Turgeon helping to guide young

Dan Falloon

Kyle Turgeon is doing his part to help the youthful Portage Terriers to Manitoba Junior Hockey League glory.
But the 20-year-old Fort Frances product sounds like he could be useful as some Hollywood help, too.
The movie “Goon,” featuring Seann William Scott (“American Pie” trilogy) and Jay Baruchel (“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “She’s Out of My League”), has taken over the team’s brand-new PCU Centre, including a new paint job in the Terriers’ dressing room.
Turgeon noted that by all reports, perhaps his teaching skills could come in handy.
“Seann William Scott has been there,” he said. “I guess he’s a pretty shaky skater, has a tough time skating.
“He’s bringing lots of laughs on the ice, that’s for sure.”
Turgeon acknowledged that while he hasn’t been at the arena for any shoots, he might try to check one out later in the week and see if he can land on the big screen as an extra.
In the end, however, Turgeon is committed to the task at hand: trying to land the Terriers another championship.
Portage had won the Turnbull Cup three out of four years before the Dauphin Kings rolled to the title last year.
Turgeon noted the Terriers got off to a less-than-stellar start to the season, sitting at the .500 mark through their first 10 games. Since then, however, they’ve won nine of 11 to climb to within two points of the division-leading Swan Valley Stampeders with three games in hand.
“We’re actually a really young team this year,” said Turgeon, who has notched five goals and two assists in 21 games so far.
“We kind of had a rough start getting all the new guys coming into the dressing room,” he remarked.
“But in the last month, we had a good homestand there and we’ve really come together as a team, and it’s really showed in our play and working our way up the standings.”
The focus for this season is to exact revenge on the Stampeders, who dispatched the Terriers in the first round of the playoffs this past spring.
Turgeon acknowledged that as a 20-year-old in his final year of junior hockey, he has a little extra fire to hoist the trophy and go out on top.
“That’s the big goal for this year is to do something and hopefully improve on last year,” he said. “We came on strong at the end of the season [but] faltered early in playoffs.
“Hopefully, we have another strong season and carry it out through playoffs, and if all goes well, another championship would be huge.”
Portage already is at an advantage, having won their lone meeting with Swan Valley so far this season—a 3-1 home decision last month.
“It’s always a good rivalry and we always have good games with them,” noted Turgeon.
“We’ve already played them once this year and came out on top, so I can’t complain about that so far.”
Turgeon, in his second year as an assistant captain with the Terriers, has done his best to get Portage’s newest additions acclimatized to daily life in the MJHL.
“It’s a big step from ‘AAA’ hockey up to the junior level, and there’s bigger boys up in the junior league,” he explained.
“The guys have to come to play every night and we’ve really installed that in our rookies this year.
“It’s showed in their point production and they’ve played great all year in not letting other teams get to them,” he noted.
Portage’s top two scorers are just 15 and 17 years old, respectively.
Turgeon is on a line with fellow veteran Cory More while a right-winger is rotated to play with them.
“Me and Cory More are pretty much stuck together,” he explained. “We do the penalty kill, and we match up against the league’s top lines and try to shut ’em down every night.”
While they’re tasked with more of a defensive role, Turgeon still does his best to contribute offensively.
He scored the eventual game-winner in a 4-2 win over Steinbach on Nov. 2, and also is proud of being able to score in both of Portage’s games at the MJHL “Showcase” weekend at the brand-new MTS Iceplex in Winnipeg last month.
“We haven’t been doing too bad, either. It’s good when you can shut ’em down and get a few goals for, too,” Turgeon chuckled.
“I actually had a couple during the ‘Showcase’ weekend, which is pretty big for me and pretty exciting with the crowds that were there.”
Terriers’ coach Blake Spiller has been thrilled to have Turgeon as a part of his team, explaining he tends to lead by example.
“He is an extremely hard-working guy and the consummate team player,” Spiller lauded. “[He’s] a quiet guy that lets his actions do most of his talking­—our young guys really look up to him.
“We know what we can expect day in and day out from Kyle, and feel very fortunate to have him a part of our organization,” added Spiller.
“He will be a key person to any success we have as a group going forward.”
Turgeon said he’s enjoyed his time in Portage as the new arena, which opened for this season, has drawn a number of fans to Terrier games, including nearly 1,400 on opening night.
“We’ve been getting good fan support all year,” he enthused.
“It’s a really nice facility, state-of-the-art and probably one of the tops in the league, and it’s a privilege to play in a facility like that.”