Landon Sim isn’t afraid of living and playing the game he loves in the shadow of his father’s hockey career. If anything, he has embraced it.
The highly skilled gritty 16-year-old forward is trying to forge his own unique path in the game.
Living up to others expectations can be extremely difficult, one might even say crippling, especially when you’re the son of a former NHLer and Stanley Cup Champion.
Whether it’s pressure, undo attention or others perception, Landon Sim has handled his journey in the game with class and dignity.
Sim is content to leave his own mark on the game. A game that has been part of his life as long as he could remember. “Growing up with my dad playing in the NHL was an awesome experience,” Sim said proudly.
“I always looked up to my dad growing up.”
“I had the chance to meet so many NHL players and live in some cool places like New York, Atlanta and Czech Republic.”
Hard work, dedication and an unwavering passion for the game definitely runs in the Sim family. Forging his own path in the game is one thing, having the unwavering support of his family is another. The impact of his family and the experience growing up around the game certainly isn’t lost on the youngster.
“My family has played a massive role in my career with myself having two younger brothers who also played the highest level of hockey their whole lives, weekends would be crazy my parents and my brothers would be split up every weekend in different places,” explained Sim.
“My grandparents would go to every home game I had ever since I moved back to New Glasgow they love watching me play more than anyone else.
Every time Sim steps on the ice it’s with purpose and conviction. The young speedy elusive forward plays the game with unparalleled passion and is relentless at both ends of the ice.
By last season Sim was on every QMJHL organizations radar. The high-end diminutive forward was putting up solid numbers with the Weeks Major Midgets when news got out that he was going to take a different path to play his junior hockey. The decision to apply his craft in the OHL certainly caught many people off guard.
“The decision to choose the Ontario Hockey League was definitely not an easy decision,” confessed Sim. “My family and I knew I would have so much more of an opportunity in the OHL with some of the teams my family had connections with such as the London Knights.”
“I couldn’t have been happier to be chosen by the Knights in the OHL priority selection,” Sim said proudly.
The Knights selected Sim in the 3rd round 46th overall. Sim understands there’s work to be done in order to get to the next level, especially given the constant criticism or knock on small players making the jump to the junior level.
“I think if smaller players compete and move their feet as much as they can there isn’t much of a problem of being smaller in the modern-day game,” Sim said confidently.
“The aspects of my game I want to improve on for the next level would definitely be making my shot quicker and harder, so I can score more goals. I also want to keep improving my strength and speed.”
Sim is currently playing at home for the Pictou County Crushers of the Maritime Hockey League, before heading to London to join Knights in January. “The opportunity to play at home for the Crushers is awesome,” Sim said.
“The MHL is a very underrated league and with the COVID situation in Ontario there isn’t any leagues playing with hitting for the time being.”
“Playing junior at home is going to put me in the best spot I can be to get ready for when I get to London, which I am super excited for.”
In 9 games so far with the Crushers, Sim has lite the lamp two times while adding an assist and amassing twelve minutes in penalties.
Sim isn’t hesitant when it comes to going to the dirty areas of the ice to create offensively for himself and others. His hockey IQ is off the charts. Sim does everything at top speed while possessing high level puck skills.
Sound familiar? Obviously, Sim had an unbelievable role model and coach in his dad. “My dad has played a massive role in my career so far.”
“He lived the “pro life” for fifteen years, so he has showed me what you have to do to be like a pro with little things like eating, training, and preparation.”
“It’s one of the biggest advantages I have,” Sim said.
“My dad has been in every situation as a player so he will always be there to help me out in my career.”
“It was great having my dad as my coach growing up, he would always be the hardest on me in practice and games because he always wanted the best from me no matter what.”
“When we got to the rink he was my coach and I was one of his players. Father and son didn’t matter when he coached me,” stressed Sim.
