PENTICTON VEES forward Cody DePourcq has made a point of being more dangerous near the oppositions net. It’s resulted in him scoring 13 goals in 35 games

DePourcq impresses his coach, teammates and fans

Penticton product Cody DePourcq has had a strong season because of hard work and added confidence

Confidence is the theme when talking about the success Cody DePourcq is having this season.

The Penticton Minor Hockey and Okanagan Hockey Academy grad has been very happy with his play and it’s a direct result from how he feels on the ice.

“I’m taking the puck to the net more and I’m shooting the puck a lot more too,” he said. “I’m just trying to do all the little things. Defensively I’m working my butt off and trying to help the team.”

Offensively, DePourcq admits he expected more of himself his first two years, but he’s not too concerned with that now. It’s been more important to him that the Vees win and that he doesn’t let the opposition score. Like most players, he enjoys turning on the red light. He believes his offensive success, 13 goals and 28 points in 35 games, has come from being a straight shooter.

“When you shoot the puck you create rebounds, you create traffic in front of the net,” said DePourcq, who considers himself a leader on the Vees and takes pride in helping the younger players.

DePourcq then quoted Wayne Gretzky.

“You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.”

His summer training was normal. He shot a lot of pucks and focused on getting stronger and said it’s been nice having more weight, though he recently shed some pounds, putting his 5-foot-5 frame in the 150-pound range.

The strength helped him score one of his favou-+rite goals this season against the Vernon Vipers in the crease area.

“A puck came through and I think the defenceman blocked it. I just pushed it forward and I had three guys around me,” recalled DePourcq. “I was already falling over so I tried to put as much weight as I could into the puck and I ended up being in the air. Just shot it and it went in. I was a little surprised. I was going blocker side. I was happy it went in.”

Vees coach Fred Harbinson always knew what he was getting in DePourcq.

“I think his game has evolved over the last couple of years,” said Harbinson. “He’s one of our key contributors in every area of the game.”

Last year the Vees counted on DePourcq to be a solid checker, now it’s to produce.

“He’s playing on one of our power play units. He’s one of the guys that still plays hard against the other teams’ top lines and kills penalties,” said Harbinson.

Harbinson said outside expectations are hardly fair. DePourcq has paid his dues with the Vees when he could have been ringing up big numbers in midget.

“I think he’s learned to play the game the right way,” said Harbinson. “He’s won a national championship. He understands how to win.”

What DePourcq has done hasn’t gone unnoticed by teammates.

Vees captain Brad McClure describes him as a hard worker. Because of that, he’s earned good bounces at the net.

“It motivates me to play to be honest,” said McClure of watching DePourcq. “He’s a small guy, but he’s got a big heart. I think a lot of the guys on the team see that.”

“You look at a guy like Cody and you say you want to play like him because he works so hard,” said linemate Matt Serratore. “So determined. Makes a lot of good decisions out there.”

Serratore credits DePourcq for his improvement as a player and his adjustment to the BCHL.

“I think I learn a lot from watching him. Playing with him everybody has to step up their game,” he said. “He’s such a good player.”

Travis Blanleil, DePourcq’s other linemate, said it’s obvious when he plays well.

“You can tell he’s lit up,” said Blanleil. “The crowd loves when he scores. He loves it too.”

What impresses Blanleil is DePourcq’s work ethic each day.

“Being such a small guy, he doesn’t let it affect him at all,” said Blanleil, adding that DePourcq has a no-quit attitude and fearless mentality that allows him go up against bigger players.

What Harbinson loves about coaching DePourcq is that he’s such a great kid.

“There’s a reason people in town love him. I think people root for good people,” he said. “I think the reason everybody cheers for Cody and want to see him have success, there’s never a moment he’s not thinking about somebody else or his teammate or somebody on the street. He always has time for the people around him. He’s one of those key guys that lives his life the right way.”