An Okotoks Oiler went on an anti-Atkins diet over the summer and is now throwing some meaty checks around the Alberta Junior Hockey League this season.
“I put on about 15 pounds over the summer,” said Oiler forward Jeff Barrett. “It’s definitely noticeable out there. When someone comes to hit me they kind of bounce off. I worked out a lot and ate as much food as I could. I was able to turn most of the carbs I ate into muscle.”
Barrett stands six-foot-two and weighs 200 pounds.
Confidence has given his game as much of a boost as the extra muscle. He admited to be a little awestruck in his first year with the Oilers last season.
“Just having that year under your belt really opened up my eyes,” the 19-year-old said. “Coming in as a vet gave me a lot more confidence in my ability.”
Barrett has missed a large part of the season because he was recovering from a torn MCL in his knee suffered in the fifth game of the year. Although not as serious as the dreaded torn ACL, which would have likely ended his season, Barrett has played just 18 of the Oilers’ 47 games going into the weekend.
He said he is now close to 100 per cent health wise.
“I think I’m supposed to take care of my own end and put a few in the back of the net,” Barrett said. “In Midget, I scored quite a bit and I lost it some last year. I am starting to get it back.”
He has seven goals and nine assists in his 18 games this season. Barrett finished with 10 goals and 16 assists last season.
Barrett is playing on an all-purpose line with veterans Derek Rodwell and Chris Duszynski.
“Since Jeff got back, he has been one of our best players,” said Oilers assistant coach Chris Beston. “I don’t think that line has a designated role. They are good at everything.”
The reason the trio was put together is obvious to the eye.
“Size,” Oilers head coach Garry VanHereweghe said. “They are three guys who have an extremely hard work ethic. They skate in straight lines, they don’t dipsy-doodle all over the place. They are big and strong and a great line for forechecking and get the puck in deep. They pressure the puck very well… It’s a valuable line that we can put in any situation.”
Rodwell is six-foot-two and 200 pounds while and Duszynski tips the Toledo at 185 pounds on his six-foot frame.