By Gann Matsuda, Frozen Royalty
EL SEGUNDO, CA — From the time he started playing youth hockey, all the way up to his time in the Western Hockey League, center Jordan Weal has heard the same thing, over and over and over…
…that he was way too small to play junior hockey, let alone at the professional level.
“It’s something I’ve had to deal with all my life, being a smaller guy,” said Weal, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the third round (70th overall) of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft. “People have always said that I’m too small to play, even going into the WHL draft, people thought I was too small to make it.”
Two years later, Weal has added seven pounds to his 5-9 frame, now weighing 180 pounds. He is also enjoying greater success in maintaining his playing weight and adding muscle.
“Maintaining my weight [has] been a tough thing for me to do these last couple of years because I’m still young, and my metabolism is racing along,” the twenty-year-old native of North Vancouver, British Columbia explained. “If I don’t eat a bunch, I’m losing weight. This year, I didn’t lose any weight. I maintained it, so I’m really happy with that.”
“Nelson Emerson [who oversees player development for the Kings] came to one of my games, and I saw a couple of the scouts at some of my games,” Weal elaborated. “They like how I play, they just know that the off-ice part is going to be [my biggest challenge], just gaining size, and maturing. But I’m starting to [maintain] weight easier, and put on weight easier.”
“It’s going to be a big summer, working five or six days a week [with a bit of a break that followed the Kings’ annual development camp in early July].”
Although adding size and strength will continue to be the biggest challenge in his quest to make it to the NHL someday, it is definitely not Weal’s only one.
Indeed, Weal is a skilled offensive forward, but the knock on him has been his play in the defensive zone, not to mention his play away from the puck. But he has been working on those aspects of his game.
“I think I made a lot of strides in both areas, especially in the defensive zone,” said Weal. “Our new coach, Pat Conacher, really stressed that a lot with his top players, that you have to be responsible at both ends of the ice.”
“As you get older, you begin to understand the game a little more in the defensive zone,” added Weal. “Sometimes less is more in the defensive zone. You can be more efficient in getting pucks out of your zone, and into the offensive zone. That’s what I learned how to do.”
“Once you learn the defensive game, it becomes a little more fun. You can definitely use it to your advantage.”
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