The upward trajectory in Darcy Walsh’s time in the CCHL and with the Ottawa Junior Senators has continued for the 2018-19 season, with the six-foot, 160-pounder named as Captain after a year in which he and the club bagged two trophies, the Bogart Cup and the Fred Page Cup.
With only nine veterans returning from last year’s triumph, Head Coach/General Manager Martin Dagenais named Walsh to captain a young group. In 2016-17, Walsh had 18 points (9G, 9A) in 55 games played, but made a massive leap last year, tallying 56 points (23G, 31A) in 61 games played for Dagenais’ men, in their double-cup winning side.
Walsh, at the instruction of Dagenais, worked on his footspeed (which Walsh considers his most valuable asset, along with his work ethic) after the 2016-17 season, which he attributes to his spike in points for the following year:
“Over the summer, I really worked on my footwork and I think it’s really underrated how important speed is. It gives you another level. That, playing with more confidence, and my work ethic, has really helped me improve. One of the things that has been consistent about my game has been my work ethic and I pride myself on working hard on every shift.”
The stats are on Walsh’s side, demonstrating the effect he has on the ice, filling the net and generating opportunities for his teammates to score. With the steps he has taken to improve his game, coupled with high roster turnover for OJS, Dagenais looked to someone to be his captain, and Walsh was that man, a role for which he has prepared himself well:
“With great power comes great responsibility,” Walsh said. “You’re seen as the main guy, and being a leader with more eyes on you, you have to make sure that you set a good example for all the younger guys: lead by example, don’t cheat in practice, and pick guys up when they need it.”
After taking home two trophies last season, complacency is not an option for OJS’ returning veterans as they look to lead a younger group, who are just as hungry as anyone else to win trophies; the grind and difficulty of the CCHL is something that the organization knows as much as any other team.
“Don’t take winning last year lightly,” said Walsh. “We had a great squad last year, not a lot of guys came back and we know it’s going to take just as much, maybe even more work in practice. We can’t take it for granted that we will win again and we can’t just expect to win again. We have to put in the work like we did last year and keep getting better every game. We have a lot of good rookies this year and our goal is to get better and better every game and by playoffs, we should be in a good spot.”
Stat wise, Walsh has picked up where he left off from last season, notching two goals and four assists in his team’s first five games, immediately demonstrating his initiative to lead by example. OJS has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start, but with a young squad that will need a bit of time to develop to the rigors of the CCHL, Walsh’s outlook on improving after every game will be key as this group learns how to play together.
In addition to his personal and team aspirations for this season, one of Walsh’s individual goals is to play in NCAA Division I after his time in the junior game. With the upward trajectory of his play during his time in the CCHL and with OJS and the drive to keep improving, Walsh has given himself every opportunity to hit all of these targets.