Winnipeg Blues’ forward Dexter Kuczek is making his final year in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League count.
“Score a lot of goals, put up a lot of points and win a lot of games,” said Kuczek on his goal heading into the season.
Scoring goals and putting up points is exactly what he’s done. The Winnipeg native has been leading the charge on offence this season, scoring 21 goals and adding 27 assists in 29 games. He currently has the second most points in the league. And while the team struggled out of the gate, he’s confident the Blues can finish the season winning a lot of games.
“I think in the start, we got into a big hole and didn’t believe in each other which was really tough,” said Kuczek, a River East Collegiate graduate. “But we got a couple wins and the team started to believe in each other. We started to get some lines together and got our goalie situation figured out.”
Kuczek, said a big reason for his improvement this season was his conditioning. He said he worked hard this offseason, training five times a week at the YMCA. He also said Blues’ head coach Billy Keane works the team hard in practice and the results for him have paid off.
“My conditioning has been the best since I’ve joined the Blues,” said Kuczek.
While Kuczek has found a home with the Blues, it took him a while to get there. He started his MJHL career with the Portage Terriers and played there from 2013-15. From there, he joined the Selkirk Steelers for two seasons before being traded to Winnipeg in 2016.
Kuczek, who hopes to play U-Sports hockey next fall, said he’s learned a lot in his six seasons in the league and has some advice for the younger players.
“You really need to enjoy it because before you know it, you’re in your last year. It goes by really fast. Whether you’re sitting on the bench or playing big minutes, you just got to enjoy it. You can’t play junior hockey when you’re 30 so enjoy every moment,” he said.