May 26th, 2024

Switzer working towards WHL opportunity

By JAMES TUBB on February 21, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Tigers prospect Jordan Switzer squares up to make a save during WHL practice Feb. 8 at Co-op Place.

Jordan Switzer has been following the Medicine Hat Tigers season and putting in his own work awaiting his opportunity to make the jump.

The 17-year-old goaltending prospect was in Medicine Hat for a “developmental week,” to practise with the Tigers and was in attendance for their 5-2 win over the Regina Pats on Feb. 6 and the third period comeback 5-4 OT win over the Red Deer Rebels on Feb. 10.

It’s his first time back in the orange and black since training camp and he says he enjoyed getting the opportunity to face the players getting ready for their playoff push.

“It’s good to get that high piece of tempo out there, they push you at limits that at the U18 level, your teammates just wouldn’t,” Switzer said. “It’s always good to come up here and get those reps in.”

Switzer is in his first season at the U18 level with the Northern Alberta Xtreme of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. He dominated the U17 ranks last season, winning all 15 starts with a 1.59 GAA, .942 save percentage and four shutouts, also capturing a CSSHL championship.

This season at U18, after winning his first four starts, Switzer dropped his first regular season game since Nov. 26, 2021. He’s still strung together a 13-1-1 record so far, with a 2.9 GAA and .904 save percentage with a shutout.

He doesn’t entertain his own winning streak and says he never worried about it. Instead, he says he’s just looking to do everything he can to get back to the level he wants to be playing at the WHL.

“What’s in the past doesn’t really matter, what’s in the future, you don’t have control of, so it’s kind of that next game, next game (approach),” Switzer said.

“Just knowing that you can almost sniff at this level and go back down, you have to keep your habits and keep that momentum. But it’s a good chip on your shoulder to know that you can be that guy at that level.”

He’s always checking the Tigers’ scores and seeing how goaltenders Zach Zahara and Ethan McCallum are doing, only to see if there are parts of their games he can learn from. Switzer says he’s learned a lot about their approach to practices and how hard they work.

“These guys come work hard as ever to prepare their bodies, they get here early and that’s something that I can add to my game to really take me to the next level,” Switzer said.

Until he gets his opportunity in the WHL, Switzer says he’s just going to keep his head down and put in the work, trying to get one per cent better every day.

Barring injury or any scenario like that, his next appearance in Medicine Hat will come at the end of his and NAX’s CSSHL season as a black ace for the Tigers playoffs.

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