By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
Success begets success, and the program the Portage Terriers have put in place have made it a prime destination for young talented hockey players.
And it looks as though they have another blue chip prospect on their hands in rookie Jay Buchholz.
The Fargo, ND product has taken the MJHL by storm this season – he was tied for the rookie scoring lead entering the first weekend of November with six goals and 14 points in 17 games.
“It’s been a lot of fun so far – I’ve really been enjoying myself up here for these past few weeks,” said the 18-year-old forward.
Buchholz had hockey opportunities south of the border, but with the MJHL trending younger, and with more and more alumni getting scholarships, he felt playing junior A hockey in Manitoba was the right choice for him. And with the Terriers having done such an outstanding job of moving players onto the next level, Buchholz felt comfortable suiting up with the Terriers this season.
“Cody Haiskanen went to high school where I did, and he came up here for a year and had good success,” says Buchholz. “He’s now playing Division One hockey (with Cornell), so I thought this would be a great place for me to go.”
Buchholz says he reached out to the Terriers last season, and they came down and watched him play with high school squad (37 points in 27 games last season).
“They came out and watched and then put me on their 50-man roster,” he said.
The Terriers’ third-leading scorer says he has enjoyed this early success with the help of his linemates.
“I think I’m working hard, and a lot of guys around me are helping me out,” he said, noting he plays on a line with Logan Calder and Mac Walkington. “We’re just coming around as a team.”
Buchholz describes himself as a playmaker, with good vision on the ice. That explains why he has so many special teams points – one power-play goal, two power-play assists, one short-handed goal and one short-handed assist.
“I think I’m pretty good at knowing where to put the puck, and where the puck is going to be,” he said.
Joining the Terriers gives Buchholz a realistic shot at a league championship, as Portage always seems to be in the conversation these days. They also have a solid track record of moving players onto NCAA programs, which is what attracted the Fargo product to the team. But after he signed up, Buchholz and the rest of his team learned Portage will host the RBC Cup in the spring of 2020.
“I thought that announcement was pretty cool – I’ve talked to a few players on the team and they say it’s a great tournament,” said Buchholz. “It’s something you really want to play in, so I’m pretty excited.”