by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
For many cultures, turning 18 years-of-age is a lifeline celebration to the entrance of adulthood.
For Logan Nachtegaele, it would be a birthday of sorrowfulness.
It was on his 18th birthday, the date of November 21, 2014, that his father James "Jim" Nachtegaele passed away at the age of 50 after battling colon cancer.
Born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, James would have his last breath at Battlefords Union Hospital.
He would leave behind his wife Karen and son Logan.
It was an important period of life itself for Logan as he had reached his dream of suiting up for the Battleford North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).
"I was just starting my Junior hockey career and as a kid growing up in Battleford, it was my dream to play for the North Stars one day," says Nachtegaele, now 22 years-of-age and playing for the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Portage Voyageurs. "My dad was instrumental in my hockey development as he was my coach in hockey for my first years.
"He was always big into sports. He was a great guy and a leader. He was not a mean-spirited guy and he always led by example. There was no reason for anyone not to like him."
Asked if his father had given him any final words of advice, Logan answered: "He did not give me words but he always wanted me to be successful in whatever I did. He led by example."
Did his father's passing change his own outlook on life?
"I wouldn't say that it changed my outlook on life. But it did put everything in perspective, in that life is precious. It also gave me more determination to succeed in hockey."
Succeed he did, as Logan would record 3 goals and 2 assists in 37 games in 2014-2015 while upping his SJHL totals to 4 goals 6 assists in 46 games for 2015-2016.
In 2016-2017 he would record 7 goals and 8 assists in 46 appearances. A season in which the North Stars would claim bragging rights to the SJHL title by defeating the Flin Flon Bombers.
Last year Logan packed his suitcases to head west and play for the University of Victoria Vikes in U Sports hockey.
"I had played all of my minor hockey and Junior hockey in North Battleford," said Logan, who was a multi-sport athlete growing up with basketball and football showcasing his athletic talents. "I was lucky that I was able to stay around home with my hockey career for so long."
Following his cup of coffee in Victoria (23 games 5 goals 5 assists) where he was enrolled in Humanities, Logan decided to look into studies that would lead to a future career in the oil industry, hence his selecting Portage College in Lac la Biche, Alberta and its 4th Class Power Engineering course.
"There are a lot of plants being built around North Battleford," says Logan. "It would be nice to return home but I will go where the jobs are."
Of his short time to date in Northern Alberta, he says: "The facility (Bold Centre) is unbelievable. I can't believe how nice it is. We are treated awesome in the program."
Being interviewed on his car phone, Logan is passing Maidstone, Alberta on his way home to North Battleford as the interview concludes with one final question...which was..."What kind of hockey player are you?"
A slight pause...and with the phone breaking up...."I'm an energy guy. I'm physical and make sure that I get the puck out with safe passes. I am a two-way forward and I love killing penalties and I love playing on the power play. I guess you could say I am a team guy."
A team guy.
Just what his dad probably wanted.