Golden Sheaf: Farming and hockey excellence runs deep in Stars’ Allan’s blood

The Oxford Dictionary defines a ‘role model’ as a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated’.

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is full of people who can be described as such. Still, as in the case of Jackson Allan of the Battlefords North Stars, the effect is magnified when that individual has remarkable role models of their own.

Allan’s father Chad was part of the original ‘Drive for 5’, the five-straight World Junior Championships Canada won in the mid-1990s. He was also drafted in the third round by the Vancouver Canucks in 1994, while amid a long career with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League.

His uncle Ken, who partners with Chad on the farm with their father, was a WHL pick himself. At the same time, Ken’s boys are Chicago Blackhawks first-rounder and World Junior gold medalist Nolan, University of Carleton Ravens (USPORTS) centreman Blake, and Melville Millionaires prospect Evhan.

Led by Jackson’s dad, the North Star has no shortage of remarkable examples to follow on and off the ice.

“I can’t say enough about how grateful I am for what I have in him as a support,” Allan says.

“Honestly one of the things I’m so grateful for is that although he played at such a high level and so many people in my family play at such high levels, it never felt like pressure. To have that support, for them to know what I’m going through, I can just feel it without them having to say anything specific. It’s hard to explain and I could see how like outside looking in you could be like holy that’s a lot of pressure, but it really isn’t.”

Allan, of Davidson, SK and a dual grain and livestock farm 25 kilometres from it, is in his second year with the Stars.

A speedy, reliable centreman, he was one of the best rookies in the league a year ago out of the Moose Jaw Warriors U18s, and the fact that his development has been steady should come as no surprise given the lessons of hard work and determination, he learned in the fields of central Saskatchewan.

“I think discipline is a big part (of what I learned from farming),” he says.

“You do a lot of hard work out there all by yourself. You really get to know yourself and, that’s not easy while doing a lot of the work that we do out there. You must find a way to enjoy yourself through the work, and I think that’s helped a lot through my career so far. You go through rough patches, but you still have to learn to find something good in it and know that you’re going to get the work done eventually; you’re going to get the benefits out of it eventually.”

Wise words.

On the ice, Allan has experienced nothing but domination.

Battlefords won 48 games last regular season, won 16 of 17 in the SJHL playoffs, and only lost in the final of the Centennial Cup. This year has been more of the same, with 33 wins from 47, and a strong hold on second place in the standings.

His production has grown from nine goals to 16 at the time of writing and is one of the premium match-up forwards in the league, tasked nightly with shutting down the best the league has to offer.

On the farm his job often has to do with taking care of the livestock, often raising early with his cousin Blake without a complaint, and that infectious, mature, positive attitude comes through very clearly.

“My earliest memory was going out to feed the guy supper,” he says.

“I remember we used to pack the old farm truck full of food and park out there. We’d have like a ‘redneck picnic’ around six o’clock for everybody that was either harvesting or seeding; they’re good times. I’m so lucky to be able to grow up out there (on the farm).”

The Full Interview with Jackson Allan of the Battlefords North Stars can be found below.

Article written and produced by Jamie Neugebauer. Credit: SJHL

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