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FUTURE WATCH | Jackson Houck

by Ashley Docking / Edmonton Oilers

“Once you hit the ice, it’s all out war.”

Those are powerful words of wisdom from Oilers prospect Jackson Houck, who has attended Oilers development camp and the Young Stars Tournament for each of the past two seasons.

To Houck, the notions that you have to fight for everything and that nothing is guaranteed are just a few of the lessons he’s learned the past few seasons.

Photo by Getty Images.

From observing drills and scrimmages, the Vancouver Giants winger has learned early on that, yes, hockey is a game but it’s not all fun. Especially, when you want to make a career out of it.

“You think about it and that’s their (NHL players) job,” Houck said. “They’re not going to let some kid take their job. So you have to come in with a mature and hard-working attitude because you’ve got a beat out a guy that’s trying to make a living out of it. You have to try to make a living for yourself and battle for it.”

While learning the approach and behavior needed to compete with the pros, Houck has also been getting constant and consistent feedback from the Oilers on which areas to nurture in order to achieve the highest performance level possible.

“I think Jackson showed signs of improvement throughout the year,” Oilers Senior Director of Player Development Rick Carriere said. “He’s got to work on his conditioning a little bit, more as a lot of young guys do, but we work with him on his foot-speed, on his acceleration, his quickness and consistently being gritty.”

Those are words the 19-year-old seriously considers when planning his fitness regimen with Giants conditioning coach Ian Gallagher.

“A lot of work off the ice,” Houck said. “Dead lifts, squats and all leg power stuff that’s going to help my first three steps.”

Photo by Getty Images

The most rewarding part about going to the gym and paying your dues is what you can show for it. Houck’s tone turned enthusiastic when asked about progress and that pretty much said it all but his response was as follows.

“I’ve actually seen a lot (of progress) this year,” he said. “I feel more fit and faster than I’ve ever felt before. I think my quickness has improved each year and I think I’m going in the right direction.”

Last season, the 2013 fourth-round pick for the Oilers had a career high 34 goals (61 points). He has seen an increase in production every year since his rookie campaign (2011).

Houck’s stock isn’t changing directions. He has 19 points (6-13-19) in 19 games this season, tied for second on the team.

However, there were some shifts made within the Vancouver organization for the 2014-15 season. Troy Ward was brought in and it’s the first time Houck has had to adjust to a new coaching approach at the WHL level. In the three previous years, he was under the tutelage of Dan Hay, who has the most WHL coaching wins among active coaches. Luckily for everyone involved, the four-year veteran and his new coach have gelled nicely.

“He (Ward) called me this summer and just got a feel for what my expectations are and what his are and we got a really good feel for each other,” Houck said. “Over the first 20 games or so this season we’ve bonded really well.”

The two coaches are similar in a lot of ways, says Houck.

Photo by Getty Images

“They’re both intense coaches, they love to win and they both try to get the best out of you.”

But ultimately, “they have different ways of treating you, and Troy thinks out of the box a bit more.”

Regardless of the system, Houck’s expectations of himself have been and will remain the same.

“I’ve always considered myself a leader, even when I was 17,” he said. “So for me to take a leadership role (again) is nothing new.“

Something else that’s old news, the 6-foot-1 Giant likes to play with an edge. Admittedly, Houck finds it hard to really get into a game if there isn’t a subtle aggressive inclination on his end.

“Just playing hard and going to the net is going to agitate guys,” Houck explained. “I don’t have to run my mouth as much but I think running around playing physical and getting to the net is going to get some guys off their game.”

Carriere agrees.

“He has some skills and a desire to go to the front of the net with some conviction,” Carriere said. “He makes opponents pay the price when he goes there. I see that as Jackson’s game.”

It also helps that he’s not afraid to mix it up with opponents.

“I’m not a huge body but a bigger body that likes to play physical,” Houck said.

It simply adds another layer to his game. Search Houck’s name on Youtube and you can see that the young Oilers prospect has some Rocky Balboa running through his blood.

The Vancouver Giants are a team that Houck has no problem laying it on the line for, as they’ve been behind him since he was a tween.

“They were the ones that selected me when I was 15-years-old and I’m from Vancouver so it was a special feeling,” he said. “It’s pretty much a family for me. I know everybody from the top to bottom very well and it’s like another home.”

