Sunday, June 26, 2011
Captain Clutch Led The Way:
Captain clutch led the way
by Don Klepp | Added 2011-06-14
Todd Miller dubbed David Robinson “Captain Clutch” this season because of the 1990-born Vernonite’s penchant for scoring big goals.
David had nine game winners in the regular season this year, four of them in overtime. He registered OT winners on December 4 and 5. Until that point, the Vipers had struggled in OT, winning just two of ten. His timely scoring gave the young Vipers confidence and the team won eight and tied two of their remaining 13 overtime thrillers.
He started his Viper career as a 16-year-old AP. In his four regular season games in 2006-07, he didn’t get his name in the scoring totals, but he joined the team part way through the playoffs to play on a line with the Jones twins. That line sparked the Vipers to an Interior Conference win over the Vees. On March 29, he scored two goals, including a late third-period winner, in a 3-2 win.
The next season he joined the WHL Chilliwack Chiefs. He played two and a half seasons for the Chiefs, primarily as a third line checker and energy player. His coaches had him play a tough guy role, and he amassed 265 penalty minutes and 16 fighting majors in 169 WHL games.
By Christmas last year, David had lost some of his love for the game, so he returned home. He played his first Viper game on January 5, 2010. He made an immediate impact, with four goals and three assists in his first five games. He finished with 15 goals in 20 regular season games and added 9 more goals in the Vipers’ run to the RBC championship.
This year, David notched 32 regular season and 11 postseason goals to lead the Vipers in goal scoring. When asked about the average length of the shots on his goals, he chuckles and says “about three feet, I think. But I take pride in those goal mouth scores because you have to earn every inch of space you get in front of the goalie. Besides, the score sheet doesn’t award style points.”
Still, he has scored some beauties when shooting from the wing. His wrister from the faceoff circle gave the Vipers a key win late in a 1-0 game in Powell River on April 2. Another memorable goal was his unstoppable slap shot that decided an RBC win over the Brockville Braves last May.
David says that it was a tough decision to leave the Chilliwack team, but “winning the national title last year and coming so close this year shows that it was a good decision. I’ve made a lot of close friends here, guys who will be friends for life. It was really nice to be a scorer and leader again.”
As captain, David has been a well-respected successor to Chris Crowell and Kevin Kraus. “He was a logical choice,” says Mark Ferner. “His work ethic and his gutsy play gave our young guys something to emulate.”
David is clear about his identity as a player. “I just try to go out every shift and work my bag off, to do whatever it takes to win. I’m sure a lot of opposition players don’t like me much, but I try to play hard and play clean.”
He also is clear about the team’s identity: “We’re close-knit. We work hard because as Ferns says, you never know what play will decide a game. That’s a big part of the team’s culture, which gets passed on to the new players each year. I give a lot of credit to the coaches; I don’t think you’ll find a better coaching staff in the country.”
He says he will closely follow the Vipers next year. “They’re going to have a heckuva team and I’ll be pulling for them because I’ll always be a Viper.”
One of six Vernon natives on the roster this year, David says that “The Vipers are a big part of this community, and that’s part of the reason why so many Vernon kids want to play here. Of course, winning helps. It’s a lot more fun to play on a winning team. And another thing – guys know that they’ll be helped to develop into better players here.”
Where will David play next year? “I’ve had offers from Canadian universities, but I’m not sure whether I should go to school now or play pro. I’ve been putting off that decision until the RBC Cup was decided. I’ll have conversations with my Mom and with Coach Ferner. One thing for sure is that I’m not ready to hang up the skates.”