SPORTS

Team B.C. hockey captain Jordan Bellerive didn't have to go far to hone skills

02/27/2015 10:57 EST | Updated 04/29/2015 05:59 EDT
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Growing up in a hockey-mad family with two older siblings, Jordan Bellerive didn't have to go far to work on his shot.

All he needed was right downstairs.

"We had just moved into our new house and I was maybe five or six years old," Bellerive said this week. "We had an indoor pool and it wasn't much use to us, so we covered it up and made it into our shooting rink and spent numerous hours down there every night.

"It was pretty cool to have that inside your house."

Now 15 years old, the talented forward from North Vancouver is the captain of Team B.C. at the Canada Winter Games. Selected second overall in the 2014 Western Hockey League bantam draft by the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Bellerive has size and skill to go along with a heavy shot that was honed hour after hour in the family home.

"He's an incredibly mature young man," B.C. head coach Jim Dinwoodie said prior to his team's quarter-final loss to Quebec on Thursday. "When he steps on the ice people can look at his talent and obviously he's a great player and he can shoot the puck like a pro, (but) he could do that in peewee."

Dinwoodie has seen many players come through the ranks during his years behind the bench, but said Bellerive has a fire burning inside that only certain athletes possess.

"What makes him special is when you step on the ice and practice with him, he practises the way he wants to play," said Dinwoodie. "Everything about him is to move himself up through the next level. You only see special players approach the game that way at that age."

Bellerive's older brother plays in the WHL, while his sister is in her freshman year in the NCAA. Both are veterans of Team B.C. at the multi-sport Canada Winter Games that continues through Sunday, and Bellerive said they have offered advice to help him on his journey.

"I get the same message from them," said Bellerive, who has 49 goals and 23 assists in 45 games at the Okanagan Hockey Academy this season. "Just stay calm, play your game and things are going to work out if you work hard and do the right things."

Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos competed in this event before they were household names, and Dinwoodie said it's not a stretch to suggest Bellerive might one day be mentioned in the same breath as those superstars.

"I picture him putting an NHL jersey on and a hat on and being a big-time player in the NHL," the coach said. "The reason I say that is he has what a lot of other athletes don't have, and that's how be thinks about his preparation and how he practises. Every time he's on the ice he treats it like it's business and it's important to him.

"You see the traits that keep carrying guys forward ... he has very similar traits to those guys."

But Dinwoodie added that all the talented players taking part in the under-16 hockey tournament at the Canada Winter Games are also getting an increased level of scrutiny on their young careers for the first time.

"This is the next level. This is the 20 best from each of our provinces," he said. "That's exceptional. You're now putting your name on a list at the national level to compete for your country. Your country is watching you, there are pro scouts.

"It is starting to become real."

MORE:cpSports