Third year Yorkton Terrier Chase Norrish has been named Defenceman of the Year in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
“It’s obviously comforting to get something like that,” said the 20-year-old rearguard. “It’s great to get something like that.
“It means a lot. I didn’t expect anything like this.”
But Norrish said awards like Top Defenceman are not something you earn without help.
He noted when the offence is scoring like the Terriers have all season, they lead the league in team scoring (186), it helps the defence.
“It makes my job a lot easier,” he said.
As a rushing defenceman, Norrish said it helps to know that he has competent Terrier forwards who will cover for him if he gets deep into the offensive zone.
Having good defensive mates helps too. This season Norrish has been paired with both Devon McMullen and Dylan Baer at different times.
“They’re both very good hockey players … They gave me a lot of help,” he said. “When I rush the puck I know they’re going to have my back.”
Even as the Terriers blueliners rushed a lot this season their defence was still tops in the league. They allowed a league low 125 goals.
Norrish said assistant coach Casey O’Brien who focuses on the rearguard “was pretty proud of us.”
It helped the Terriers also had the league’s Outstanding Goaltender Kale Thomson as the last line of defence.
“We know when we’ve got Kale, we’re pretty comfortable doing what we do,” said Norrish.
While Norrish is a defenceman, jumping up to play offence is a big part of his game as well. He led all SJHL defencemen in scoring in the regular season with nine-goals and 45-points, 11th best in overall scoring.
Norrish is tied for the overall playoff lead with nine after one semi-final game with Austin Dae of the Estevan Bruins. However he will no doubt pass Daae as the Bruins are already eliminated from the playoffs.
Norrish said a lot of his offence comes from skating.
“Skating is a big part of the game now,” he said, adding when he looks at the importance of skating he does so in using his speed “the whole length of the ice.”
Overall Norrish said it has been teammates who have allowed him to play his game.
“I just play the game how I know I can,” he said. “I just try to keep my head focused on every game … I just try to do my best every game and every period.”
Norrish is hoping his time with the Terriers in his final Junior season extends into May, but when his Junior time comes to an end his next step in hockey is set.
He and twin brother Brady have already accepted scholarships to play this fall at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York state.
The pair went on a campus visit earlier this season, and Chase said they liked what they saw.
“It was an amazing place. It was a very impressive place. I’m pretty excited to get back there,” he said.