By Cliff Mehrtens
© 2005 The Charlotte Observer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dusty Jamieson was set to become a police officer.
Instead, the Charlotte Checkers’ leading goal scorer the past four seasons will hold onto a hockey stick. The nightstick can wait.
Jamieson, 25, liked the roster that coach Derek Wilkinson assembled during the summer. Liked the new practice facility in Indian Trail and another season in shiny Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
He had finished interviews with the London (Ontario) Police Service last summer. The next day, Jamieson’s phone rang.
“I was thinking about it, and Wilkie called and came through,” he said. “We have older guys with a lot of character. Guys you know you’re going to have around most of the year. We have a new owner (Michael Kahn) and facilities. I couldn’t not come back.”
Jamieson scored 30 goals, with 31 assists, last season, while playing through injuries. He had 31 goals two seasons ago, 24 in 2003-04 and 27 as a rookie in 2002-03.
His 112 goals are third-most in team history, behind Darryl Noren (174) and Matt Robbins (113).
Jamieson will continue the chase at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the ECHL opener against Wheeling at Bobcats Arena.
“When a kid has his mind set on pursuing something, you give them every chance you can,” Wilkinson said. “Part of our level is helping them grow as hockey players, but also grow in their life.”
Jamieson had a four-game stint with Binghamton of the American Hockey League (a level above the ECHL) last season. You’d think a 112-goal scorer would draw more interest.
Wilkinson said most AHL teams have NHL-contracted prospects as scorers and can be reluctant to discard them for an ECHL star.
“From a community standpoint, Dusty is certainly one of our most well-known players and a legitimate 30-goal scorer,” Wilkinson said. “We love having him. He brings so much more, though.”
Jamieson is part of Charlotte’s experienced core, with goalie Alex Westlund, forwards Blake Bellefeuille and Nathan Gillies and defensemen Kenton Smith, Kirk DeWaele and Jan Vodrazka.
“It was an easy decision,” Jamieson said. “I’ve always wanted to be a police officer, but maybe that can wait. I wanted to be here, and it is fun to play here.”