Hunt having solid preseason

(Marc Smith/  Daemon Hunt can’t play in the Western Hockey League full time until next season, but he’s showing so far during the preseason that he’s more than capable right now.

Hunt scored his first goal of the preseason and added an assist in the Moose Jaw Warriors’ 6-2 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday night at Mosaic Place.

Despite both teams sporting younger lineups, Warriors head coach Tim Hunter came away impressed with how Hunt is able to handle himself at this level.

“That was one of his best games,” said Hunter.  “His composure with the puck, his ability to do his homework before he gets the puck and know where it’s going when he gets it make his game look so much easier than the other guys out there.

“It’s a shame that he’s 15 because he could play right now if he was 16 and he’ll play next year as a 16 if he keeps progressing in the same direction.”

Hunt has been impressing since the moment he stepped on the ice during Warriors’ training camp last month.  He’s received the chance to stay with the team over the past few weeks and play in three preseason games, improving each time out.

The Brandon, MB product said he’s seen his game progress over these past few weeks.

“Looking back from the first game against Swift Current to today, I’ve progressed a lot,” he said.  “That first game was fast and now I’ve got use to the speed, it’s still fast out there and I still need to make a lot of quick plays, but I feel that I’m getting use to the pace and a handle on the WHL.”

The Warriors selected Hunt with the 15th overall pick in this spring’s WHL Bantam Draft.  He came highly touted at the time and has lived up to those expectations so far during his time in the team’s organization.

Hunt said he’s focused on continue to push his game.

“This experience is going to help me a lot when I go back to Midget AAA, making better and quicker plays,” said Hunt.

“This has made a better hockey player and I’ve just got to stay focused on keeping the pace up in my game.”

During his time here in Moose Jaw, Hunt has been paired defensively with two fellow Manitoba players in Josh Brook and then Jett Woo on Saturday night.

Hunt said he’s been able to learn a lot from them, “Jett is a great defenceman and he supports me so well and he’s hopefully a great mentor for me moving forward.”

It was just two years ago that Woo was turning heads during his first training camp with the Warriors and he said he’s been enjoying watching what Hunt’s been able to do in his first camp.

“He’s a really well rounded player,” said Woo.  “He’s a great guy too, I’ve been billeting with him and I’ve tried to give him some pointers here and there, but for a 15-year-old, he’s handled himself pretty well in this preseason.

“It’s always good to have that Manitoba connection too.  Getting to know him off the ice has really helped on the ice.”

Hunt remains with the Warriors this week as they get set to close out the preseason with two games against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday and Saturday.

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