Prospect Profile: Sam Court
The summer of 2020 isn't one anybody will forget any time soon. From sports to vacations and just about everything in between, the world was flipped on its head in mid-March. Sam Court considers himself extremely lucky, as his off-season regimen didn't have to change too much despite all the restrictions.
"I was really fortunate enough to have a home gym in my basement," Court said. "That allowed my family and I to work out regularly, but my dad also works at the rink where I train, so I was able to skate and train there as early as possible with all the restrictions."
He was able to hit the ice with some friends of his as the summer progressed, friends who could potentially be his teammates in Swift Current down the road.
"I have a few buddies that I usually skate with a few times a week, including Josh Filmon and Karson King," Court explained. "Josh and I are really good friends so we usually work out around the same time.
Filmon and King were also drafted by Swift Current in 2019, 67th and 111th overall, respectively.
Drafted 46th overall in the 2019 Bantam Draft, Court wanted to keep his momentum after an outstanding 2019-20 season with the Winnipeg Wild U18 program, in which he led the Manitoba U18 League in scoring amongst 2004-born defencemen.
Despite being one of two 15-year-old defencemen on the team, Court racked up eight goals and 29 assists for 37 points in 38 games during the regular season. He kept up that pace in the abbreviated playoffs with two goals and three assists in five games before the playoffs were cut short.
"I kind of had a goal set in mind at the start of the season," Court said of his expectations for last season. "We had a really good season with one of the best records at the U18 level. Our team was pretty stacked, so that allowed me to play with some pretty great players. I really appreciate how my coach allowed me to play so much despite being a younger player."
Court's ice time is clearly earned off his play, as his momentum has been building since his draft year when he was named the Winnipeg AAA U15 defenceman of the year. He credits his veteran teammates on the Wild for assisting in the transition from U15 to U18.
One of those players was Carter Halamandaris, who the Broncos acquired from the Everett Silvertips during this year's WHL Bantam Draft.
"Carter is a great guy, last year we sat beside each other in the dressing room," Court said. "I was really excited for him when I saw the Broncos traded for him. I'm pretty good friends with him and hopefully he's got a pretty good shot at making the team this year, I hope for the best for him."
Court and Halamandaris could be teammates for a second time in the future, but for now they're on opposing benches as Halamandaris is suiting up for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's Winnipeg Blues, while Court plays for the Steinbach Pistons.
Drafted ninth overall by the Pistons in the 2019 MJHL Bantam Draft, Court has been mentally preparing himself for the jump to junior hockey for quite some time.
"At the end of last year, I decided that my goal was to play junior hockey in 20-21," Court said. "I worked really hard this summer and thought I could step into junior hockey as a 16-year-old. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to the WHL or the MJHL, but with the WHL starting after Christmas now I think this is a great opportunity for me to play some hockey before then."
Located less than an hour southeast of his hometown of Winnipeg, moving to Steinbach has allowed Court to experience what life is like living and playing away from home for the first time.
"It's definitely different living away from home," he said. "But I think it's good for me because it will allow me to mature a lot faster. I'm living with a couple of teammates who are really good to me, and my billet family has been great as well."
Court has played three games for the Pistons so far, picking up three assists.
While he may have made the transition from U15 to U18 look rather simple, Court is aware that the jump to junior hockey is much more substantial.
"I'm only going to school two or three times a week here," he said. "You've got a lot more time to yourself than before. You can skate whenever you want and try to get better. Our team seems to be really good this year, so I just hope we can keep that up and make sure we're prepared to play every night."
While Court hasn't signed a Western Hockey League Standard Player Agreement yet, he is in regular contact with management staff within the organization.
"I talk to (Broncos Head Scout) Chad Leslie quite a bit," he said. "Usually we'll text after each game and he's been really good to me. I've also had a couple of Zoom calls with Dean Brockman over the past few months as well."
The Broncos drafted five players from Manitoba in both 2019 and 2020, which Court says could potentially lead to a strong locker room bond in Swift Current.
"It's definitely a good thing for me because I'm really close with a lot of those guys," Court said. "If we do play together I think it would be good in the locker room because we're all so familiar with each other."
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