Veteran Spotlight – JJ Pickell

Giancarlo Nadeau


Statistically speaking, JJ Pickell is one of the best Wolf Pack players ever! 


The past three seasons he has spent with North Vancouver have all been great years. The Alberta boy first laced up his skates for the club during the 2021-22 regular season. “I was pretty excited to start my career in North Van with a bunch of my buddies from other teams. We had quite the season that year, so it was a lot of fun,” He said. It was quite the season for the Wolf Pack as the club finished at the top of the Tom Shaw Conference with a record of 31-7-5-1.


Pickell finished second in team scoring that season with 28 goals and 30 assists for 58 points in 42 games. He would finish first in team scoring the following two seasons. His stats may be great, but he quickly admits that his family is a big reason for his success. “They’ve played a big part in my career for sure. Countless car rides to practices and games and supporting me throughout my ups and downs has been awesome,” He said.


The league has changed quite a bit since Pickell’s rookie campaign, and he has also been able to mature much more as a hockey player. He was the captain of the team, after all! “Playing against older guys for so long has made me the player I am now,” he admitted. Being a leader on the team and having the other leaders here going through the process has helped me get to where I am now,” he added.


Pickell has had a letter on his jersey since he began his career with the team three years ago, but this year, that letter was upgraded from an ‘A’ to a ‘C.’ “It’s pretty humbling to see that the work has finally paid off through all the summers and stuff, and I got to thank my coaches, family, and teammates,” he said. 


Pickell continued by saying that his teammates have made his role much easier and credited the whole organization “because they treat it as a top-notch program.” He has had no problems finding the back of the net during his career, but some goals should stick out for him more than others. 


The 2003-born forward was crowned this season’s Teddy Bear hero when he scored against the Grandview Steelers. “It was a lot of fun. Playing with two guys I have huge chemistry with made it easy,” He added. “Oatsy (Rylan Oatman) came into the slot and fed it to Carns (Matthew Carniel), and then he found me with a no-look pass,” he explained. The rest is history!


His Teddy Bear goal is a great memory, but the brotherhood with his teammates also sticks out. “I’ve been with the same guys for all three years, and we’ve built a bond that will last a lifetime,” he said. Being with a team for so long and ultimately being the captain of that organization is special for anyone, and Pickell feels the same.


“It’s an honor. When they announced that I was the captain this year, I took it with a lot of responsibility. I think my leadership stems from my on-ice actions, either at practice or in games,” he admitted. Being vocal in the dressing room and trying to motivate his teammates during games was also a task he was capable of.


Pickell starts his off-season by taking a break from skating for the first few months and then slowly getting back into the gym. “I like running up the Grouse Grind to get my cardio going, and then I get back on the ice a month or two before the season starts,” he claimed. 


Seasons are full of memories, and a career is full of special moments and valuable lessons learned along the way. Pickell was certainly not proud of getting suspended last season. “I hate being one of those guys who gets suspended over something dirty, and I wasn’t too proud of what I did to my future teammate, Daniel DallaPace,” he said. Pickell was assessed a three-game suspension for hitting the former Panthers captain. Pickell and DallaPace are now able to find humor in that play.


Being remembered as an impact player is how he wants fans to remember him. “I want all the rookies to carry on with the way the Wolf Pack pride and tradition should be,” He said. Pickell has undoubtedly left his mark on the Wolf Pack.


Pickell finished first on his team with 40 goals, tied for first in shorthanded goals with three, and had seven game-winners. He completed his final campaign with 76 points, a point away from tying Alex Suprenowicz for the most in team history with 77. 


He scored 42 goals with the team last season, which tied Dominic Davis for the most in franchise history. The left-shot forward is also the only player in team history to score 100 goals with the organization.


Pickell finished his career with 114 goals, 100 assists, 214 points, and 145 combined regular-season and playoff games. He will certainly be missed.