Even as the young 2021-22 season moves forward, the Wenatchee Wild have an eye on the future as well, and this week signed forward Ben Picard from the San Jose Jr. Sharks 16U AAA team to a New Player Recruit form for the 2022-23 season. Picard was born in Oakland, CA and resides there still.
Like many hockey players, Ben found his way to the ice at a young age (3 years old) and starting playing hockey at age 5. With a father who played the game, he had valuable insight and coaching from the outset. “He taught me everything about the game when I was young”, Picard said. A multi-sport athlete, the 6’0 170 lb. forward plays lacrosse for his high school team in the spring.
Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Leigh Mendelson spoke of why Picard is a good fit for the Wild club. “Ben is a player we’ve spent some time with over the past year and are very comfortable with him as a player and person. He has a very strong work ethic and competitive side to him on top of his ability to produce on the scoresheet. We know all young players have an adjustment when they get to Junior Hockey, but we feel Ben’s strength and competitiveness will help him make that adjustment. We couldn’t be more pleased to have him join the Wild family.”
Picard is equally comfortable with the opportunity to play for Wenatchee next season. “It is really reassuring to know my plans for next season because hockey is such a competitive sport and there are a bunch of really good players competing for a small number of spots.”
Head Coach Chris Clark feels confident about the young forward as well. “We are very excited to have Ben joining us next year. He’s a kid we have spent a lot of time getting to know over the past couple years. We really feel his game will fit in well with how we like to do things here.”
While Picard’s immediate future is laid out, he has a vision for further down the road. “I want to play Division 1 hockey and get a degree at the same time. My goal is to go as far as I can in hockey and of course make it to the NHL. In general, I just want to continue to have fun playing hockey every day.”
When not on the ice or working on growing his game, he explores his creative side. “I like to mess around with creating digital music on my laptop”, he shared. “I took a class on it in my freshmen year and I try to spend a little bit of time making music each week.”