Father, coach and mentor, Jon Sim certainly did it the right way. Maria and Jon are classic hockey parents through and through, but there’s no question they have kept their children grounded. Character, maturity and being a great teammate comes to mind when you think Landon Sim. “Landon is the type of player that every coach wants on their team,” said long-time friend and teammate Brayden Schmitt.
“He works hard, pays attention to detail and never complains,” said Schmitt, who plays for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL.
“Landon will for sure do well with the Knights.”
“Off the ice, Landon is type of guy that little kids should look up to and aspire to be like.”
Kyle MacLennan, who coached Sim last season also speaks very highly of the person and player. “Landon possesses an incredible work ethic, a desire to improve both on and off of the ice,” MacLennan said.
“He loves the game, lives and breathes it every day and has been as competitive as any player I have coached over the past seven years at the U18 level.”
“On the puck or off the puck, Landon will always compete to win.”
Did MacLennan ever think Sim felt pressure to live up to his father’s accomplishments? “If he has I haven’t seen it.”
“I am sure it is natural for any young man that has a family member have that much success in the game to feel some sort of pressure from time to time, but I think Landon has done a fantastic job handling it,” MacLennan said.
“Jon was an incredible player, a great coach and has been a great mentor for Landon, so although he probably has felt pressure from time to time, the positives of having someone like Jon influencing your hockey career on a daily basis far outweighs any pressure.”
What does it mean to MacLennan to see Sim and countless other former players having success at the next level?
“At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.”
“You want kids to leave your program better players and better people. When you watch them having success you can’t help but smile,” said a reflective MacLennan.
“I think, for many, much like Landon, our program has been a really positive part of their development, but you have to also tip your hat to their parents, their teammates, their other coaches and influences, not to mention the players themselves.”
“It takes a “full team” effort and we are just happy to be a positive part of that.”
MacLennan had a very special group a season ago. “That group last year was fantastic. They were honestly so easy to coach.”
“They could change systems or tactics on the fly with little to no disruption. We had fantastic leadership and they could manage themselves very well.”
“It freed our staff up to focus our energy in other areas on need because the leadership was so strong. By the end of the year it was a “next man up” mentality and we were comfortable with any player on the ice at any given time,” explained MacLennan.
“Landon being the intelligent player that he was had a big part in that. He led with his work ethic on and off of the ice, even as a fifteen-year-old. He has such a great mind for that game that we did a lot of “coaching” and problem solving with his line mates and made their lives a lot easy on the ice.”
“He created a ton of space for his teammates with his ability to process and influence the game,” MacLennan said.
“The entire group last year was so close,” Sim said.
“Every day going to the rink was amazing because our group of guys was unbelievable. Not being able to continue our run in the playoffs really sucked,” confessed Sim.
“We were an amazing team and not to see what we could accomplish was extremely difficult.” “We knew it was going to be the last time we played together. I knew it would be the last time ever to play with my closest friends like Brayden Schmitt, Lucas Canning and Kiefer Avery.”
“Not being able to finish our last season together was extremely difficult, it just really sucked.
The future may be unclear given COVID-19, but there’s no question Landon Sim’s future in the game of hockey is as bright as ever. Sim understands the work never ends. The dream to play at hockey’s highest level still inspires him.
“I always thought that if he grew up playing hockey in Pictou County and make it to the NHL I could hopefully follow his footsteps and do the same thing,” explained Sim
That dream is within reach.
“If I could get the chance to hear my name called in the NHL draft in a couple years would mean the world to my family for everything they have done for me.”
“Both of my parents have made their weekends about my brothers and I their entire lives and if I could get drafted it would be for my parents for everything they have done for me,” said Sim.
From New Glasgow, Nova Scotia to London, Ontario, Landon Sim’s journey in the game continues.
You see the courage, commitment and trust to execute the plan and stay the course is inspirational, but it truly reveals the character, skill and resiliency of the player and person. Landon Sim is undoubtedly leaving his own mark on the game he loves.