Nijhoff Looks To Bring Community Focus To San Diego

Logan Nijhoff Looks To Take Next Step With Gulls

Aug 24, 2022

By Paige Burnell/

On Aug. 9, the San Diego Gulls signed Logan Nijhoff to a to a two-year contract beginning in the 2022-23 season after the center appeared in the final three regular season games of 2021-22 with the club on an amateur tryout.  

"It certainly hasn’t quite sunk in yet," Nijhoff said. "I’ve actually been in Regina (Saskatchewan) all summer just having more opportunity to train and skate here with high caliber players. I decided to move here for the summer instead of stay back home in Comox (British Columbia) and as far as it settling in, it hasn’t quite yet. I don’t think it probably will until I get down there and get started, but it’s certainly going to be an exciting change. I’m super excited for that challenge and the opportunity to come."

Signing a professional contract with the Gulls is the apex of a remarkable Western Hockey League career with the Regina Pats for the center, who achieved career-highs both from a from a statistical and community standpoint. 

The 21-year-old earned 25-24=49 points in 57 WHL games to establish career-highs in goals, assists, points, PIM (85) and faceoff percentage (58.3%).

Nijhoff accomplished this while serving as the Pats’ captain for the past two seasons and putting up 61-62=123 points with a +22 rating and 253 PIM in 231 career WHL games from 2016-22.

"I was very fortunate to be given such a big role in Regina in all aspects of the game and I’m certainly looking forward to being able to bring that to San Diego," Nijhoff said. "Having that opportunity to kind of get my feet wet last year certainly helped me out with what I need to improve on throughout the offseason to be able to make an impact next year."

Additionally, Nijhoff spent the last three years serving as a player ambassador for Hockey Gives Blood, a nonprofit organization working to promote blood and stem cell donation throughout the hockey community in partnership with Canadian Blood Services. 

"Right away, it was something I wanted to get involved with having a grandma who’s needed blood transfusions throughout her life, and my other grandma has been a donator her whole life," Nijhoff said. "It’s certainly a cause that I wanted to get behind and do everything I could in the community to help people who are in need. It’s pretty incredible how many people need blood when you really diving into it and it’s something that people my age don’t really do, so I saw it as an opportunity to be a leader in the community and help out where I could."

In April, Nijhoff became the fourth recipient of Hockey Gives Blood’s Dayna Brons Honorary Award, which is given to annually to an individual from Canada’s hockey community who exhibits outstanding dedication and sacrifice towards patients who rely on blood and stem cell products in Canada. 

"He’s just really risen to the top and set a new standard for what it means to be a player ambassador and keeping our program genuine and doing it for the right reasons," said Stu Middleton, the President and co-founder of Hockey Gives Blood. "He just continually does that and that’s just part of his personality and the make-up of the person he is."

Through his Every Face-Off Counts campaign, which called for people to donate for every faceoff the center won, Nijhoff raised $8,180 for Canadian Blood Services. 

This is very significant considering he won a team leading 818-of-1404 faceoffs (58.3%) in 2021-22, ranking third among WHL skaters in faceoff win percentage and fifth in faceoff wins.

"After I won the Dayna Brons Honorary Award, I felt extremely honored and humbled to be recognized for such a special award," Nijhoff said. "It’s an honor to help continue on Dayna’s legacy and help inspire others to give back like Dayna did.

"I would rate this award tied at the top of the list for my career accomplishments."

Nijhoff’s execution of his philanthropic campaign is a perfect representation of how the traits he exhibited as a player ambassador will continue to translate to the ice, which means he’ll provide his new flock in San Diego with a lot more than faceoff wins. 

"The traits of being a blood donor and a hockey player really do cross over," Middleton said. "Being a blood donor takes commitment, sacrifice and dedication much like the traits of a hockey player that is trying to get to the highest level." 

Nijhoff’s work on and off the ice go hand-in-hand in multiple respects. Now that the center is playing hockey at a higher level, his role with Hockey Gives Blood is going to evolve in kind. 

The Comox, British Columbia native will see his role as an ambassador shift now that he’s playing for the Gulls in the United States, but this has only created the opportunity for Nijhoff to establish a new set of precedents for Hockey Gives Blood as a mentor to player ambassadors as they enter the program. 

"Logan’s biggest trait is leading by example so there’s nothing that he’s asking someone to do that he wouldn’t do himself," Middleton said. "That’s where the mentorship comes up and when these young players see a pro hockey player like Logan juggling supporting a nonprofit and playing hockey at a high level, it really does show them firsthand that it can be done and that there is an impact from this kind of community goodwill. I think Logan does a really good job of balancing it, but also making it an integral part of who he is and people admire him for that. When they see him do it and make it look so easy it inspires others to get involved."

Nijhoff may make it look easy, but the center is very aware of the challenges that await him in his new role with the Gulls. The rookie is excited about the prospect of having mentors of his own. Nonetheless, he will make an impact on the Gulls as both a hockey player and a person. 

"This year is going to be a big change for me," Nijhoff said. "I’m looking forward to bringing what I’ve learned in the past to the team and hopefully, we’ll have a really good season."

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