Jackson Keane didn’t think he played like his father Mike Keane.
It wasn’t until he got put into a role similar to his father, who played in nearly 1,200 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks, collecting 881 penalty minutes to go with his three Stanley Cup rings.
After putting up 36 goals and 99 points in 103 Manitoba Junior Hockey League games with the Winnipeg Blues, Keane scored 11 goals and added 25 points in 76 U.S. Hockey League games with the Sioux City Musketeers. With the Musketeers, he played on the third and fourth line.
“I think I kind of learned that I do have it.
“I can get under guys skin a little bit. I think I just need to be smart when I decide to do that,” he smiled. “I’ve heard that we have similarities to our game, but I’d like to think I’m a little more skilled than he was. He’s probably a lot tougher than I’ll ever be.”
Keane, 20, wasn’t acquired for Turner Ripplinger to play that type of role.
He was told by the Vees coaching staff they want him to be the player he was with the Blues. That’s music to his ears.
“I’m an offensive smaller forward (listed on the Vees website at 5-9, 170 pounds). In the past I know the Vees are used to having players like that. I think the B.C. Hockey League for a lot of people is considered an offensive league,” said Keane. “It’s a run and gun kind of league. That’s how I play. USHL I don’t think is like that. I kind of developed into a defensive role player in Sioux city and I want to get back to my offensive game.”
Keane and his father talk hockey. His father works with the Winnipeg Jets and will tell him he is putting “his scout hat on whenever we really talk about hockey.”
“He just kind of gives ins on certain things,” said Keane. “I think he has taught me a lot about the game. He has taught me a lot about off ice part of the game. This year I think I needed to work on my strength and cardio. He showed me a few things, little tips. I think it’s going to help out a lot.”
One thing that stands out about his father is his work ethic. Keane was known for being one of the hardest working guys on his teams. That is something the younger Keane wants to bring. Being a good teammate and doing things the right way.
Keane got to watch his father play for the Canucks and the last five years with the Manitoba Moose, which he said was pretty cool.
“I got to see kind of how pro hockey works, that side of the game,” he said.
Committed to the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, Keane has found chemistry with returning Vees Chris Klack. Keane has also briefly played with Ryan Sandelin, when he was called up to the Musketeers.
“I think we’ve got a really good team. “I’m really excited for our older guys that are coming back,” he said. “Then the younger guys that are coming in, guys like Luke Reid and Lukas Sillinger. Those guys are good players. They are going to be big for us.”
Keane liked how the first week of camp went, which included hitting the ice with the Anaheim junior Ducks, saying it was really high tempo.
The Vees played their first exhibition game Wednesday in West Kelowna with the Ducks, winning 6-3 at Royal LePage Place. Cassidy Bowes led the Vees with a hat-trick, while Ducks defenceman Dylan Gutierrez scored, as did Shane Allan and Matthew Byrne. Nolan Hildebrand saw action in net for the Vees.
On Friday, the Vees will play their annual Peaches Cup game at 5 p.m. at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Admission is free.