(Photo: Melissa Kania)
If you’re not yet familiar with the name ‘Damon Severson,’ now might be the time to get to know the young defenseman. The 18-year-old Melville, Saskatchewan native currently leads Kelowna Rockets blueliners in points and has 12 points in seven games in the month of December, including a five-game point streak.
The Rockets currently hold the second place in the B.C. Division, just behind the Kamloops Blazers.
Severson kicked off the month of December with an assist in a 4-2 loss to Seattle, before going pointless against Swift Current. He went on to score nine points in the next five games, including three assists against Prince George as Kelowna defeated the Cougars, 7-2. Severson was named third star of the game.
As the Rockets began five games in a six-day stretch, Severson’s point streak continued with an assist against Kootenay on December 11, and a pair of assists against Lethbridge on December 12. He was awarded first star of the game as Kelowna won 3-1 in a game that was televised not only nationally on Sportsnet in Canada, but also across the United States on NHL Network.
After one day off, Kelowna returned to action on December 14 against Medicine Hat. Severson had arguably his best game of the season, scoring once and adding two assists for the third multi-point game of the season. For the second game in a row, Severson got first star honors, and the Rockets beat the Tigers 5-2.
Kelowna’s winning streak – and Severson’s point streak – continued the following day with a 6-1 win over Red Deer. Severson had a goal and an assist in the win and… can you guess it yet? If you said “he was named first star again,” you’re correct.
Severson began his WHL career with the Rockets after being drafted by the team in the ninth round, 192nd overall, in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. He made his league debut on December 9, 2009, in a 9-5 victory over the Regina Pats. He’d appear in four additional games with Kelowna, playing the majority of the 2009-10 season with the Yorkton Harvest of the SMHL.
He joined the Rockets blueline full-time for the 2010-11 season, appearing in 64 regular season and 10 playoff games. Severson scored his first WHL point on October 29, 2010, an assist on a goal by Cody Chikie in a 4-2 loss to the Portland Winterhawks.
The first goal of his WHL game came shortly after, a powerplay tally in a 5-2 win over Kamloops on November 3, 2010. The goal came against Blazers goaltender Jeff Bosch. Severson ended the regular season with four goals and 13 assists in 63 games played, adding 53 penalty minutes on the season.
He was third on the team in plus/minus, and fourth among Rockets blueliners in points. Three of his four goals that season came on the power play. He also played 10 games with the Rockets in the postseason, scoring two goals before Kelowna was eliminated by Portland in the conference semi-finals.
Last season, Severson’s offensive production increased, scoring seven goals and 30 assists in 56 regular-season games before he added another pair of goals in the playoffs as the Winterhawks swept the Rockets in the quarterfinals.
On the international stage, Severson represented Team Canada at the 2012 IIHF U18 Championships, held in the Czech Republic between April 12-22. He had two assists and a plus-7 in seven games (best on the Canadian team), eventually winning a bronze medal and tying for fourth-best plus/minus in the tournament.
He was rewarded with an NHL draft selection, being chosen 60th overall by the New Jersey Devils. Severson attended development camp and signed an entry-level contract with the Devils before rejoining Kelowna for his third year in juniors.