by Warren Rappleyea
Junior Senators defenseman Jacob Winsor may have a challenging role to play for the Central Canada Hockey League’s (CCHL) top team, but he relishes the job and it shows every time the Newmarket, ON native laces up his skates.
“At some point during the 60 minutes he’s going to impress you: It may be with his physicality, or with a fight, or just with his style of play,” Ottawa Coach Kyle Makaric said. “He’s the kind of player you want to have on your team.”
Standing at 5-11 and weighing in at 192 pounds, the 18-year-old has been a rock—albeit one that moves—on the Junior Sens blue line. Winsor’s willingness to play the body, battle hard in the corners and win loose pucks gives his team an added edge.
“Jacob’s a guy other teams really have to be aware of,” Makaric added. “They know when he’s out there and it affects the way they play.”
Every successful hockey team has players who know their specific roles and strengths. That, in turn, is what makes those teams successful.
“My job is mostly to shut down guys and be a factor on the defensive side,” he explained. “I play a really aggressive, physical, in people’s faces shutdown game. I like to hit and I can take hits as well.”
Winsor began skating at just four years of age. He played forward until he was about 11 when he joined a new team. They needed a defenseman, and the righty-shooter put up his hand.
As one of the bigger players at the time, Winsor quickly realized he could use his body to shield the puck or to angle opponents away. Once he reached the level where hitting was allowed he became more of a factor.
“Using my body to separate the man from the puck came naturally to me,” he said.
Although he’s known for his physicality, he’s outgoing and friendly off the ice and there’s also much more to Winsor’s game: He’s worked diligently during the summer months to continually upgrade his skating skills and it’s paid off as he routinely beats opponents to loose pucks.
“Jacob’s a strong skater and he has a good shot,” Makaric said. “He’s also a superb penalty killer, but he really is a classic defensive defenseman, who knows his job and knows how to play without the puck.”
Winsor came through the York Simcoe Express Minor Hockey Association. Aided by one of his trainers, the youngster earned a spot at the Hill Academy in Caledon, ON, where he spent two seasons there and served as an alternate captain.
While playing in a game against a team from Quebec at the Jim Durrell Recreation Center, Winsor came to the attention of Junior Sens General Manager Jamie Mayo and the rest of the Ottawa brass. Mayo reached out an invited the defender to practice with the Ottawa squad. That, in turn, resulted in an invitation to training camp where Winsor earned his spot.
Moving to the CCHL proved difficult at first:
“It was a totally different experience.” Winsor explained. “I was living in a new home, five hours from my own home. It was a totally different league, with new teammates and kind of a new family. I had a rough time the first month or so.”
Fortunately for Junior Senators and their fans, Winsor settled in and became a key member of the team’s blue line corps.
He credits his parents, Carrie and Kevin, with helping both him and his younger brother, who plays football, succeed in their respective sports. Ultimately Winsor is hoping to continue his career at the university level.
Now Winsor is preparing for his next experience—the Bogart Cup playoffs, where he is hoping to help Ottawa to a fourth straight championship.