The half-visor is looking pretty good attached to the helmet with the number 74 on it in the London Knights dressing room.
For the first few games that Jacob Julien played in the Ontario Hockey League, he was wearing a full cage.
Players must wear what the league they are a part of mandates. Julien began this year in the Greater Ontario Hockey League with the London Nationals. He is a Knights draft pick so London was able to recall him from the Nationals to play in the OHL.
He just wasn’t a full-fledged London Knight.
That changed on Monday afternoon when London announced that Julien had been signed to a standard player agreement and would be playing the rest of 2022-23 with the Knights.
Julien has impressed in a quick five-game span. He makes the right play any time he gets the puck and has even seen time on the power play. On Nov. 3 against the Niagara IceDogs, he scored his first goal.
He actually did that twice. The first one was called back because it was ruled Julien had deflected it into the Niagara net with a high stick.
“I thought it was going to be a good goal,” admitted Julien. “But it wasn’t a big deal when it was called back.”
He just went out and did it again, going hard into the IceDogs zone on the forecheck.
Julien got to the puck behind the net and banked it in off Niagara goaltender Josh Rosenzweig.
“I saw that he was a little bit off his post so I decided to throw (the puck) there and it worked out,” said Julien.
Things have worked out well in his hockey career but like that forecheck, they have been hard.
Julien was not selected in the OHL Priority Selection in his draft year after spending the season with the Chatham-Kent Cyclones.
Then the pandemic hit and a plan to play with the London Jr. Knights was all but dashed, save for a few practices and scrimmages.
Still, that was enough for the London, Ont., native to catch the eye of the Knights and they selected him in the third round of the 2021 Under-18 OHL Priority Selection.
Julien attended training camp with the Knights in 2021 and then played last season with the London Nationals, where he scored 18 goals and had 43 points in 36 games. He was also a point-per-game player for the Nats in the playoffs.
This year Julien has been one of the top point producers in the GOJHL with 19 goals in 22 games and 41 points overall.
He had also been balancing a full course load in engineering at Western University.
Julien made his OHL debut against the Soo Greyhounds on Nov. 13.
For a guy with all kinds of options in life, Julien smiled when he was asked about his current goals.
“I’d like to try to become a professional hockey player. That’s pretty much everyone’s goal (at this level).”
Julien is now one step closer to making that happen.