De­laney still has game

Keith De­laney still go­ing strong in se­nior hockey

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

For­mer CeeBee Stars for­ward and North River na­tive Keith De­laney doesn’t play many games lo­cally th­ese days, but hockey re­mains a big part of the 36-year-old’s life. Even though the Clarnville Cari­bous player is get­ting up there in years as far as hockey play­ers go, De­laney is still pro­duc­tive on the ice.

Bay Roberts res­i­dent Keith De­laney learned early on the ben­e­fits off-ice train­ing could have on his hockey ca­reer.

It started dur­ing his first couple of sea­sons with the Barrie Colts of the On­tario Hockey League. As a 17-year-old, De­laney was taught the ins-and-outs of keep­ing his body in shape over the sum­mer months and into a new sea­son.

That first year he posted 10 points in 64 games, but fol­lowed that up with 54 points in 66 games in his sopho­more sea­son with the Colts.

His ded­i­ca­tion to train­ing con­tin­ued to evolve as he went through train­ing camp with the NHL’s Florida Pan­thers a year later af­ter De­laney was taken in the sixth round of the 1997 en­try draft.

Even when he was play­ing at the St. Mary’s Univer­sity of At­lantic Univer­sity Sport, De­laney was making sure to keep off-ice train­ing at the top of the list.

Now at 36-years-young, De­laney’s con­tin­ued to lean on the train­ing he re­ceived over the years to keep him fresh for the grind that is se­nior hockey in this prov­ince.

“Off-ice train­ing has al­ways been a big part of my rou­tine,” he said. “It be­comes a life­style. I take it as se­ri­ous as I can.”

When hockey ends in the spring, De­laney takes the first couple of weeks off each sum­mer be­fore re-ded­i­cat­ing him­self to get­ting fit.

He’s usu­ally in the gym five or six days a week, al­though that might get a bit tougher with a pair of small chil­dren. It isn’t un­usual to see De­laney jog­ging along one of the roads in Bay Roberts dur­ing the sum­mer.

This fe­ro­cious work­out sched­ule has al­lowed him to stay at the top of the provin­cial se­nior hockey world with the Clarenville Cari­bous. As an el­der states­man on a club that sits in sec­ond place in the four-team Cen­tral West Se­nior Hockey League, De­laney has been an in­te­gral part of the team’s suc­cess.

Through 14 games, he has 11 points ( five goals, six as­sists) and is eighth on the team in scor­ing.

“I think he’s done a good job of avoid­ing a slide,” said Cari­bous coach Dustin Rus­sell. “Keith is play­ing very well and he’s a good leader in the room.” Con­sis­tently great Since teams moved to the provin­cial for­mat ahead of the 2011-2012, De­laney has been at or near the top in league scor­ing ev­ery year.

Like that bot­tle of wine you put in the cel­lar years ago, it seems he only gets bet­ter with age.

De­laney’s put up an av­er­age point to­tal of 28 head­ing into this sea­son. That im­pres­sive run starts with the CeeBee Stars when he posted 28 points. He fol­lowed that up with 27 points dur­ing the CeeBees Herder tro­phy run in 2013.

In his first sea­son with the Herd, De­laney posted 26 points and fol­lowed that up with a 34point cam­paign in 2014-15. He fin­ished fourth in league scor­ing last year.

“I thought last year was pos­si­bly my best,” he said. “It’s a chal­lenge ev­ery week­end.”

De­laney cred­its his line­mates — younger brother Ryan De­laney and Ryan Desrosiers — for a lot of his suc­cess on the ice.

“We’ve de­vel­oped some good in­stincts with each other on the ice,” he said. “Ryan and I have been to­gether for­ever and Desrosiers fits in nicely. I’ve had the same line­mates for sev­eral years. Since I got here, it’s been the same three of us.” A do-ev­ery­thing player De­laney wears many hats for the Cari­bous dur­ing a game. He plays a reg­u­lar shift when its fiveon-five, along with killing penal­ties and play­ing on the power-play.

“We use Keith in all sit­u­a­tions,” said Rus­sell. “He takes a reg­u­lar shift and he has been play­ing very well. He’s one of our as­sis­tant cap­tains. Keith is right up there and is in good shape.

“He’s very ded­i­cated. He definitely pulls his own weight.”

As he is set to turn 37 in May, the ques­tion in­evitably be­comes how much does De­laney have in the tank.

De­laney doesn’t have the an­swer. The only thing he is sure is his de­sire to play the next couple of years.

“I’d like to be around hockey as long as I can,” said De­laney. “I’d like to get an­other cham­pi­onship.”

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