Arjun Badh has taken the next chapter of his hockey career to Burnaby Mountain.
The 21-year-old Richmond native had a leading role in his hometown Sockeyes capturing last spring’s Cyclone Taylor Cup.
Badh concluded his Pacific Junior Hockey League career with his most productive season — finishing second in team scoring with 49 points in 44 games, including 21 goals as an alternate captain. He added 14 more in as many playoff games in helping the Sockeyes win their sixth provincial title in franchise history.
His impressive play in the tournament caught the eye of Simon Fraser University head coach Mark Coletta. Badh signed his letter of intent soon after and enrolled in SFU’s criminology program.
The Clan are part of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League that also includes Selkirk College, Trinity Western, UVic and Vancouver Island University.
SFU opens its regular season schedule with a two-game series this weekend against Selkirk in Castlegar.
It comes after a busy exhibition schedule that included a trip to Alaska to take on a couple of NCAA Division One schools — Anchorage and Fairbanks.
The adjustment has been a significant one for Badh who has gone from one of more dominant players in the PJHL to having to prove himself at a level loaded with major junior and junior “A” grads.
The fact he has always been noted for his two-way play certainly has helped.
“It’s a huge step up. You just have to look at where most of the players in this league have come from,” said Badh who worked hard over the off-season in preparation for the challenge. “I had to show I belonged right from training camp and with the big roster sizes (SFU has 29) there is no guarantee you are going to be in the line-up every game either.
“Not saying it was easy but in the PJHL you were always going to get your (scoring) opportunities. Here it’s about having to do all the little things well for your team to succeed like going into the corners and winning those battles for the puck.”
So far, Coletta has been impressed with Badh’s preparation and his work rate.
“Arjun did a great job coming into camp ready to compete, something all our forwards will have to do this season. He is a big body that can really get up and down the ice and we expect him to bring a physical element to our lineup.”
Badh didn’t have look far to find some familiar faces.
SFU’s recruiting classes also included Jordan Funk and Mitch Newsome — a pair of forwards with plenty of junior “A” experience who joined the Sockeyes exclusively for last season’s Cyclone Taylor Cup run.
Badh has also quickly established friendships beyond his two former teammates. He has no classes on Fridays which helps with his busy hockey schedule that includes daily practices at Bill Copeland Arena and weekend games.
“We have a nice little network going where we have time in our schedules to study together,” added Badh. “We are all here for the same thing and that’s to play hockey and have good grades.”