An injury during the Regina Pats’ rookie camp last summer had Cooper Chisholm playing catch up to the rest of his Prince Albert Mintos teammates throughout his rookie campaign in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
As the 16-year-old from Weyburn went about his off-training routine during the summer, he did so with one goal in mind.
“That was not the season I wanted to have a year ago and I was determined to bounce back,” Chisholm said.
“Getting hurt just weeks before the pre-season last year was pretty tough. I was going to get some game action with the team and have a regular shift, but then I was out for two weeks and it felt like I was behind the other guys a little bit when I got out there.”
After recording four assists in 38 games during the 2018-19 season, Chisholm has hit the ground running in exhibition play as he’s recorded a goal and five assists in three contests.
That puts him in a tie with Yorkton Maulers forward and former Minto Blake Duquette for the league lead in pre-season scoring with six points heading into this weekend.
“I’m feeling really good out there so far,” Chisholm said. “I’ve come out of the gates strong and hopefully I can keep things going.
“I’ve been playing with different linemates every night but so far we are all working really well together.”
Chisholm also gained an extra bit of confidence a couple of weeks as he had a solid showing at the Prince Albert Raiders training camp as he played alongside signed 2003- born forward prospect Logan Linklater.
“Logan and I actually played together at a WHL bantam showcase a couple of years ago so it was nice to be teamed up with him again,” Chisholm said.
“The Raiders camp was an awesome experience and it was nice to get a shout out there with the other guys who are on the team already.”
It’s been a busy pre-season for the Mintos with players coming in and out as they attend Western Hockey League or Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League camp, in addition to everyone getting used to the systems of new head coach.
However, Chisholm feels things are heading in the right direction ahead of the team’s season opener next Saturday afternoon against the Battlefords Stars at the Art Hauser Centre.
“It’s been crazy to see just how well everything is working out so far,” Chisholm said. “We have a lot of guys who are new to the midget ranks but we’re all gelling together nicely.
“I think we have a really good group here and I think we have to chance to success. I hope to do whatever I can to help the team succeed, but it would be nice to put the puck in a little bit more than last year.”
The Mintos fell to 1-3 in pre-season play on Thursday with a 4-1 loss to the Stars at the Art Hauser Centre.
Zane Florence had the lone goal for the hosts, who received a 21-save showing from Spencer Welke.
The Mintos will be back in action on Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. when they will face the Beardy’s Blackhawks and the Saskatoon Blazers at the Art Hauser Centre.