Cruâ??s Healey a defensive comet

Crusader Josh Healey is having what the aged townsfolk of Hockeyville call a break out year.

The once conscientious stay-at-home defencman has turned into a maverick two-way stalwart. Leading the Cru defence in points (10-12-22), he is attracting more than just cliches and is getting the attention of the entire Alberta Junior Hockey League and not just for his proverbial “hard work in the corners.”

“Coming in I wanted to play a bigger role,” Healey said. “Last year I was just feeling out the league and seeing where I fit. Now that I am playing a bigger role, I’m happy with that. Now I want to help take the team to a championship.”

Healey credits his growth to making the best of situational timing. He didn’t climb a mountain and drink poppy tea with a swami, he didn’t slay and then eat the gall bladder of a mythical beast, he just worked hard and accepted opportunities. To apply another cliche, “he earned it.” According to Crusaders head coach Tim Fragle, he earned it by listening to those around him.

“It was something that we wanted him to do this year, we really wanted him to be more a part of the rush,” Fragle said. “We thought he had those capabilities because last year was fairly defensive minded, but, we knew he had the offensive skills to do that. That was one of the things we talked with him about last year, we wanted him to take more chances. In our opinion, he is one of the best defencemen in the league.”

Earning a silver medal in the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth Nova Scotia was Healey’s hero test. Not only did he get a priceless experience, but in the end garnered attention from across the nation.

“That really helped me,” he said. “I was playing with the best guys in my age group and I realized that I could compete at that level. Now, since I brought that back here, I’m just going to keep going and keep trying to play the way I did with Team Canada.”

Last month saw Healey get schooled. Committing himself to the Ohio State Buckeyes, Healey now has a brighter future in both professional and intellectual capacities.

“That was obviously a goal this year, and playing in the Challenge got me more exposed to schools,” Healey described. “I was a little hesitant, had a bit of interest, but nothing serious. Then it all worked out, which is very fortunate. I wasn’t expecting anything, but I was hoping. I’m glad it worked out.”

Healey’s next goals are rational and pragmatic. He doesn’t want to build an underwater city, nor does he want to eat his weight in buried Spanish treasure (that would be ridiculous). No, Healey just wants what any hockey player wants. He wants to win a championship with the team he’s with, and wants to win it now.

“I’m playing well, the boys are playing well, so there isn’t much I’d want to change,” he said. “I just want to keep everything moving forward and keep the guys going and take a run at this.”

The Crusaders next game is against the Spruce Grove Saints on Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in Spruce Grove. Their next home game is Sunday, Feb. 24 against the Grande Prairie Storm at 2:15 p.m.

Sherwood Park News