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Jason Creighton planning to build on rookie season

Jason Creighton of Fort Macleod was the Coaldale Copperheads Rookie of the Year during the 2018-’19 Heritage Junior Hockey League season. Photo by Cindy Adachi.

Coming off a strong rookie season, Jason Creighton is intent on playing a bigger role with the Coaldale Copperheads.
Creighton, 18, was named Rookie of the Year by the Copperheads at the end of the 2018-’19 Heritage Junior Hockey League season.
“Being named top rookie gives me tons of motivation heading into the new season because I want to have a primary role with the Copperheads through the whole season and just to be a better player for the team,” Creighton said.
Creighton played Minor Hockey in Fort Macleod, Bantam AA with the Southwest Rockies, and finished his minor career with the Midget AA Lethbridge Hurricane Hounds.
In his final year of Midget hockey with the Hounds Creighton scored five goals and assisted on 19 others for 24 points in 33 regular season games, with 60 penalty minutes.
The Hounds placed first in regular season with 30 wins, eight losses and four ties and went undefeated in playoffs to win the championship.
After graduating from F.P. Walshe school in 2018, Creighton considered his options to continue his hockey career.
He planned to play Junior A hockey in Ontario last season but that didn’t work out.
“I was really disappointed and coming home I didn’t really have a plan for the hockey season anymore but the Coaldale Copperheads had reached out to me and I thought it would be a great opportunity to join a very good competitive team. ”
A perennial Heritage league powerhouse, the Copperheads had placed second in the league the previous season and made it to the Junior B provincial championships.
The six foot, 220-pound Creighton certainly had the size to play Junior hockey but admits there was an adjustment to playing in the Heritage league.
“I found that the Heritage league was a lot more physical and intimidating than Midget AA,” Creighton said. “I had to adjust from being one of the older
guys in Midget to one of the rookies in the Heritage league and I had to work harder than I did before if I wanted to have success.”
As expected with first-year players, Creighton played a limited role with the Copperheads in the early stages of the season.
As the year progressed and he adjusted to the fast pace and physicality of the Heritage league, Creighton got more ice time and was counted on to play a significant role.
“My confidence was strong at the beginning of the season coming off the incredible season my Midget AA team had but then I was injured with
a concussion,” Creighton explained. “Coming back from that my confidence kind of took a hit for a little while but by February I was playing good and
had a lot more confidence in myself, especially with earning a more meaningful role with the team.”
Creighton got more and more playing time and by the end of the season was able to play on the power play as well.
Creighton suited up for 30 games with the Copperheads last season, scoring seven goals and setting up 11 others. He also had 90 penalty minutes.
The Copperheads placed second in the Heritage league’s south division last season to earn a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
In the next round, the Copperheads edged Medicine Hat Cubs 4-3 in a best-of-seven series.
That win put the Copperheads into the south semifinals, where they beat Cochrane Generals 4-1.
In the south division final the Copperheads were swept 3-0 by the first-place Airdrie Thunder, who went on to beat Mountainview Colts 4-2 for the championship.
The Copperheads earned a berth in the provincial Junior B championships at Wetaskiwin where they won their first game but lost their next two and failed to make the playoff round.
In the Junior B provincial tournament Creighton had three goals and two assists in three games.
“I was satisfied with how my season ended because I felt I played strong throughout the playoffs and at the provincial tournament but I felt that I could’ve played a better game during the entire season,” said Creighton, who listed strong vision and his ability to win battles as two strengths as a player.
The first-year Copperhead was still surprised to be named his team’s Rookie of the Year at the end of season banquet.
“I was very proud to be Rookie of the Year because we had a very good group of rookie players for our team.”
The award is motivating Creighton to have a better all-around game this season and to produce more offensively.
“Coaldale has lost some key players from being overage, and some starting new elsewhere, but I feel like we will be a strong team again.”
The Copperheads tryouts start Sept. 5-7.
“I like the atmosphere with the Copperheads and all the positive energy. Everyone was so welcoming last year and that was huge for me being an 18-year-old rookie.”
Creighton spent his gap year after high school working with Infinity Property Care.
He is enrolled in general studies this fall at Lethbridge College with plans to take Criminal Justice at the college the following year.
The young product of Fort Macleod said he has had a few people in his corner throughout his career.
“My biggest influences for my hockey career would be my dad and mom as well as Kalib Thunder Chief,” Creighton said. “The support of them means the world to me because I wouldn’t be able to play competitive hockey if it weren’t for them.”

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