A life full of hockey for red-hot Jansen Harkins
WINNIPEG – In the ninth game of his third regular season in the American Hockey League, Jansen Harkins registered an assist on every single Manitoba Moose goal in a 5-3 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins.
It was a career best point total, and the start of a streak that grabbed the attention of the AHL.
The 22-year-old has now scored 25 points (4 goals, 21 assists) in his last 16 games, shooting to the top of the scoring race with 28 points in 24 games, while being named the Player of the Month for November.
“It was kind of my second half last year that I think I was kind of starting to turn the corner I guess,” said Harkins. “And just tried to keep the momentum going into this year.”
“His own investment in himself, that’s the product we’re seeing right now,” said Moose head coach Pascal Vincent. “The time he’s spent in the gym, and studying the game, and spending time with the assistant coaches learning what needs to be done at this level.”
Harkins has been surrounded by the game his entire life, born in Cleveland, Ohio near the tail end of his dad Todd Harkins’ 11 year professional career.
“My dad was playing somewhere when I was born, so we were kind of just moving around,” he said, “He was in Europe for a bit, (had) been in the minors for a long time in his career.”
Todd’s expertise in the sport has since lent itself to cinema as a hockey coordinator for the 2008 movie “Slap Shot 3: The Junior League” that included a small role, as well as an appearance in the 2004 Disney film “Miracle”, where he was featured as a member of the Soviet Union hockey team that would lose to the United States in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
“I wouldn’t say he’s like a movie star, I think he had one close up in “Miracle”,” said Harkins with a grin. “Most of the guys on our team know, if we’re watching it I’ll point it out to my friends back home. I don’t think he’s like a hotshot or anything like that.”
Harkins was then quick to point out that his dad’s knowledge of the game has helped him get to where he is now.
“Always around, always supportive,” he said. “He always knew what to say when it comes to hockey, and the adversity that comes with it sometimes.”
He’s showing he can excel playing in the American League, and now Harkins has his eye on his first call up to the Winnipeg Jets.
“Just play consistently I think,” he said of what he wants to accomplish with his game. “I’ve still got things I can improve on, and I’m working with the coaches. Just go from there, and hopefully it comes.”