  Barons Player StatsAHL StandingsBarons Schedule | Past Prospect Stats: 13-14 | 12-13 | 11-12


Stats Updated as of Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | * - Player on AHL contract with Oklahoma City Barons

Oklahoma City (AHL)


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
KEITH AULIE D 25 8 0 1 1 -6 0
BRANDON DAVIDSON D 23 6 0 2 2 0 9
TRAVIS EWANYK F 21 12 1 1 2 -4 15
MATT FORD* F 30 12 3 4 7 -3 4
MARTIN GERNAT d 21 10 0 3 3 +1 6
CURTIS HAMILTON
F 22 12 3 2 5 -4 12
RYAN HAMILTON
F 29 13 7 3 10 +1 2
KALE KESSY
F 21 12 3 3 6 -6 20
JUJHAR KHAIRA
F 20 12 1 2 3 -2 14
OSCAR KLEFBOM   d 21 7 1 7 8 +8 2
ANTON LANDER
F 23 14 4 9 13 -2 10
C.J. LUDWIG* D 24 8 1 1 2 -3 13
MARTIN MARINCIN
D 22 1 0 1 1 0 0
ANDREW MILLER F 26 12 2 6 8 0 0
MITCH MOROZ F 20 10 0 1 1 1 9
DAVID MUSIL D 21 11 0 2 2 -2 6
JORDAN OESTERLE  D 22 14 3 3 6 -5 2
IIRO PAKARINEN F 23 8 5 3 8 +4 0
STEVE PINIZZOTTO
F 30 9 0 6 6 +3 40
TYLER PITLICK
F 23 9 1 5 6 -2 6
DILLON SIMPSON
d 21 13 1 0 1 -7 2
JASON WILLIAMS*
F 34 13 6 8 14 -1 10
BOGDAN YAKIMOV
F 20 9 1 1 2 -2 4
Bakersfield (ECHL)
Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
graeme craig* D 21 15 3 2 5 0 18
mitch holmberg* F 21 8 0 1 1 -5 0
connor jones* F 24 15 4 7 11 +1 27
Kellen jones* F 24 15 2 9 11 +1 8
josh winquist* F 21 12 4 9 13 0 9
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
BEN BETKER   d 20 19 1 5 6 +7 16 EVERETT (WHL)
GREG CHASE  d 19 15 2 13 15 +2 20 CALGARY (WHL)
JACKSON HOUCK
f 19 19 6 13 19 0 18 VANCOUVER (WHL)
DARNELL NURSE D 19 10 4 9 13 +2 19 SAULT STE. MARIE (OHL)
KYLE PLATZER F 19 20 9 18 27 +11 12 OWEN SOUND (OHL)
MARCO ROY
F 20 19 10 8 18 +7 10 QUEBEC (qmjHL)
NCAA, Junior A & USHL
Name POS age  GP G A P +/- PIM team
EVAN CAMPBELL   f 21 11 3 5 8 +3 12 UMASS-LOWELL (NCAA)
LIAM COUGHLIN
F 20 21 7 8 15 0 14 VERNON (BCHL)
WILLIAM LAGESSON
d 18 14 1 9 10 +8 26 DUBUQUE (USHL)
JOEY LALEGGIA  d 22 8 5 3 8 +6 15 DENVER (NCAA)
JOHN MCCARRON   f 22 6 0 1 1 -2 6 CORNELL (NCAA)
AIDAN MUIR   F 19 9 1 2 3 0 0 WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TYLER VESEL F 20 8 1 3 4 -1 0 NEBRASKA-OMAHA (NCAA)
Europe
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ROMAN HORAK
f 23 28 15 6 21 +4 18 VITYAZ (KHL)
PHILIP LARSEN
f 24 30 1 9 10 -6 20 YUGRA (KHL)
ANTON SLEPYSHEV
f 20 29 4 5 9 -3 6 UFA (KHL)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN
F 25 18 4 3 7 -3 14 TAMPERE (FINLAND)
DANIIL ZHARKOV
F 20 6 0 0 0 +2 4 NIZHNY NOVGOROD (KHL)
2014 World Junior Hockey Championships
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
TBD - - - - - - - -   -
Goaltenders
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
RICHARD BACHMAN   27 7 3 1 3 2.72 .902 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
KEVEN BOUCHARD  18 13 3 6 2 4.58 .849 VAL D'OR (QMJHL)
LAURENT BROSSOIT 21 4 1 3 0 3.54 .888 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
TYLER BUNZ   22 4 1 2 1 2.71 .878 wichita (ECHL)
ZACHARY NAGELVOORT
20 7 2 4 0 3.31 .884 MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TY RIMMER*
22 11 6 4 1 2.71 .912 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
Frans Tuohimaa   23 3 1 1 1 2.60 .922 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
3 2 0 1 4.22 .904 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)

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