February 25th, 2024

Pakkala bringing gritty defensive style


By Lethbridge Herald on February 6, 2024.

Herald Photo by Justin Seward Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Hayden Pakkala competes agains the Calgary Hitmen on Feb. 3, 2024.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge Hurricanes were busy on and around the trade deadline last month and that  included landing forward Hayden Pakkala from the Prince Albert Raiders.

The Okotoks product said it’s been good so far, when asked about fitting in with his new teammates.

“(I am)still learning a couple of things here and there but definitely starting to settle in now,” said Pakkala.

He does not think there is much different systems wise from the Raiders to the Canes.

“Yeah just simple things (and) still trying to get used to it, but yeah I don’t know, it’s been great so far and the coaches are really good,” he said.

Pakkala said they’re really well thought out when it comes to Bill Peters’ systems.

“I know they work when we do it right,” said Pakkala.

His focus is to make a positive impact bring his defensive side and chip in offensively where he can.

“I mean I’ve kind of developed more of a defensive role I’d say in the league, “ said Pakkala.

“But for sure, yeah, this year I’m definitely trying to focus more on scoring a couple more goals.”

Pakkala has already tied his point total last season with 23 this season so far through a combined 49 games.

Canes fans can beco sme accustomed to a gritty defensive player who will try and be a two-way forward.

“I like to get under the skin of people and just help my teammates any chance I get,” he said.

He has had different linemates due to injuries since he has arrived in Lethbridge.

“I think everybody that I’ve played with so far, I think we’ve clicked pretty well and I think the chemistry will just develop over time for sure,” said Pakkala.

Coming to Lethbridge means Pakkala can play closer to home.

“So far it’s been great,” said Pakkala.

“I’ve been able to see lots of family and friends and I’m happy to be back in Alberta for sure.”

Peters thinks where Pakkala helps in the line-up is being a left-handed centremen.

“A big, strong guy (who is) experienced in the dot,” said Peters.

“He won some big faceoffs the other night in a 3-2 hockey game prior to the empty net goal against Edmonton.”

Peters thinks Pakkala is also a good penalty killer and gives the team another option.

“It adds a little more depth to our team and obviously a little bit more grit too and it’s a good pick up for our team,” said  defencemen Will Sharpe.

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