By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The hard work is starting to pay off for Jack Studnicka.
Despite the Oshawa Generals being eliminated in the second round of the Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference playoff last season, Studnicka was a large part of getting the team to that point, managing five goals and 12 assists for 17 points.
The performance also caught the attention of the Boston Bruins who, a couple months later, scooped him up in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft.
Now in his third season with the Generals, the coaches have bestowed him with the captain’s crest, something he says is an absolute honour.
“It’s a huge honour to be captain, especially in an organization like Oshawa. I feel that I’m ready and I’m glad that management and the coaches feel the same way,” he says. “So, just looking forward to a good year and taking on the leading role.”
And with a young core group of players filling up the Generals’ bench this season, a strong voice of leadership is going to be something much needed as the year progresses.
It’s something that assistance coach Greg Nemisz says caught the eye of coaches last year, with several players on the team capable of filling the role, and Studnicka emerged quickly as the top contender.
“Jack’s just so determined to win and we want more guys to follow his lead,” Nemisz says.
For Studnicka, he’s learned a lot from those captains he’s played with over the last two seasons.
“I think I’ve gained a lot of leadership from guys who have been here before like Anthony Cirelli and guys like that who have won here and just looking forward to being the leader,” he says.
It also helps that with the NHL draft behind him, he can focus on moving forward.
“It was huge, it was kind of like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Last year was a pretty stressful year, but you try not to think about it as much and on the draft there’s nothing you can control but really enjoy it,” he says. “I know what I’m capable of and I’m glad that Boston agreed with me.”
The Oshawa Generals open their season on the road in Sudbury on Sept. 22. The club’s home opener is set for Oct. 1 at the Tribute Communities Centre against the London Knights.