Dayton Nelson expresses genuine surprise at his continued success with the Princeton Posse.
Nelson, 19, was chosen as Most Valuable Player for the local squad at its recent annual awards dinner.
And he was named top forward in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) for the first week of playoffs.
Nelson learned of the kudos on Instagram.
“I didn’t even know they did (Three Stars) in the playoffs,” he told the Spotlight.
“I’ve been waiting my whole (KIJHL) career to get on there and I finally did.”
The Cranbrook native scored a hat trick in game two of the first round of playoffs against Summerland, and had a three-point night in one of the Posse-Steam series with a goal and two assists.
He was equally taken aback by being selected as the Posse’s MVP.
“I was really surprised, actually. I didn’t think I would have a chance for anything because I came in late in the season,” he said.
Nelson, who signed with Princeton mid-November, led the team with 44 points – 25 goals and 19 assists – in the regular season, and has notched four goals and two assists so far in the play offs.
Nelson was picked up from the Fernie Ghost Riders in a 2022 trade by head coach Mark Readman, who coached him as a 16-year-old in Dawson Creek. “From the first day he showed up, we really took a turn for the better,” said Readman.
“The team started to click, and we believe he was the missing piece that we were waiting for at the time.”
Nelson is quick to share the credit. “I produce offensively but most of the time I’m just in the right spot and somebody gets me the puck.”
Nelson is also known for his on-ice personality, which he admitted can sometimes come across like “a little chip on my shoulder.”
“I just like to get the energy going with the crowd and getting the other team off their game,” he said.
The Posse now faces North Okanagan Knights in round two of the playoffs.
Winning the regular season as a team was “really cool,” according to Nelson.
“We felt like we accomplished something…But that’s just a first glimpse of what we can achieve.”
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