Keith Getson, left, protects the puck from Cameron Bisson during Tuesday's Charlottetown Islanders intrasquad game in Cornwall.
©Jason Malloy/The Guardian
CORNWALL, P.E.I. – Keith Getson remembers walking into the Charlottetown Islanders dressing room in August 2014 in Pownal for training camp.
There were young guns like Daniel Sprong, Alexandre Goulet and Kameron Kielly and veterans named Ryan MacKinnon, Ross Johnston and Oliver Cooper.
Getson was a 16-year-old looking to earn a roster spot after being drafted in the third round.
“I was so nervous at that point,” the now 19-year-old veteran recalled after Tuesday’s intrasquad game.
Now he is the longest serving member of the club, having played three full seasons for the Islanders. He is now one of the veterans the rookies look up to.
“I just try to talk to the younger guys and give them some advice about what I went through,” Getson said.
The Bridgewater, N.S., native played 63 games in his rookie season, primarily on a line with fellow youngsters Mitchell Balmas and Samuel Guilbault. His role has steadily increased as coaches have put more trust in the strong two-way player.
Head coach Jim Hulton is looking forward to Getson, who he called a natural leader and terrific person, taking the next step in his maturation this season.
“For Keith, that just means being that well-rounded, dependable, steady guy,” he said.
The head coach said the team knows his work ethic and doesn’t want him setting a goal for a certain number of points.
“That’s not what makes him tick,” Hulton said. “It’s his consistency with his compete level that's going to carry him to the heights we need him to be at.”
And while some people see the Islanders taking a step back this year, given the talent the team lost since being eliminated in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal, Getson isn’t one of them.
“I think we’re going to have a great team this year,” he said. “I don't think the expectations are any lower.”
Getson said it was great to be back on the Island and with his returning teammates.
“I’ve been talking to them over the summer,” he said. “You spend every day of the year with these guys during the (season), so you miss them like crazy when you home.
“It was a good break and I’m really excited to be back.”
Need to know
Who – A fourth-year member of the Charlottetown Islanders major junior squad.
Personal – A 19-year-old Bridgewater, N.S., native.
Season GP G A Pts.
2014-15 63 1 9 10
2015-16 61 6 6 12
2016-17 61 17 17 34