Now that Powell River Kings forward Cam Donaldson has settled into the playmaking and pace of the BC Hockey League (BCHL), he is providing what the local junior hockey club brought him in for: scoring.
The rookie did a lot of that recently, riding a scoring streak that started on September 23 and ended October 7. In five games, Donaldson scored eight goals and one assist and was named BC Hockey League Player of the Week.
“We knew what we were getting when we were recruiting him,” said Kings assistant coach Brock Sawyer. “You expect that there will be a bit of an adjustment period. The first month is always tough, especially for an 18-year-old player. It’s a lot of change: new country, new team and a new league, so it’s a different way of doing things.”
Donaldson hails from McKinney, Texas. According to the old adage, everything is supposed to be bigger in Texas, but at five feet, eight inches tall and 163 pounds, that does not apply in his case.
Donaldson has scored some big goals for the Kings early in the season, including a double-overtime winner against Victoria.
“It was a four-on-three,” said Donaldson. “We had a power play and were moving the puck around. It came to me and I just threw it on net; somehow it squeaked in.”
Donaldson comes to Powell River from preparatory school in Connecticut, where he played for the Gunnery Highlanders. In his first season, 2014/15, he scored 14 goals and 18 assists in 28 games. The following year, he added 29 goals and 29 assists in 32 games.
According to Sawyer, not scoring at the start of the season frustrated the rookie.
“He’s finding his way here in junior hockey after coming up from prep school and he just works so hard,” said Sawyer. “He’s tenacious on the puck and creates a lot of opportunities with his speed and skill set. It’s nice to see him finally scoring.”
According to Donaldson, the BCHL is an adjustment from the way high school hockey is played in the United States.
“It’s a lot faster than where I played back in the states,” he said. “The first couple of games were a bit of a surprise with the pace, but I’m starting to get a lot more comfortable now. It’s a lot faster pace here and a lot older guys.”
Donaldson caught up quickly and is now contributing offensively. After being held pointless in his first six games of the season, he went on a tear for the Kings.
“The first six games were kind of rough, I didn’t get a point,” said Donaldson. “Then I got one against Trail at the [BCHL] Showcase and ever since then I have been comfortable and started putting the puck in the net.”
It had to come to an end, as all scoring streaks do. Donaldson’s last goal was in the King’s last win on Friday, October 7, in Port Alberni.
He is still riding high in BCHL scoring, sitting behind Penticton’s Ty Amonte in second place among rookies with 11 points. Donaldson’s five-game point streak is fourth best in the league this season.