By KELLEN TANIGUCHI on May 4, 2021.
Brett Kemp made his way to Medicine Hat in 2019 as part of a blockbuster trade which sent Josh Williams to the Edmonton Oil Kings in a one-for-one deal.
“It was definitely pretty easy coming here to Medicine Hat,” said the 21-year-old Kemp, now in his final year with the Tigers. “The coaches, the players, they were all very welcoming and I knew I was coming to a first-class organization. So, I just wanted to keep continuing to grow myself as a person and a player and take that next step to pro.”
Kemp found himself on the scoresheet more and more each year. He tallied 77 points, including 30 goals, in 62 games during the 2019-20 season and he has 31 points in 22 games this season heading into the final game of his Western Hockey League career on Thursday against his former team – the Oil Kings.
“I think each year I gained more confidence and I was able to play my game and my style of play in the systems that we had,” he said. “I think the coaches did a really good job of letting me play my game and putting me with players that kind of compliment me, and them as well.”
Kemp grew into a leadership role with the Tigers and was an assistant captain this season. He says he likes to lead by example with his on-ice play, but he also speaks up in the room when needed.
Coming into the 2020-21 season, Kemp didn’t know what to expect, but says he wanted time to continue developing his game.
“I just wanted to come and show what I have and my capabilities and how I’ve improved over that layover that we had this last year,” said Kemp. “I just wanted to come in and wanted to work hard every day and have fun. I knew this was my last year of junior and my last year here in Medicine Hat, so I just wanted to cherish all the moments and memories.”
Kemp added he has a lot of memories on and off the ice with the Tigers, some of which he says will last a lifetime.
“The biggest thing that I’m going to take away is the relationships I’ve built with the coaching staff and all my teammates and players,” he said. “I’ve built some friendships that will definitely last forever and looking back in a couple of years, I’ll be so fortunate that I was lucky enough to be here and cherish all those moments.”
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound centre says he’s focused on finishing the 2020-21 season strong, but he believes he’s ready for the next step.
“I think I’m capable in my abilities that I have on and off the ice, and I know when the time comes to make the jump to pro that I will be ready,” he said.
Kemp added he wouldn’t be able to make that jump and be the player he is without his two and a half seasons in black and orange.
“They’ve definitely matured me in all the aspects of life and on the ice and they’ve been so good to me and I couldn’t thank them enough,” said Kemp. “I wouldn’t be the person, or player I am today without being here in Medicine Hat.”