Spruce Kings center John Herrington went to Michigan College

Prince George Spruce Kings center John Herrington has met two hometowns – Hudson’s Hope and Prince George.

Next fall, he’ll add a third to that list – Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan.

Herrington, a former prodigy of the Cariboo Cougars hockey system, is completing his fourth and final season in the BC Hockey League and will travel east to attend Lake Superior State University and play with the university’s NCAA Division 1 hockey club.

Before that, however, there is still a great deal of hockey left that will be played here and leave its mark on the A-Junior club potentially leading them to a second straight playoff run. In a poll of BCHL head coaches, Herrington was selected for the BCHL 3-on-3 All-Star game in Penticton on January 21.

“It was good. We got off to a really good start,” said Herrington, who leads the club with 13 goals and six assists and 19 points in 20 games.

“So far I’m really enjoying my season. We’re rolling now. My line mates are doing really well, getting into the corners. Most of my success is thanks to them.”

On 11 November the club recorded their 10th win (10-5-1-1) away at Merritt, but it was the night before against the same Centennials, a 3-2 loss, that Herrington managed to score both goals.

Herrington recorded his first BCHL hat-trick of his career on Oct. 22 at Vernon and has since had two games by two goals, on Nov. 11 in a 3-2 loss at Merritt and last Friday in a 4-3 win at Trail.His game winner, defeating the Smoke Eaters, came in with 70 seconds left in the game.

The Spruce Kings (12-6-1-1-0) take on the West Kelowna Warriors (12-5-2-0-0) in a second-place fight Friday night in Prince George with a rematch scheduled for Saturday is .Gae time for both is 19:00 at Kopar Memorial Arena.

“This year I have a different role in the team. I’ll be a little bit more of a leader. I’m wearing a letter now,” Herrington said.

“It’s a cool experience and a good experience for me. I broke up with another guy last season who wore the A, so this is my first year of wearing the A full-time.”

For the Hudson’s Hope kid, her love of hockey began at a young age.

“My father used to pick me up from school when I was about three or four years old and we would go to the ice rink. They were nobody on the rink from about 3:30pm to 7:00pm. We stayed there for four hours and then had dinner. We did that three, four times a week,” added Herrington.

His father, he said, also built him an outdoor ice rink to hone his skills.

“I started as a defender because my dad was, but I realized I liked scoring goals a lot more than playing in defence, so I made the switch. I love doing face-offs… another fight I had to win.”

It was likely that ride that brought him to the attention of scouts during the 2020 pod season at Chilliwack.

“We played 20 games in about 40 days in one place and I think they watched a lot of those games. In the summer they offered me a scholarship.”

Herrington thinks Lake Superior State is a good fit.

“They are one of the smaller schools in a close-knit community. It’s about five minutes across the border from [Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.] Canada. I guess a lot of their Canadian players will just cross the border and get Tim Hortons all the time.”

However, the 20-year-old plays coy when asked if that was a deciding factor in his signing.

When asked if there were any big influences in his young hockey career, one name came to mind — former Spruce Kings defenseman and Northeast BC/Yukon U-18 Trackers coach Gerard Dicaire.

“He kind of made me the player I am today, which has gotten me this far,” Herrington said.

But no matter how far his future takes him, the place he grew up in will always be remembered.

“We’re so proud of him. The community is really proud of him,” said Dave Heiberg, Mayor of Hudson’s Hope.

“He was so talented at such a young age. It’s such a tough racquet to get into, but he’s working really, really hard at it. Very serious, as one has to be at this age. We wish him all the best!”


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