Keith Delaney still going strong in senior hockey

Nicholas Mercer nmercer@cbncompass.ca
Published on December 29, 2015
Clarenville Caribous forward Keith Delaney keeps getting it done at the senior hockey level.
Photo by Geraldine Brophy/Transcontinental Media

Bay Roberts resident Keith Delaney learned early on the benefits off-ice training could have on his hockey career.

It started during his first couple of seasons with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. As a 17-year-old, Delaney was taught the ins-and-outs of keeping his body in shape over the summer months and into a new season.

That first year he posted 10 points in 64 games, but followed that up with 54 points in 66 games in his sophomore season with the Colts.

His dedication to training continued to evolve as he went through training camp with the NHL's Florida Panthers a year later after Delaney was taken in the sixth round of the 1997 entry draft.

Even when he was playing at the St. Mary's University of Atlantic University Sport, Delaney was making sure to keep off-ice training at the top of the list.

Now at 36-years-young, Delaney's continued to lean on the training he received over the years to keep him fresh for the grind that is senior hockey in this province.

"Off-ice training has always been a big part of my routine," he said. "It becomes a lifestyle. I take it as serious as I can."

When hockey ends in the spring, Delaney takes the first couple of weeks off each summer before re-dedicating himself to getting fit.

He's usually in the gym five or six days a week, although that might get a bit tougher with a pair of small children. It isn't unusual to see Delaney jogging along one of the roads in Bay Roberts during the summer.

This ferocious workout schedule has allowed him to stay at the top of the provincial senior hockey world with the Clarenville Caribous. As an elder statesman on a club that sits in second place in the four-team Central West Senior Hockey League, Delaney has been an integral part of the team's success.

Through 14 games, he has 11 points (five goals, six assists) and is eighth on the team in scoring.

"I think he's done a good job of avoiding a slide," said Caribous coach Dustin Russell. "Keith is playing very well and he's a good leader in the room."

Consistently great

Since teams moved to the provincial format ahead of the 2011-2012, Delaney has been at or near the top in league scoring every year.

Like that bottle of wine you put in the cellar years ago, it seems he only gets better with age.

Delaney's put up an average point total of 28 heading into this season. That impressive run starts with the CeeBee Stars when he posted 28 points. He followed that up with 27 points during the CeeBees Herder trophy run in 2013.

In his first season with the Herd, Delaney posted 26 points and followed that up with a 34-point campaign in 2014-15. He finished fourth in league scoring last year.

"I thought last year was possibly my best," he said. "It's a challenge every weekend."

Delaney credits his linemates - younger brother Ryan Delaney and Ryan Desrosiers - for a lot of his success on the ice.

"We've developed some good instincts with each other on the ice," he said. "Ryan and I have been together forever and Desrosiers fits in nicely. I've had the same linemates for several years. Since I got here, it's been the same three of us."

A do-everything player

Delaney wears many hats for the Caribous during a game. He plays a regular shift when its five-on-five, along with killing penalties and playing on the power-play.

"We use Keith in all situations," said Russell. "He takes a regular shift and he has been playing very well. He's one of our assistant captains. Keith is right up there and is in good shape.

"He's very dedicated. He definitely pulls his own weight."

As he is set to turn 37 in May, the question inevitably becomes how much does Delaney have in the tank.

Delaney doesn't have the answer. The only thing he is sure is his desire to play the next couple of years.

"I'd like to be around hockey as long as I can," said Delaney. "I'd like to get another championship."

nmercer@cbncompass.ca