Veteran Spotlight – Kaj Burgess

Giancarlo Nadeau


Kaj Burgess started his PJHL career the best way a player can! 


His first goal in the league opened the scoring for his team during the 2021-22 season and helped the Wolf Pack earn their first victory of the season in a 4-2 win over the Richmond Sockeyes. “I remember coming down the half-wall, and Dario Zitko fed me a nice pass, and I sniped it over the goalie’s shoulder top-side. It’s probably the biggest cele (celebration) I’ve had in this league. I was just super thrilled with myself getting that goal,” he said. It doesn’t get much better than that. 


The forward would score four of his nine career goals against the Sockeyes. His rookie debut against Richmond remains among his best memories with the Wolf Pack. “It was awesome,” he added. 


Although his PJHL career ended earlier than hoped, Burgess had a solid PJHL career. “It’s been a really good three years with the guys here, and it’s a sad way to go out, not the way we wanted it to go, but I’m always looking back at these three years and the great memories,” he said. Burgess has many great memories of his time with the Wolf Pack and can’t say enough about the players he had over the years.


He hit the 100-game plateau on November 25, 2023, against the Surrey Knights, which he takes great pride in. “I wish I could have gotten some more points because my point per game average isn’t what I want, but it is what it is,” he said, chuckling. “It’s been a long three years here, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he added.


The Burgess family had quite an impact on Kaj Burgess. “They were always super supportive. My Dad did security and loved the team, and my mom and grandma came out to every game most away games as well. They cheered loud in the stands, and I always appreciated that,” he said.


With over 100 PJHL games under his belt, Kaj has noticed a difference in the skill level from his first season to his last. “At the start, it was a bit slower and not as skilled, but the league’s gotten faster, more skilled, and a bit more physical,” he explained. Hockey is a contact sport, and Burgess was a player who was always very physical.


He is also a heart and soul player. “I lay everything out there on the ice. Inside the room, I loved those boys, and they were my brothers. I hope we don’t separate at the end of the season because I’ve made lifelong friendships here, and I hope they stick around,” he said.


“I’m going to go to firefighting school and get all that stuff done. I’ll probably do a lot of golf, rock climbing, and maybe some mountain biking mixed in there,” he said. “I’m mainly looking forward to golfing with the boys in the summer,” he continued.


The fact that the Wolf Pack is the only PJHL team that Burgess has ever known is not something that has been lost on him. “One of my happiest memories was in my first year because we were doing so well and were one of the best teams in the league,” he exclaimed. That team finished 31-7-5-1 with 68 points and a spot at the top of the Tom Shaw Conference. Stats-wise, it was the best Wolf Pack team he played on.


It’s not much of a surprise that Burgess has plans to be a firefighter. He volunteered at every event that the team hosted and attended throughout the years. The community of North Vancouver means a lot to the local boy. “I’ve grown up here, so giving back to the community has always been big for me. I’ve grown up volunteering. It’s a part of who I am, and I think going into firefighting is a great thing. Helping out in the community is something that I am proud of. I hope more guys on the Wolf Pack can do that in the future,” he said. Burgess continued, “It’s important that players take accountability for what they need to do in the community because the community comes out and supports us at our games.” If the Wolf Pack had a community service award, Kaj Burgess would be printed on it.


He wants Wolf Pack fans to remember him as a player who gave it all he had when he was on the ice. “I hope the parents and fans who have come to watch us the past three years can recognize that,” he said. “I want them to know that their sons have meant a lot to me, and it’s been a great three years,” he concluded. It’s those same fans that Burgess made time for and brought happiness to.


Kaj Burgess finished his PJHL career with 121 combined regular season and playoff games, nine goals, 17 assists, and 26 points. The team thanks him for his efforts on and off the ice.