By Medicine Hat News on August 14, 2019.
The writing was on the wall for Jordan Hollett mid-way through last season, but the Medicine Hat Tigers goaltender never complained about going from starter to splitting time with upstart import Mads Sogaard.
Instead, he worked his hardest, focused on his teammates and took whatever time between the pipes he was given.
So as the Langley, B.C. product moves on from major-junior hockey – the Tigers made it official with a press release Tuesday – he’s happy with his experience, even if it didn’t go as planned.
“You never know when you’re going to end too, so I’m glad I took that approach,” said Hollett following a day at work as an electrician. “I focused on the relationships I had with my teammates, my coaching staff and just made the best of it. I’m really happy I took that outlook because I’m sure it could’ve went sideways.”
The 20-year-old plans to further his education but didn’t want to elaborate. It’s more that he knows what he’s not doing for the next decade: pursuing the NHL dream that seemed so realistic when he was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the sixth round, 183rd overall two years ago. He’d just been traded from Regina to Medicine Hat, a team needing a No. 1 goalie.
“In that situation I was more or less the go-to guy,” he said.
“As a goaltender especially, the road’s a little bit longer. I didn’t think that was something I could do all in; most people who know me, know I can only do something all-in or not at all.
“I didn’t feel like I had the drive to put everything on hold and pursue it for the next 10 years.”
Sogaard’s success helped plant the seed of moving on. The Danish star played at the world juniors, then the CHL Top Prospects game, and by the time playoffs rolled around was essentially the top guy in Medicine Hat’s crease.
Hollett was never bitter about it.
“He was a first-class teammate throughout the whole thing,” said Tigers assistant coach Joe Frazer. “It’s obviously a tough situation for him, the way he handled it was total class.
“We thank him for everything he did and wish him the best.”
Hollett talked to Sogaard Monday night and noted it’s the relationships he’s forged through hockey that he’ll take with him. He won’t remember the 55-41-1 career record, the .894 save percentage or 3.40 goals against average. Couldn’t even tell you what three teams he shut out (Brandon, Swift Current and Tri-City).
“I’ve sort of realized that the stats and the game of hockey doesn’t matter as much as the connections you make along the way,” he said.
Oddly enough, Sogaard was drafted by the Senators, 37th overall, just as Hollett’s time with the club expired. With a handful of players set to compete for the three overage spots on the roster this fall, Hollett wasn’t likely to garner one of them unless he was the unequivocal starter. Captain James Hamblin and fellow forwards Tyler Preziuso, Logan Christensen and Hayden Ostir are the other 1999-born players who finished last season in Medicine Hat.
Seventeen-year-old Garin Bjorklund, who played two games with the Tigers and whose midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes went all the way to the Telus Cup bronze medal game, is now the odds-on-favourite to become Sogaard’s backup. The Tigers will officially begin training camp Aug. 30, following a leadership retreat and the annual team-building getaway.
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