Consistency key for Wolves’ Weeks: Sudbury netminder focused on both physical and mental preparation ahead of training camp

Sudbury Wolves goaltender Mitchell Weeks (70) prepares to make a save during OHL action at Sudbury Community Arena in Sudbury, Ontario on Saturday, January 25, 2019. Ben Leeson/The Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network

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After an up-and-down first season in the OHL, Sudbury Wolves goaltender Mitchell Weeks will look to even things out in 2020-21.

“I’m working to bring my consistency up, so every game, I know what I can bring,” said the Barrie native, who turned 19 last month. “I’m trying to get strong and faster, too, which is the goal every season.”

Weeks’ freshman campaign certainly had its bright spots, giving clues as to why Sudbury made him the first-overall pick in the 2018 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection, and why Ontario Junior Hockey League general managers selected him for their league’s first all-prospect team in 2019, following a standout season with the Newmarket Hurricanes.

But after posting a 4.02 goals-against average and .874 save percentage in 30 games with the Sudbury squad in 2019-20, the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder knows there’s plenty of room for improvement, and not just in terms of technique.

“The other day, I was skating and I was just having one of those days where I just didn’t feel good or anything,” Weeks explained. “My goalie coach and I took a second to refocus, to focus on the next shot that practice. Then, by the end of practice, I started feeling good.”

He’s glad to have a year of major-junior hockey under his belt, and believes the experience will only serve him well as he battles for crease time next season.

“It was good to have my first full year up there full-time, and now, it’s time to improve on that,” Weeks said. “I felt like I had some good stretches, where I felt really good, so I just need to do those little things in practice. As the season went along, I think my practice habits started to get better. It’s a little bit of a jump from junior A to the OHL, and practices are different, more intense.”

Any edge will certainly help come training camp, where the likes of Frederik Dichow and Jonathan Lemaire will also compete for roster spots.

“With goalies, it’s always tricky, because there’s very few spots in each team,” he said. “There’s not much you can do besides focus on yourself, so I’m going to make sure I’m in the best shape possible and that I’m ready for the start of the season.”

With that objective in mind, he has devoted almost all of his summer to training, outside of a camping trip at the end of July.

“Every time I’m in the net, the goal is to win, so I think if I’m consistently winning games and the team is doing well, that’s a good start.”

And he believes the Wolves will do well, despite the losses of some veterans at forward.

The majority of Sudbury’s blueline corps is eligible to return and the team has already signed promising newcomers at all positions.

“We have some good returning guys and I was looking at the draft, and some of the young players we drafted, they look pretty good,” Weeks said. “I’m excited to see how they look at camp.”

Twitter: @ben_leeson