Deven Sideroff never expected his Western Hockey League debut to go this well.
But, as the Kamloops Blazers winger said, that's what happens when you're lining up with two 19-year-olds.
"The points I've been putting up has been unbelievable, playing with [Cole] Ully and [Matt] Needham," the 17-year-old said. In 16 games this season, the forward is third in team scoring with 17 points, including eight goals, trailing only linemates Ully (26) and Needham (20).
"It makes it so much easier for me to fit into this league the way I am."
Sideroff is a native of Summerland, B.C. and is in the throes of his first full campaign in the WHL. He played in parts of two other seasons with the Blazers— two games in 2013-2014 and two games in 2012-2013—after being listed by the club in 2012 and signed in 2013.
In the sixteen games he has played this year, he has more than doubled his previous career point total in the WHL (eight).
He and fellow rookie Jake Kryski have been pleasant surprises for a Kamloops Blazers team that many expected to have problems scoring this season—but that hasn't been the case this far. Following the club's 16th game, they had the fourth-most goals in the league (58).
"I just wanted to be a top-six forward and play my game all year, throughout the year, consistently, maybe put up a few points," Sideroff said.
He played his 2013-14 hockey with the Okanagan Hockey Academy when not with the Blazers and was a dominant player for the club. In a combined 66 games, the winger posted 115 points, including 50 goals.
"[Needham and Ully] really put some confidence into me and showed me how to play the game in this league and it has worked so far for me."
Sideroff acknowledged that areas of his game still need work. He said he needs to learn to be more patient with the puck and more aware of his surroundings.
He is also on the smaller side right now—while he's 5-foot-11, he weighs in at just 178 pounds—but size will come over the next few seasons.
Small or not, Sideroff has burst onto the scene for the Kamloops Blazers and he's not planning to stop anytime soon.
"It's definitely shocking to me, but it feels really good and I want to stay on the top of the scoring list for the team," he said.
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