Ben Duffy likely wouldn’t be playing in the QMJHL much less be its top scorer this year if not for his grandfather Bob Lake.
It wasn’t only that he footed the bill for most of the now 21-year-old’s minor hockey expenses, but he was his rock, always providing inspiration and knowing exactly what to say during the difficult times.
“He was a big part of my life and my hockey career,” said Duffy, who is from Lower Sackville. “I wouldn’t be where I am without him.”
After he died of cancer over the summer, Duffy decided to dedicate his last year of junior hockey to him.
What a season it’s been for the Prince Edward Island Rocket forward, who racked up 110 points this year, five of which he collected against Saint John on Sunday to vault him past the Halifax Mooseheads’ Jonathan Drouin for the scoring title.
“It kind of hit me halfway through the second period when I had already gotten two points in two shifts in row,” Duffy said. “They announced that Drouin had no points so I could relax and play my game.
“To have the season I’ve had after dedicating it to my grandfather feels really special.”
In his five seasons with the Rocket, the soft-spoken sniper collected just 18 minutes in penalty minutes.
For him he just chooses to spend his time on the ice putting his talents to good use.
“I don’t like to sit in the box, I’d rather be on the ice helping my team.”
Although reluctant to indulge in self-praise, he says his biggest strength starts with his work ethic, which allows his superior speed, vision and shot to shine through.
He credits the Rocket for sticking with him through the difficult times, like after his 27-point sophomore season.
“They always believed I could be the player I am today.”