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Prep Watch: Family affair

Boone Jenner has 53 points, including seven game-winning goals, in 27 games.

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Boone Jenner has 53 points, including seven game-winning goals, in 27 games.

Growing up with two hockey-playing older brothers – one of whom is 6-foot-5 – means it’s very difficult to intimidate triple-A minor midget Elgin Middlesex Chiefs center Boone Jenner. And based on the 15-year-old’s stats this year, opponents are finding it very hard to even slow him down.

A top-rated forward eligible for the Ontario League draft this summer, Boone is the younger brother of Plymouth Whalers defenseman Leo Jenner, a bruiser who comes in at the aforementioned 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds and certainly didn’t take it easy when he, Boone and middle brother Cole got out on the pond for some good ole’ sibling rivalry hockey as the boys were growing up.

“Boone has always been hard-nosed and competitive because of his older brothers,” said Matt Jenner, father of the clan and Boone’s coach with Elgin Middlesex, near London, Ont. “People wonder how he takes some hits in games and I tell them, ‘it’s nothing he hasn’t got 10 times worse at home.’ ”

Despite the scrappy nature of those pond hockey games, Boone looks at those matches with fondness.

“My brothers help me a lot playing on the pond,” he said. “It’s pretty good competition.”

And as a burgeoning 6-foot, 190-pound power forward currently tied for the lead in league scoring with 53 points in 27 games, trying to get the better of big brother Leo has definitely helped his game.

“I get around him a couple times,” Boone said. “So I’m happy about that.”

The same can’t be said for the Chiefs’ opponents, however. Coach Jenner leads a feisty squad with eyes on both a league championship and a shot at the upcoming OHL Cup. With son Boone dishing pucks and punishment in equal parts, it’s never fun to play Elgin Middlesex.

“He’s up there in penalty minutes and those PIMs aren’t hooks or trips,” Matt said. “He’ll get checking penalties like boardings and I’ve told the boys, we’ll take those kinds of penalties.”

On the skill side of things, Boone sees himself just as much as a playmaker as he does a scorer and his goals and assists are pretty much even at this point in the season. When the game is on the line, however, Jenner often takes matters into his own hands; through 27 games and 22 wins, he has seven game-winning goals.

“I like to read the play well,” Boone said. “Whatever it takes to get the puck.”

It’s that willingness that affords Jenner so many scoring opportunities and the coach believes his son’s puck possession skills thrive because of it.

“He’s involved, he’s in the high traffic areas,” Matt said. “The puck seems to follow him all the time because he’s in the game.”

It should be no surprise then that Boone counts Calgary Flames star and prototypical power forward Jarome Iginla as his main NHL inspiration. Jenner lists off a laundry list of qualities he likes in Iggy:

“He hits, he’s a captain, he fights, he scores and he gets his team going.”

Based on what Boone has done so far this season, he seems to have followed that template pretty well. He is indeed captain of the Chiefs and like his father, counts a league title and the OHL Cup as goals for the season. And though Boone said he wants to keep his options open for next season, being picked high in the OHL draft would certainly make the decision easier, especially based on the news he gets from brother Leo.

“We shoot some stories back and forth,” Boone said. “He lets me know what it takes to be there and what I need to do to stay there.”

Keeping up his all-around game will give him a pretty good advantage going in.

Prep Watch, which features minor hockey players destined to become big names in major junior or the NCAA, appears every Thursday, only on thehockeynews.com.

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