Tutt king of pre-season
One year has made a world of difference for Jordan Tutt.
The 19-year-old native of Erin has been a different player for the Pelham Panthers this season after getting his feet wet at the junior B level last year as a rookie forward.
“It’s been a big change from last year,” Tutt said. “I think the biggest thing is confidence coming back for my second year in the league.
“I’m playing confident. It’s changed my game style and it’s helping me for the best.”
Tutt, who collected six goals in 44 games last year, has been putting the puck in the net with great regularity during pre-season scrimmages against the Fort Erie Meteors and Thorold Blackhawks.
“Last year was a year of really learning junior hockey for him,” Panthers coach/owner Tim Toffolo said. “This year he has flourished. He has come right out of nowhere and now he’s the guy getting all our goals this year. He’s really stepped up.
“He’s a really hard worker and his game doesn’t change. He always plays the same way— he plays all out —and he’s getting rewarded for it.”
Toffolo admitted Tutt’s increased production has been a pleasant surprise.
“I expected last year he would have to really learn about junior hockey and the pace from where he came from,” he said. “I had no idea he would start to pop in so many this year. Skating this summer we definitely noticed him starting to find the net in practice so we could see some stuff happening and changing.”
Tutt joined the Panthers last year after playing midget in his hometown. He also played a handful of games for the Mount Forest Patriots at the junior C level.
“For me, I’d only ever played hometown hockey so I did feel like it was big jump,” Tutt said. “I did feel like I belonged to be here and it was a good level for me to work for. It was a lot of work and everybody is consistently good across the league so you have to adjust your playing style and do your best.”
Toffolo, who noticed Tutt playing in a midget tournament in Pelham two years ago, appreciate’s Tutt approach.
“I think mentally the player that came back this year is very different,” he said. “I think sometimes guys find out about junior hockey and want to be part of it and don’t want to lose it. He’s made the decision that junior hockey is what he wants to do now and he doesn’t want to give that up.”
The Panthers take on the Blackhawks Wednesday at 8 p.m. in another pre-season, no-contact scrimmage. The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League has set a start date of Dec. 2, pending government approval.
“We’re dying to get out there,” said Tutt, who is majoring in kinesiology at Brock. “Every game out there we’re taking it as though it was a regular season or playoff game and we’re just going to continue working and prepare ourselves as best we can for the season.”
Toffolo feels the scrimmages are worthwhile.
“I think it means more to the motivation of the kids,” he said. “For us, we’re trying to get everyone in the right frame of mind to play this style of hockey and to learn how to play it. It’s different. We’re asking kids who have played contact hockey all their lives to all of a sudden snap their fingers and change.”
Up to 50 spectators are permitted in Pelham for the scrimmages and are reserved for family and friends.
BPSN and the COVID-19 pandemic
Like all small businesses dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, BPSN is not sure what the business landscape will look like when things return to normal. Our website is financed primarily through advertising revenues and partnership agreements with many local sports and educational organizations in Niagara. Our goal is to continue providing our readers with the extensive local sports coverage you have come to expect from our site. Since our inception, we have written more than 3,000 stories on our local athletes and teams. Many of our readers have given us one-time donations or send us monthly contributions to help offset our costs. We would be eternally grateful if others would consider doing the same by using the Support Us button located on the right-hand side of our home page below the mosaic.
Thank you for your continued support.
Bill and Bernie.