Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Cousens is turning heads while toiling for Penticton
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 29 Nov 2006, p. 17, 18

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EAMONN MAHER Staff Writer When Georgetown's Deron Cousens packed up last year and headed for southern B.C. to play his junior hockey, he wasn't sorry to leave the northern Ontario winters in Huntsville behind in favour of the much warmer climate of the Okanagan Valley. Currently in his second season with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League, the 19year-old defender had decided in the summer of 2005 to move west to try to elevate his game after a promising campaign with the Huntsville Wildcats of the OHA Provincial Jr. A loop. And while Cousens continues to accumulate impressive achievements for his resume, he and his Penticton teammates were reminded about the perils of bus travel for junior hockey teams no matter where they play as a rare snowstorm battered B.C. this past week. On the way home early Monday from a grueling road trip to Vancouver Island, the Vees' bus was clipped by a tractor-trailer while cruising down the Cocahalla Highway. Fortunately, no one was injured and there was little damage to the bus. "It's pretty unbelievable out here. It's kind of like the snow Ontario gets," said Cousens on Monday evening. "The people in B.C. aren't really used to it and the driving is crazy." `Crazy' would be a term to describe the Georgetown District High School grad's ascension in the ranks over the past year. Already commited to Michigan Tech University next year on a full scholarship, the 6-foot, 190-pound Cousens is considered a late bloomer with an offensive upside that could tempt an NHL team to select him with a late-round draft pick next summer. His dazzling talents were displayed on The Sports Network's national broadcast of the championship game from the inaugural sixteam World Jr. A Hockey Challenge earlier this month in Yorkton, Sask., where he was chosen to the tournament all-star squad after earning seven points in all four of Team Canada West victories, including a 43 decision over Team Canada East in the final. Cousens, who has also become a power-play specialist, helped give the West an early 2-0 first-period lead with a long stretch pass that caught the opposing defenders flat-footed and allowed teammate Jordie Johnson to score on a breakaway. Facing non-North American competition for the first time took a bit of adjustment, he added, but a quick transition game was already one of his strengths. "I didn't want to go there and try to do too much or too little, just play my game and try to adapt to the international style," he said. "It's nice to get a few points but it's also kind of unexpected because you don't go into tournaments like that looking for individual accolades. Any time you can represent Canada is a great honour and the only thing we were thinking about was getting the gold medal." After getting back from Regina, it wasn't long until Cousens boarded the Vees' bus for a string of four games in five days, covering several hundred kilometres. Penticton began this season ranked third by the Canadian Junior A Hockey League after returning most of the roster, but has since slipped just out of the top 15. See COUSENS', pg. 18

Continued from pg. 17 The Vees remain in top spot in the BCHL's Inter-Coastal Conference and sent notice last week that they're out to avenge their league final loss to eventual Royal Bank Cup champion Burnaby in the spring by taking three out of four points from Coastal Conference leaders Victoria and Nanaimo. Notching three assists in each of those important weekend contests earned Cousens the BCHL's Star Player of the Week honours, but he'd typically rather talk about team goals. "That's our motto. Unfinished business," he stated. "We should have had eight points out of eight last week but we gave up a couple of two-goal leads late in games. We're learning from lessons that have happened so we'll be ready for the playoffs and that's why we treat every weekend series in the regular season like it's a playoff series...Personally, I'm just doing a lot of working out right now, concentrating on the hockey part of my life and working on different areas that I can improve on." Cousens, who plans to enroll in Michigan Tech's business program next fall, said he's anxious to return to the balmy weather of Halton Hills for the Christmas break. (Eamonn Maher can be reached at emaher@independentfreepress.com)

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29 Nov 2006
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Cousens, Deron
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Cousens is turning heads while toiling for Penticton