North Bay Battalion 2014 6th round draft pick Steve Harland is going beyond expectations to start the season with the Battalion Jr. A affiliate team, the Powassan Voodoos.
Voodoos Head coach Scott Wray believes his success and dynamic offensive capabilities to his work ethic and compete level.
“He comes to play every night and he wants to win. He is a kid you love to coach because he is always smiling and having a good time, and at the end of the night, when you see the game sheet he’s got a goal and four assists.”
Harland through 21 games has 17 goals and 13 assists for 30 points. In many of those goals, Harland is using his quickness and amazing puckhandling skills to score a highlight reel goal.
Harland is considered a late bloomer, who played his first year of AAA hockey last season with the Toronto Young Nationals, who went on to represent Ontario at the Telus Cup. After being overlooked in his first two years of OHL draft eligibility, Harland caught the attention of Battalion scouts during his team’s long run to the Nationals.
Despite that success, the modest Harland is surprised at his success.
“It’s pretty cool, not really expected,” admitted Harland.
“Ttwo years ago I was playing double-A hockey and it wasn’t that serious or anything and now I get to play in front of all these fans, it’ s a huge difference.”
Harland is a player that every time he touches the puck that fans, teammates are on the edge of their seats watching knowing that he will probably make a fantastic move to create a scoring chance for himself or one of his teammates, when asked what type of player he sees himself being Steve described himself as being “as a very offensive player, who likes to cycle the puck down-low, make passes and score for his team.”
His vision and offensive awareness make the game easier for the rest of the team; the Voodoos Captain Aaron Sullivan believes Harland has tremendous hockey vision.
“Harland always knows where myself and our teammates are the ice, which makes my job out there easier, I just have to battle to get him the puck and he does the rest,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan says the rest of his teammates are taking notice.
“We try to pick his brain on how to improve our hands on the ice, but he doesn’t give out his secrets very easily, I don’t even know if he knows what he is doing have the time, I think it just comes naturally or magically,” said Sullivan about Harland who has played most of the season on the Battalion line with 2014 picks Kyle Moore and Brendan D’Agostino.
Voodoos GM Chris Dawson believes he was an ideal player to help build an expansion franchise around.
“We identified Steve as a key player in our first season and he has lived up to those expectations. I like to call him the Josh Ho-Sang of the NOJHL. He has tremendous quickness and patience with the puck, I’ve been involved in the NOJHL since 2008 and I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to watch a player like Steve on my side,” said Dawson.
“At 5’10”, 170 pounds, I believe its really just his size that has kept him out of the OHL this year.”
Steve Harland, the man with magic hands on the ice, has successfully made the jump from AAA hockey to the Jr. A level and lived up to his 6th round choice in last year’s OHL draft.
The Voodoos next home game is Friday, December the 5th, when you can see Steve “Magic Mitts” Harland and the rest of the team take on the Eastern division leading Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.