Head coach of the North Stars, Brayden Klimosko presented Southgate with his jersey in the Stars’ locker room, featuring the newly-minted captain’s “C”, and said without hesitation, there was never a doubt.
“Normally, I don’t name a captain this early on, but I think it was a pretty no-doubter in this situation,” Klimosko said.
Scoring in just his second career SJHL game during the abbreviated 2020-21 season, Southgate came back last fall to finish second in team scoring and 14th overall in the league, with 23 goals and 52 points in 55 games.
With an explosive stride and a rocket-shot, Southgate’s patented rushes up ice made him an instant fan-favourite in his home city; keeping the fans at the ACC on the edge of their seats, and opposition defenceman on their heels.
Like a modern-day throwback to the likes of Maurice Richard at the Montreal Forum, driving down ice with defenders on his back, also much like the great Canadiens’ legend, Southgate’s impact reaches well beyond his exploits on the ice.
A recognizable face in the community as well, Southgate has represented the team the last few years at the annual Walk A Mile in her Shoes Fundraiser in town, helping to raise funds for the Battlefords and Area Sexual Assault Centre.
He’s also been a constant at the Stars’ Summer Hockey School, and just last weekend, volunteered as well, as a coach at the Stars’ Spring Prospect Camp.
(Twitter/Battlefords North Stars)
Southgate himself, called being named captain, ‘a huge honour.’
“There have been lots of great captains in Battlefords North Stars history, and I had a great captain last year in Ryland McNinch, so I hope to help carry on that legacy,” Southgate said, looking around the dressing room at pictures of team legends past. “I’ve never really been the captain on a team before, so this is going to be pretty special and I’m excited to get going next year.”
Klimosko said Southgate’s captaincy sets the tone for an added air of excitement for the season ahead, and the possibilities the team has to achieve something great.
“I think this move is a good stepping stone for where our team was from last year,” Klimosko said. “I think we’re expecting only bigger and better things and it starts with Jake leading the way.”