Jr. Reign rookie Tanton finding role, collecting points as USPHL season rolls along
Gabe Tanton is one of the younger players in the USPHL this season, but the 2004-born native of Camrose, Alb., is emerging as a top player for the first-year Ontario Jr. Reign.
Through 15 games, Tanton has recorded five goals and five assists for 10 points.
“On a personal level, I feel I got off to a slow start but have picked it up as of late and have been playing good, smart hockey,” Tanton said. “As a team, I think we also started a little slow, but we are getting better and getting more comfortable with each other every day.”
Jr. Reign head coach Jeremy Blumes called Tanton “one of our better forwards last month.”
“He is very skilled with a high hockey IQ,” Blumes said. “Gabe is looking to make the jump to Tier II junior next season. As his coach, I can say that as long as he keeps working hard in the gym to be able to endure the rigors of a more physical league, we believe he should be able to make that jump.”
Making the move from Canada to the Inland Empire has been nothing but positive so far for Tanton.
“I ended up playing for the Jr. Reign because Coach Jeremy reached out to me and gave me the opportunity to play at a high level while also getting to experience living in California and getting to experience cool stuff outside of hockey,” Tanton said. “It’s been very cool living in SoCal. The weather is great, the boys have hit the beach a few times already, and I have been able to go to a few different sports games and got to experience different fanbases and stadiums.”
For schooling, Tanton has been keeping up with his studies online away from the rink.
Tanton noted that while he had other options to play this season, the USPHL was very intriguing to him.
“The USP is appealing because it is a high level of junior hockey and having some other Canadians has made the adjustment to moving a lot easier because I have other guys going through it with me,” said Tanton. “I think I’ve been fitting in well and the guys have been great and have helped me fit in with the team.
“I’m trying to just play good hockey in the short term and progress my game so I can get a scholarship and hopefully then progress to professional hockey.”
Photos/Mike Zitek Photography
— Matt Mackinder
(November 10, 2021)