© Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy
Craig MacLauchlan of the Charlottetown Islanders.
Craig MacLauchlan does his best work away from the puck.
He centres the Charlottetown Islanders fourth line, is a stalwart on the penalty-killing unit and energizes the team with his all-out hustle.
He’s even willing to give up his body to block a shot.
“It’s something I can do to help the team win,” MacLauchlan said. “I am not one to put up a lot of points, so whatever I can do to help, I’ll do.”
His line will sometimes get tasked with shutting down other team’s top scorers.
“You don’t really worry about who you’re playing against, you just try to do your job,” he said.
MacLauchlan and the Islanders will host the Saint John Sea Dogs in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League tonight at Eastlink Arena. Game time is
The Islanders (13-16-0-2) are currently on a nine-game losing streak.
The Sea Dogs are last in the Maritimes Division with a 7-22-0-3 record.
At five-foot-10, 177 pounds, MacLauchlan often finds himself playing against players bigger than he is. He said he tries to use his speed and positioning to his advantage while staying calm and focused.
“He’s responsible defensively,” said coach Gordie Dwyer. “He thinks the game very well.”
His contributions rarely jump off a score sheet at the end of a game, but those that share the dressing room with him know his importance.
“Craig is the definition of a team player,” Dwyer said. “He blocks a lot of shots for us. He’s willing to sacrifice his body for the team.”
MacLauchlan grew up in Stanhope before moving to Charlottetown while in elementary school. He remembers watching hockey on Saturday nights with his father, Cecil, and the stories he would tell.
“I always heard him come home from rec hockey and say how much fun he had,” Craig explained.
The younger MacLauchlan started playing when he was five years old wearing the green jerseys of the Wildcats. He played for Chuckers Trophy and Awards in pre-novice before becoming the Sherwood Falcon. He played major midget with the Charlottetown Islanders and the past two seasons with the Summerside Western Capitals.
“I loved my time in Summerside. It was unreal,” MacLauchlan said. “The coaches were great. Billy (McGuigan) taught me how to do a lot of stuff. He really focused me on the defensive end.”
He got into three QMJHL games last season with the P.E.I. Rocket and has been a regular this year for the Islanders. It means a lot for a kid who grew up a season ticket holder.
“I love playing here. Everything is great,” MacLauchlan said. “Now that I am here it’s kind of like a dream come true.”
He has yet to score, but knows it’s the other components of his game that are critical for the team’s success.
“It’s always in the back of your mind, so whenever it comes it comes. I’m not too worried about it,” he said.
MacLauchlan has a sunny disposition that has a positive influence on the people around him.
“He’s everything you want out of a player from a coaches standpoint,” Dwyer said, noting his hard work and willingness to do what is asked of him on and off the ice. “You know what you’re going to get night in and night out.”
MacLauchlan celebrates his 19th birthday today.
He is not the only one with a birthday today as Charlottetown’s Kameron Kielly turns 17.
They are two of the three Islanders on this year’s team with Stratford’s Zach Beaton being the third.
“It’s great. It’s unreal. I love it,” MacLauchlan said of the Island contingent on this year’s team. “We kind of bond together just based on that.”
MacLauchlan said he has been involved with the Andrews Hockey Growth Program for years and noted Doug Shepherd and Allan Andrews have been big influences in his hockey career.
“They were always there for me growing up,” he said.
“I respect them so much for what they have done me and what they have done for a lot of people around P.E.I. in the hockey community.”
MacLauchlan added his coaches throughout the years have each helped him along the way.
u Team – Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
u Position – Centre
u Age – Turns 19 today.
u Acquired – The P.E.I. Rocket traded goalie Jeremy Gallant to the Halifax Mooseheads for MacLauchlan on Dec. 28, 2012.
u Did You Know? – MacLauchlan was named the Summerside Western Capitals best defensive forward last season.
u Statistics –
Team (league) GP G A Pts
Summerside (MHL) 44 6 8 14
Summerside (MHL) 50 7 12 19
P.E.I. (QMJHL) 3 0 0 0
Ch’town (QMJHL) 29 0 1 1