Jr. Grizz alum Jackson a trailblazer for Utah youth hockey
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Logan Jackson has done something this season that no former Utah Jr. Grizzlies player has done, perhaps ever.
The 18-year-old defenseman and Riverside native went straight from the Jr. Grizzlies program to the Canadian junior hockey ranks, suiting up for the La Ronge Ice Wolves of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League this season. Most Utah kids leave the state at 14 or 15 for higher levels of the game, but Jackson never left.
“Honestly, I hope this opens a ton of eyes for the youth players here,” said Jr. Grizzlies 16U and 18U AA coach Darryl Olsen. “Utah is not a hockey hotbed and most of the players here in Utah really do not understand what it takes to get there. Logan committed to an on- and off-ice program my wife, Chrissy, and I designed for him. I started training Logan when he was five years old, and he has been doing year-round training with us since then.”
With the Ice Wolves, Jackson is wearing uniform No. 6, Olsen’s number when he played college and pro hockey during the 1980s and 1990s.
“I have adjusted pretty well with La Ronge,” said Jackson. “Things really aren’t too different here. Adjusting has been easier, though, with being at the rink every day, as that is where I spent a lot of my time back home.”
Jackson played seven seasons with the Jr. Grizzlies, starting when he was a second-year Squirt. He also played for the Golden Spike Jr. Wildcats from Mini-Mites until going to the Jr. Grizzlies.
What makes Jackson’s story all the more surreal is that in the past four years, he has grown eight inches and added 60 pounds while maintaining under 12 percent body fat. At the age of 14, he was barely five feet tall and 100 pounds.
With his eyes now firmly fixed on playing NCAA hockey down the line, Jackson is focused on making an impact as a rookie in La Ronge.
“I just hope I am representing Utah hockey well,” Jackson said. “And hopefully, I won’t be the last to do so.”
— Matt Mackinder