Putting up numbers and performing as an all-around hockey player is nothing Brainerd senior Josh Archibald takes for granted.
Much like his coach and father Jim, Josh maintains a balance and a perspective with hockey and life that has paved a way for a bright future.
Archibald leads his team in points this year and is fifth among all players in the state with 55 points (21 goals, 34 assists). His Warriors are currently 13-6 and he has been busy on visits to prospective colleges.
Archibald has garnered plenty of interest from Division I colleges and has had official visits at Bowling Green University, the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
"I have been on unofficial visits to North Dakota and Bemidji State," Archibald added.
Archibald is leading a Warrior team that returned just seven players from its Section 8AA semifinal team last year. They fell to the eventual section champion Roseau Rams by a score of 3-2 in overtime as Archibald assisted on both Warrior goals in the tough luck game.
Immediately following that game, Archibald and his teammates focused on the upcoming season.
"The loss was tough and everyone was down about it but right after that game. We knew we were going to have to start preparing for the next season - this season - and that is what a lot of us have been doing," Archibald said. "Hopefully we can go to State this year for sure but if not, mimic what we did last year with a 23-4 record being the best record in school history."
Along with his teammates, Archibald worked out at Minnesota Hockey Camps this past summer and he is convinced his experiences with the Brainerd/Nisswa-based hockey program helped his development.
"We had a specific program where we skated twice a day," Archibald said. "You do plyometrics and dry-land once day and usually lift once a day so it's a great program out there and they have helped me become the player I have today."
His offensive numbers have been impressive over the past two seasons as he collected 57 points (22 goals, 35 assist) in 27 games last year and he is well on pace this year to pass those totals.
He credits his father for helping him with his perspective on the game.
"I am pretty lucky," Archibald said of his father. "He knows a lot about the game He knows what it takes to get to the next level. He always tells me you are only going to get more out of the game that you put into it.
"He knows what to expect."
Jim Archibald played for the North Dakota Sioux from 1981-82 through 1984-85 and was a 7th round pick of the Minnesota North Stars in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. He has played for some outstanding coaches in his career and has been able to pass that wealth of knowledge on to his son and the Brainerd Warriors teams the past three seasons.
"Every one of your coaches always adds a little bit of something," Jim said. "You learn something from every coach. I had the good fortune of playing for a lot of good coaches down the road. I had the opportunity while I was at the University (North Dakota) to play for Gino Gasparini and his two assistant coaches, Dean Blais and John Marks. Blais had a big influence on me and made a strong impact on my career."
Jim also played in the minors under Stanley Cup winner Lorne Henning and had a training camp with the North Stars under Herb Brooks.
Josh Archibald is 5-foot-10 and models his game after Martin St. Louis from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Martin St. Louis is small and he works hard," Archibald observed. "Some people say he never should have made it. He has shown that size doesn't matter and he has a lot of skill. I try to play bigger than I really am and show that I can really play."
Ironically, it is the skill area of the game that Archibald said he needs to work on and Josh thinks he has struggled with that throughout his growth as a player.
Make no mistake; he is skilled and is known as one of the better two-way players in the state. He realized he had college potential last season and dreams of playing in the NHL, but Archibald also realizes how difficult it is to play at that level.
"Like every kid you want to play in the NHL someday but right now I am shooting for the Division I," Josh said. "I realized playing in the Elite League that I kind of have something going so I started working with it a lot more and just became what it is today."
It is the intangibles that add to the allure of Archibald who not only produces offensively but is also a pain to play against.
"Josh is the type of player you love to play with but hate to play against," Jim said. "He's just got that little bit of an attitude and edge to him. He has been called and all-around player. He is the type of guy that may not score you 50 goals but he has good skill, good hockey sense and he can be physical."
After living in Saskatchewan for 20 years the Archibald family moved to Brainerd - where Josh’s mother is from.
"It has always been something we have talked about moving back to the Brainerd area," Jim said. "About three years ago, an opportunity presented itself, we decided to jump on it and here we are back in Minnesota."
It has been a great thing for both Josh and Jim. Josh has found his groove playing high school hockey and enjoys the support that he and his team receive.
"It is great playing for Brainerd," Josh Archibald said. "The kind of support we get from our student fan section and our parents and surrounding community, it means a lot. Also, trying to help out kids and showing them what Brainerd hockey has to offer, it's been great."
While his team comes first yet, it is Josh’s perspective both on and off the ice that have led to several colleges getting in line for his services.
No doubt, whoever lands the highly regard Brainerd Warrior, that team will have a balanced athlete and player who has the perspective of how hockey fits with life.
Credentials: As of Friday, Jan. 28, Archibald lead the Warriors' in scoring with 55 points (21 goals, 24 assists). He also played for Team North in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League last fall registering 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) in 24 games.