Photo credit: Garrett James Photography
By Sheldon Lee
It was not the storybook ending Jackson Munro and his Chilliwack Chiefs teammates were hoping for. Munro wrapped up a four-year BCHL career last month with a loss in a first-place showdown against the Prince George Spruce Kings, which determined the winner of the Chilliwack Pod.
Despite the loss, it was not all bad news for the BCHL veteran, who has 164 regular-season games to his name. Munro was voted by coaches and broadcasters as the Chilliwack Pod’s Top Defenceman at the end of the year.
“It’s definitely an honor,” said Munro. “There were a ton of talented defencemen in the pod. There’s Mason Waite in Prince George, Trevor Longo on my team and [Talon] Zakall with the Centennials. Any of those guys could have gotten it. It’s definitely an honor to get the award and it’s nice to be recognized.”
Munro’s game has steadily grown over his four seasons in the BCHL. At over a half a point per game in the pod, he has shown tremendous capability in the opponent’s end of the ice end and credits this past year’s condensed schedule for helping him evolve in that respect.
“Obviously we were all really eager to get out there,” he said. “You can develop your skills in practice, but the games are where you really make strides. It was awesome to squeeze as many games in as we did in such a short amount of time. I think it helped me grow offensively and helped me build some confidence for next year, something I felt was really important.”
While the Chiefs season ended in heartbreak, Munro credits his entire team for their perseverance throughout the season, especially while undermanned.
“Of course, we had a few low moments and moments we’d like to get back, but for the most part I thought we played really well,” said Munro. “We faced a lot of adversity. We lost guys to injury throughout the year. I’m extremely happy with our effort and couldn’t have asked for much more.”
Munro got to take in the full BCHL experience over his four-year tenure. Prior to landing in Chilliwack, he was a member of the Merritt Centennials from 2017-2019. He also played one season with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in 2019-20. Playing for three different teams from three very different parts of the province was something Munro embraced.
“All three places are extremely unique and no two places were similar,” he said. “Merritt is just a quaint little town, not very big, but some incredibly special people there, and within their organization. In Port Alberni, I got to meet a lot of cool and interesting people. It was really cool living on the Island and living in the Interior. As a Vancouver guy, you don’t always get to see all sides of British Columbia, but the BCHL allowed me to do that.”
He has some more travelling to do soon as well. Munro’s hard work and dedication, both on the ice and in the classroom, earned him a scholarship down south next year to join the Bears and Brown University – an Ivy League school known not only for its superior academics, but also for having one of the oldest hockey programs in the country.
“It was really exciting for me and my family,” said Munro. “To be able to go to such a great school, a really good academic institute, as well as the opportunity to play Division I hockey, it’s something I’ve dreamed about for a long time and I’m really happy to make it come true.”
The newest chapter of Munro’s hockey career will kick off sometime late in the summer. Until then he’s got a little bit of downtime on his hands, time he plans on spending outdoors with buddies and working on his game.
“I’m going to try and get out on the golf course as much as a can with my friends back home,” he said. “I haven’t seen them in a while, so it would be nice to spend some time with them. Obviously, I’m also going to be spending a ton of time in the gym and on the ice training in preparation for next year.”
As his BCHL career comes to a close, Munro has remained steadfast in his goals and has shown the resiliency and determination to make them a reality. Whether we are talking about a potential pro hockey debut in a few years or walking away from Brown University with an economics major, one thing is for certain, the best is yet to come for Jackson Munro.