As the season of free agent signings in juniors approaches, Soft Mitts, Heavy Hits is taking a look at some of the potential pickups in the Western Hockey League. Each post will spotlight one overage player who is neither drafted nor signed. The full set of profiles can be found in the WHL Overager Spotlight tag. Today’s featured player is Curtis Valk, a forward with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Position: C Shoots: left
Height: 5’9″ Weight: 170
2013-14 GP: 70 G: 44 A: 43 Pts: 87 +/-: +29 PIM: 36
Going from a long shot to hometown hero is a staple of fiction that takes a lot of work when it happens in real life. That’s what Curtis Valk has put into his own hockey journey, which is now wrapping up its Western Hockey League chapter. Valk took the long road to find success, having made his hometown Medicine Hat Tigers as a listed player rather than through the bantam draft, and taking a background role to notable scorers Emerson Etem and Hunter Shinkaruk in his first years on the team. When Etem graduated to the pro leagues, however, Valk stepped up and turned heads with his offensive output–he led the team in scoring, keeping pace with Shinkaruk during his draft year. With Shinkaruk out this year after a season-ending hip surgery, Valk has been looked to for not only his offensive ability, but also to captain the team.