LANGLEY, British Columbia - Jake Harcoff grew up in Cloverdale, B.C.; no more than 15 kilometres from Trinity Western University.

Yet, for the 5-foot-10, 185-pound blueliner, he took the road less travelled to get to the Glover Road campus.

Harcoff’s path to TWU spanned more than 10,000 kilometres and, quite literally, crisscrossed North America.

After playing his minor hockey in Cloverdale, Harcoff spent his junior-aged days travelling the Canadian landscape.

Harcoff played his first two years of his junior career in the Junior “B” PJHL (Pacific Junior Hockey League) where, from 2007 to 2009, he played with Abbotsford, Grandview and Delta. In 2009-10, Harcoff moved up to the Junior “A” BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League), where he played 59 games with Williams Lake. Following that season, Williams Lake folded and Harcoff found his way to Dauphin, Man., where he played nine games to start the 2010-11 season with the Dauphin Kings of the MJHL (Manitoba Junior Hockey League). After his stint in Dauphin, he was sent to Halifax, where played 33 games with the Metro Marauders of the MJAHL (Maritime Junior A Hockey League).

Following that, he moved across the continent to Arizona to play for the Arizona State University Sun Devils during the 2011-12 season.

After all that, he returned to the Lower Mainland this year to join the Spartans, no more than 15 kilometres from home.

Since coming to TWU, Harcoff has been a mainstay on the TWU blue line and has netted three goals and added four assists in 15 games.

This week, the Spartan Spotlight caught up with Harcoff to learn all about the well-travelled defenceman.  

What was it like playing hockey at Arizona State?

“I loved it. It was a nice change of weather. I was tired of the cold. And surprisingly, the hockey was pretty good. Thirteen out of the 18 players who dressed every night were Canadian. It was basically all guys from B.C. and Alberta. The nicest thing was being able to come back from practice and sit outside by the pool and study.”

How did you end up at TWU?

“I contacted (TWU coach) Dwayne (Lowdermilk) because I knew him from before and I played against some of the teams he coached when I was in junior. I also live 20 minutes away so that was a big draw. With the living situation and the money it cost me to attend Arizona State, it just didn’t make much sense, so it wasn’t really in the cards.”

What do you like about TWU?

“It’s a lot more intimate here and you get a lot of help from the teachers. Here, they know you by name, which helps a lot.”

What are you studying at TWU?

“Sport and Leisure Management.

“On the side, I do some personal training and if I ever wanted my own business, the business aspect of this program would be very helpful.”

What do you like about the hockey program at TWU?

“Guys are a lot more focused here. The therapy program is insane here. We didn’t get any therapy in Arizona. And the nice thing is that people know who you are here.”

How is your on-ice role different than at Arizona State?

“I have a much bigger role here than I had in Arizona. I’m counted on for a lot of offence from the back end and that’s what I like. I always want to be in a situation where I’m a key player on the team.”

How would you describe your style of play?

“It’s a bit of a cliché term, but I’m a puck-moving defenceman. I’m not the biggest or strongest guy, so keeping possession of the puck is how I prevent goals, more so than waiting for the opposition and then trying to take them out or knock them over.  I play a speed game. My biggest asset is my skating ability and I just try to make my teammates better.”

When did you start playing hockey?

“I started playing when I was around three years old and then I started playing organized hockey when I was six. It’s become a part of my life and I can’t imagine not playing. Hockey was pretty much all I did growing up. Even in the summer, I spent my time at hockey camps and that sort of stuff.”

Who was your favourite player growing up?

“I never did hit my growth spurt, but when I was younger I was one of the bigger kids and I used to love Scott Stevens. He was a big hitter and when I was younger that was actually my game more than anything else. When I didn’t grow, I kind of had to change my style and the player I fashioned my game after. Ray Bourque is obviously a phenomenal player and a guy I tried to model myself after.”

What’s it like being partnered on defence with Blair Murphy?

“I love playing with him. He loves to contribute offensively, but he’s also my safety net back there. I feel if I take a chance and miss and it comes back the other way, I’m not worried we’re going to get scored on because he’s phenomenal in our own end. “

Do you have any hobbies away from the rink?

“I play guitar. Well, I dabble. I started playing last year when I had four roommates who all played. Growing up in Cloverdale, there’s a lot of country music. I like to play Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. It’s not my favourite type of music to listen to all the time but obviously I’ve got a country soul.”

What’s your favourite TV show?

“Workaholics. It’s about three slackers, who just hang out and have a good time. I can kind of relate it to my friends so it’s pretty funny.”

What’s your favourite type of music?

“House music. I get in trouble with the team because I like to play it in the dressing room and there aren’t too many words and you can’t really sing along to it. But I’m converting a few guys to it.”

What’s your biggest fear?

“Not being able to play hockey. That is a pretty big fear of mine because I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t play hockey. I go to the gym because I play hockey. I eat well because I play hockey. Everything is kind of because I play hockey. I probably wouldn’t be going to school if I didn’t play hockey.”

Who are three people you’d like to have dinner with?

“I’ve always been a big Bobby Orr fan and I’d like to meet him. Don Cherry.  I love Don Cherry. Paul Bissonnette. He’s pretty funny and he’s an interesting character.”

-TW-

Last Updated: 2013-02-01
Author: Mark Janzen

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