West Chester’s Lodge taken in 3rd round of NHL Draft

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
James Lodge missed his name being called by the Winnipeg Jets at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. (Candice Monhollan)

Jimmy Lodge missed his name being called by the Winnipeg Jets at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. (Candice Monhollan)

NEWARK, N.J. — He may not be the first player from West Chester to be drafted in the NHL, but Jimmy Lodge will try to be the first to play in the big league.

When Lodge was picked in the third round (84th overall) by the Winnipeg Jets Sunday night, the 18-year-old forward almost missed the moment.

“I was getting kind of anxious,” Lodge said. “I was expecting to go a bit higher. I was just outside talking with [my friend] about everything. I got a call that said I’d been drafted so I rushed back in. Worst timing.”

Regardless, it’s a moment the borough native will remember for a lifetime.

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

“My whole life, basically since I started playing hockey, was to make the NHL,” Lodge said. “To get drafted is just a dream come true. It’s a relief, too.”

His parents moved Lodge to Toronto when he was 13 to attend a school for elite athletes and play minor midget hockey in Canada to get him one step closer to realizing his dream.

Though he has spent many years in Canada and now has been drafted by a Canadian team, Lodge will always consider West Chester his home.

“I was born there and raised there,” he said. “It’s definitely my home town. I love it.”

Much of Lodge’s family still resides in Pennsylvania, including cousins in Thorndale.

Since the draft was held just two hours up the road in Newark, his family was able to make the trip.

“They came up here with me,” Lodge said. “It’s a great moment to have here, too. To be from West Chester and be drafted is amazing.”

Lodge has spent the last two seasons with the Saginaw Spirit, an Ontario Hockey League club based in Michigan.

His first season saw him post 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 45 games, but his totals skyrocketed in 2012-13, when he recorded 67 points (28 goals, 39 assists) in 64 games.

“Each year I’ve been getting better,” Lodge said. “My rookie year was pretty rough. This year, I had over 60 points. That was a huge jump for me and I’m really happy about my year.”

Though he netted 28 goals this season, Lodge doesn’t consider himself the goal-scoring type.

“I think I’m more of a playmaker,” Lodge said. “I can score, but I don’t think I’m a pure goal scorer and, I think, more of an offensive type of guy.”

As he gets ready for development camp in Winnipeg, Lodge knows what he wants to improve upon.

“I think just getting bigger and stronger and just being more consistent a better overall player,” he said.

For now, Lodge is going to enjoy the moment of reaching a dream.

“I’m just blessed,” he said. “Hard work pays off.”


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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, NHL Entry Draft, Sports

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