Josh Currie’s success didn’t happen overnight.
The 20-year-old P.E.I. Rocket captain is having a career year in his final Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season.
He credits working hard in the off-season with a big part of the numbers he is posting this season.
“My workout regimen was a lot stricter, a lot tougher,” Currie said. “I just came in (to the season) in the best shape of my life.”
The regimen included 3 1/2-hour workouts five days a week with Next Level Training’s Spero Mantzavrakos.
“He’s obviously a top-notch guy in the fitness world. He’s trained a lot of NHL professionals. Obviously, he’s been huge for me,” Currie said.
“I put a lot of time into it. Some days were two-a-days, but it’s all worth it,” he added. “Everyone is training as hard, if not harder than that, so you have to be right there with them.”
Currie said he made the decision to push himself in the off-season to help improve his chances of landing a pro contract.
“I pride myself on working hard whether it’s on or off the ice, in school or wherever it is.”
The time has paid immediate dividends.
“He’s prepared physically, he’s faster and he’s stronger and he plays with that determination,” coach Gordie Dwyer said. “He’s been excellent. He leads by example on the ice and plays in all key situations.”
Currie was a scorer growing up in the Charlottetown minor hockey system.
He played junior A in Summerside as a 16-year-old and made the jump to the Rocket the following season. He found the back of the net nine times in each of his first two seasons wearing the Rocket colours as he adjusted to playing against eastern Canada’s most skilled players.
“I almost molded my game into a bit more of a two-way forward,” Currie explained. “If you can round out your game a little there’s more chance for success.”
Dwyer moved him from the wing and gave him the responsibility of being his shutdown centre a year ago.
Currie thrived in the role, not just defensively, but also putting up points against the other team’s top lines.
The scoring touch he showed as a junior is even more apparent this season as he has been among the league’s top scorers all year.
“He wants that puck and he wants to be that go-to guy,” Dwyer said of his puck-hungry scorer. “He’s always had a nose for the net.”
Currie, who centres the top line with Ben Duffy and Matej Beran, was looking forward to the season during the summer.
“I knew I was going to get a bunch more ice time and offensive opportunities,” Currie said. “I got to play with a guy like Ben Duffy, which is huge. . . This has just been a terrific year for me, individually.”
Currie has a few goals in mind for the rest of the season. He would like to score 51 goals, he currently has 41 with 12 games remaining. It would break the franchise single-season record of 50 set by David Laliberté in 2006-07.
Currie’s 41 is currently third, one back of Michael Lambert’s 42 in 2003-04.
“If I could win one that would be it. Obviously it’s pretty special,” he said. “Even if I don’t win any of those categories it’s good to see our team have a bit more success than the past few years.”
After missing the playoffs last season and be swept in the opening round two years ago, Currie said, this year is different. He looks at the back end being solid with two strong goalies and a deep defensive corps. With everyone finally healthy up front the team has good depth.
“We’re looking to make some noise this year,” he said
Currie is currently taking two business courses at UPEI and has completed a year of his education.
Life after hockey might find Currie following his father Stephen’s footsteps into law enforcement. Stephen is a Charlottetown police officer.
“I’ve always thought that would be an interesting job,” Josh said.