 4, rarely if ever plowed based on resources available

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Rosedale man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after purchasing electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Officers with the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team were at a White Rock home Tuesday (Oct. 20) to assist Vancouver Police Department with execution of a search warrant. (Contributed photo)
ERT, VPD response to White Rock home connected to homicide: police

Search underway in the 15800-block of Prospect Crescent

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read