The Portage Terriers are proud of the 2022-23 season but are looking to keep the success rolling into next year. The Dogs are losing three of their regulars on the backend from last season but drafted five new blueliners in the 2023 MJHL Draft.
The Terriers' first selection came 13th overall, and they picked up Reece Gault out of RINK Hockey Academy.
"I was just finishing texting my teammates, Remy Hlady and Kaden Turner (drafted second and third overall by the Selkirk Steelers), congratulating them on going off the board. I got back around the 12th pick, and my name popped up. I was really excited," Gault explains. "Portage was one of the top teams I wanted to go to because of the way they develop players. They always tell me Spills (Blake Spiller) is a great coach. I was really excited."
With our first pick in the 2023 MJHL Draft, the Terriers are proud to select Reece Gault from the RINK Hockey Academy. Last season the Oak Bank product had 28 points in 24 games for their U16 squad. He played 10 games with their U18 team. #MJHLTerriers #MJHLDraft #FutureTerrier pic.twitter.com/qBXqmAffbz— Portage Terriers (@PortageTerriers) June 4, 2023
The Oakbank product played for RINK Hockey Academy's U16 program last season. He scored 28 points in 24 games and added five points in five playoff games.
"The things they offer at the academy, you can't compare it to anywhere else. You go into the gym, and everything is high-tech. The trainers are awesome. Over the years, people have taught me great things on and off the ice," says Gault. "I got to play up with the U18s, as well, which was a great experience. I put up five points in ten games."
With the U16 program, Gault helped his team win their league championship.
"It's awesome winning. There's nothing better. I hate losing," Gault continues. "When we won the championship, it was a great feeling. It also kind of goes with the draft. The reputation the Portage Terriers have is that they always win, and I love that."
Now that Gault has a taste of what it's like to win, he wants to do that again at the next level. He believes he'd be able to help the Terriers immediately next season, especially on their opponent's side of the ice.
"I'm very good offensively. My offensive ability definitely improved over the year, and I've become more creative. I think I could help the team score some goals but I'm also working on my defence and the bigger parts of my game, like winning battles in corners. I think I can contribute to the Terriers' winning ways, for sure."
The 15-year-old notes he worked on his shot and offensive creativity. He says he never was able to score with a clean wrist shot until this season. Now that he knows his offence is up to par, the 5'8" 120lbs blueliner, plans to prioritize other aspects of his game in the offseason.
"I've heard it a lot from the guys in the gym. They've told me I need to put some weight on. This summer I'm going to focus a lot on nutrition, staying hydrated, and working out. I'll be getting on the ice as well, but those are the three main things I want to focus on this offseason."
Gault hopes to make the Terriers roster for the 2023-24 season when training camp rolls around in the fall.