Vernon, BC: Keigo Hachisuka has committed to the Vipers for 2019-20. The 18-year-old defenceman, who was raised in San Diego but now makes his home in Texas, has spent the past two years at the Shawnigan Lake prep school on Vancouver Island.
Keigo’s Shawnigan Lake coach, Kevin Cooper, describes Keigo as “a fast player with a high skill level and a high hockey IQ. He’s also an extremely good student, so he can go to any college he chooses. ”
Keigo sees himself as an offensive defenceman who enjoys joining the rush. Although he played the point on the power play, and played it very well according to teammate JoJo Tanaka-Campbell, almost all of Keigo’s 10 goals this past year were scored on rushes, some of them when he popped in a rebound. He added 24 assists in 36 CSSHL games in 2018-19.
He’s 5’10” and 165 pounds, so Viper fans won’t see Keigo being overly physical, but he says that he likes “to cut off the angles and use [his] stick to dispossess opposing forwards of the puck.” In that regard, Viper fans can expect to see the style of play displayed by Trey Taylor this past season. Keigo might also evoke memories of Steve Weinstein, another Californian whose skating and puck handling endeared him to Viper fans.
Keigo will arrive in Vernon in advance of the late August training camp, in order to get acclimated and to train at Kal Tire Place North.