Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees are excited to announce the commitment of 2001-born forward Jackson Niedermayer for the 2018-19 season.
Niedermayer, from Newport Beach, California, comes to Penticton having spent the past two seasons with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks U16 team. In 2017-18 he scored 23 goals and 19 assists in 34 games.
The 5’10’’, 194-pound winger is the son of Hockey Hall of Famer and four-time Stanley Cup champion Scott Niedermayer.
Jackson, along with his parents and two younger brothers, will be moving to Penticton this summer.
He will wear number 21 and will join the rest of his teammates for training camp in late August.
Vees play-by-play broadcaster Craig Beauchemin caught up with Jackson Niedermayer for this feature story.
The name Niedermayer is familiar with hockey fans around the world. Scott, a four-time Stanley Cup champion, played over 1,200 games in the National Hockey league and is regarded as one of the best defenceman in NHL history. Now, a new generation of Niedermayer’s look to make their mark on the hockey world, beginning with Jackson.
“My dad had a huge impact on me playing the sport, my love for the game came from watching him play,” Niedermayer said. “Seeing what he meant to the sport motivated me to play and try to do something with my own name.”
Jackson, the 2001-born forward, will begin his junior hockey career in the South Okanagan as he and his family move to Penticton for the upcoming season. Jackson will be joined by his parents Scott and Lisa, along with his two younger brothers. His older brother will be staying in California to attend university.
The 5’10’’ 194-pound winger spent the last two seasons playing with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks U16 program, becoming a top offensive performer last season. After eight goals and 13 assists in 2016-17, he surpassed those numbers and then some with 23 goals and 19 assists in 34 games last year.
“It was a good year for the whole team,” Niedermayer said. “I thought all the kids bought into their roles and came together as a team. Finishing third at Nationals for a team from California was great. It led to kids moving on to a lot of different leagues. Our coaching staff taught us so much, they helped all of us.”
California continues to become a viable area for hockey players to learn the game, as shown by the growing number of player emerging from the State.
“I think the amount of California guys that have been drafted or seen as prospects always come back during the summers and you’re able to skate with them and work out with them,” Niedermayer said. “It kind of motivates you to want to be the next guy.”
Motivation also came in the form of watching his dad earn so many accolades during the course of his career, which Niedermayer had a front-row seat to during the second half of Scott’s NHL career. Though there’s one glaring difference between the two: their positions on the ice.
“Everyone in my family are defenceman, I’m the only forward. I think I take after my uncle for that one,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been a forward since day one, I’m a competitive kid and I like to score goals.”
Jackson’s uncle, Rob, also had a long NHL career which spanned 1,153 games, including winning the 2007 Stanley Cup with Scott as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.
It might be obvious to think Jackson had a ton of influence from his father on the ice, but it’s the things away from the rink that can have just as much of an impact.
“He was always a humble and quiet kind of guy when it came to his accolades and accomplishments,” Niedermayer said. “Just staying humble through it all and not letting anything go to your head is one of the big things he’s taught me. Seeing the way he’s carried himself has shown me a lot.”
Niedermayer faces a unique situation as players coming north of the border usually have to leave their families behind. Since his family is relocating to Penticton, the transition will be much easier Niedermayer says.
“Having my family there, I’m pretty fortunate,” Niedermayer said. “My brother and I will be going to the same high school, it’ll just be like old times. I’m very fortunate with the sacrifices they’ve made to help me.”
Earlier this year, Niedermayer came to Penticton with his mom to visit the city and get first-hand look at the facilities the Vees have at their disposal. While the rink and city were nice, Niedermayer says the impact the team has on the city is one of the things that stood out in his mind when visiting.
“The city loves the team, it’s like a huge family there,” Niedermayer said. “I’ve lived in California my whole life, so to be going to a [comparatively] small city and to see how everyone is so connected within the community is something I loved about it.”
A player of his skill level and age would have had no shortage or suitors looking for his services for the upcoming season, but the visit, along with the history of the program, swayed Niedermayer’s mind.
“They carry themselves like a Division 1 program,” he stated. “How they treat the players and the facilities they have are amazing. How professionally they carry themselves and care about their players was something that stood out for me.”
Unsurprisingly, Niedermayer’s goal is to obtain an NCAA Division 1 scholarship down the road, saying he wants to focus on growing his personal game as much as possible. He’s hoping to work on his speed and hockey sense as he moves from the midget ranks to junior hockey.
When it comes to his style of play, Niedermayer knows exactly the role he wants to play on the team.
“Just help the team win in any way possible,” he said. “Whatever I can do to contribute to the teams success is something that I want to be able to look back on after I’m gone and say ‘I did that.’”
There’s no question Vees fans would love to look back on Niedermayer’s time as a Vee and say the same thing.