Jordan Harris has been talked about a lot for his on-ice abilities, attributes the Montreal Canadiens have lacked on their back end for some time. However, it’s Harris’ intangibles that make him one of the more intriguing youngsters to join the Canadiens in quite some time.
“As a person, he’s poised and has patience toward himself. He’s bright, articulate; I call it being neutral, never goes high or low,” said Northeastern University’s director of athletics Jim Madigan about Harris’ personality. “This isn’t limited to hockey; he applies it to every aspect of his life.”
Jordan Harris plays a very intelligent game on the ice, predicated on smart decision-making and a high-tempo pace focused on quick transitions. Although he plays a very intense and fast style on the ice, he’s as cool as a cucumber when the games get tighter.
“His confidence in his abilities, that quiet confidence, help him elevate his game in crucial moments,” said Madigan of Harris’ ability to step up for big games. “He works on his game, and he prepares. Confidence comes from preparation, and Jordan prepares for everything, which drives his confidence. He’s a balanced player, even when great things happen to him; never too high and never too low. That allows him to be relaxed during big games.”
These qualities set Harris apart from most of the players that came through the Huskies’ program at Northeastern, as Harris always seemed to be the one to rise above the pressure. It led to Harris being named captain of a very young Huskies team, and he led by example, as he always has, according to Madigan and coach Jerry Keefe. That ability to channel pressure and lead a time to victory will serve him well as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, as he looks to carry over what he’s built in the NCAA to the NHL.
Qualities of a Leader
Harris was the unanimous choice to be the captain of the Huskies during this past season, which was Harris’ final year at Northeastern. Not only did they feel he deserved to wear it, but coach Keefe went one step further, alluding to how it helped Harris flourish even further.
“Being the captain comes with a lot of responsibility. From a development standpoint, it was really good for Jordan to wear the C for this team,” said head coach Keefe on Harris’ development as a leader in his senior year. “We had a lot of young players, and I thought it was really important for him to lead the way and teach those young guys.
Harris was called upon to handle every situation on the ice at even strength, powerplay, and penalty kill. He often played well over 30 minutes, while also being the ‘’Big Brother’’ in the room to the many freshmen on the Huskies’ roster.
“Every situation he played in, he did it well. He played against other teams’ top players, and there were games where he played over 30 minutes for us,” said Keefe on Harris’ impact on the Northeastern roster. “He’s a winner and made sure to lead this young team to victory this year. He played on the first powerplay and the first penalty kill for us, just a true No.1 defenceman for us.”
Madigan and Keefe said that the transition into a leadership role was seamless for Harris, as he had exemplified the attributes required to be a leader for the Huskies well before he was given the captaincy this season.
“Always about the team.”
When asked to develop what Harris had done in the past that sold them on his character and leadership skills, both men pointed to the same instance.
They recount their favourite memory of Jordan Harris’ four years at Northeastern; both coaches pointed to the 2020 Beanpot Final without hesitation. The Beanpot tournament is played annually between the four major Boston-based college teams (Harvard, Boston U, Boston College and Northeastern). Northeastern had won three of them in a row during Harris’ time with the Huskies.
The 2020 Beanpot went all the way to second overtime until Boston U was called for a penalty with a little less than 7 minutes to go in the extra frame. The Massachusetts native scored the game-winning goal with a seeing-eye shot from the point, but it’s what he did next that marked the memory of his coaches.
“It’s overtime in the Beanpot; we’re playing Trevor Zegras and Boston University. Jordan takes a shot from the point, it goes in, and we win the game,” recalled Madigan. “Instead of going to jump into the boards or do a little dance, he turned around from the blueline and made his way to our goaltender Graig Pantano. He throws his hands in the air, trying to throw his gloves off to go and celebrate with Pantano, and one glove was just stuck, and he couldn’t get it off. It was hilarious; we still poke fun at him for that. It wasn’t about him; it was always about the team.”
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“That moment sums up Jordan Harris for me,” said Keefe on Harris’ game-winning goal in the 2020 Beanpot celebration. “He’s a local kid that grew up dreaming of playing in this tournament, and he scored the game-winning goal in overtime. It doesn’t get better than that, and, instead of celebrating, right away, he sprinted back to his goaltender to celebrate with the team.”
Both coaches spoke to the character and leadership that Harris showed them, characteristics of Harris’ personality that led them to award him the captaincy during Harris’ final season at Northeastern this season. Harris left a legacy with the Northeastern Huskies before joining the Montreal Canadiens this week and an impression on everyone who seemed to come in contact with him.
The book is still out on whether or not he’ll be as effective at the NHL level, but it certainly looks like the Montreal Canadiens just added a defenceman with a very promising future.