Date: 
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Author: 
Peter Kung

The Victoria Cougars continue to move players onto the next level.

17-year-old forward Darwin Lakoduk has signed with the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League for the 2018-19 campaign.

Cougars head coach Suneil Karod, a former scout for the Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL), needed to watch Lakoduk play only once before signing him.

“It was all I needed to see that there was something special about him,” Karod said.  “Darwin is very dedicated as well as being a hard worker and a student of the game.”

A native of Vernon, British Columbia, changing scenery from Edmonton, Alberta, where he played last year, to Vancouver Island was a seamless transition for Lakoduk.

That is because the Cougars employ a full-time billeting coordinator to make sure that no player goes without a roof over his head.

Lakoduk is currently leading the Cougars in scoring and is a candidate to win the Larry Lamoureaux Trophy for rookie of the year honours in the nine-team Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

After playing for the Northern Alberta Xtreme Prep last season, the five-foot-ten, 158-pound centre is very thankful that Karod recruited him to play for the Cougars.

“I couldn't ask for more supportive and dedicated coaches.  They gave me opportunities to play in all game situations and were committed to developing me as a player to achieve my goal of moving onto the next level of hockey,” Lakoduk said.

Other VIJHL players recently committing to BCHL clubs for 2018-19 include Pearce Messer (Campbell River Storm to Alberni Valley) and Greyson Weme (Oceanside Generals to Nanaimo Clippers) while Campbell River’s Ethan Schmunk went to the Powell River Kings and Nanaimo’s Lucas Patton to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs earlier in January.