The SFU Men’s Hockey Team hosts the Great Northwest Showcase at Bill Copeland Sports Centre on January 3rd and 4th. After playing host to the University of Oklahoma and Arizona State last year, SFU set their sights higher for 2014, inviting NCAA Division One schools Princeton and the University of North Dakota. With so much top-tier talent on the ice, we’re here to introduce you to the players you’ll want to keep your eye on.
University of North Dakota
UND is the cream of the crop when it comes to NCAA hockey. Since their program started in 1946 they’ve won seven NCAA Div One Championships. They currently have 15 pro prospects on their roster and their alumni list contains several NHLers including Zach Parise, Jonathan Toews, and Garry Valk.
After being drafted 33rd overall by Flordia in 2011, Grimaldi joined the USA’s Gold Medal team in the 2013 World Juniors, scoring twice in the tournament, including the game winner in the championship game vs. Sweden. He currently leads UND in goals, assists, and overall points (6-10-16) after 17 games.
Schmaltz was drafted 25th overall in the 2012 NHL draft by St. Louis. In his rookie year at UND he played in all 42 games, more than any other WCHA rookie defensemen, recording 12 points. Now in his second year with the team, Schmalz has 9 points in 16 games.
Freshman winger, Wade Murphy was drafted by Nashville in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. Prior to that, the Victoria native played in the BCHL for the Victoria Grizzlies and Penticton Vees. In his final BCHL season he led Penticton in points (70) and earned his second-straight All-Star Team nod.
As the son of Steve Tambellini, freshman Adam has quite the family pedigree. He was drafted in the third round by the Rangers in 2013, but before that he was playing right here in the lower mainland, for the Surrey Eagles. He recorded 14 goals and 13 assists in just 16 regular season games with the Eagles in 2013, before leading the team with 10 goals in 17 playoff games, going on to win the 2013 BCHL Championship.
Princeton University Tigers
The Ivy League school completes in the ECAC conference, winning its conference championship twice. The school has three current NHL alumni: Jeff Halpern, George Parros, and Kevin Westgarth.
The Calgary native played for the Westside Warriors of the BCHL before joining the Princeton Tigers. During the 2010-11 season he led Warrior defensemen in goals with 13.
The Surrey native and Princeton freshman played in the BCHL for three years, most recently with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, who won the 2013 Island Division Championship.
The senior defenseman and Princeton’s assistant captain hails from Cranbook, BC and spent three years with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, winning the team’s top defenseman award all three seasons. He is currently studying civil engineering at Princeton, where he’s been named to the ECAC All-Academic Team for three straight years.
Another engineering student, the Delta native has also been named to the ECAC All-Academic Team for three straight years. The senior has a .877 Sv% and a 3.89 GAA. Before attending Princeton, Bonar spent two seasons with the BCHL Penticton Vees.
Don’t Forget About the Local Talent!
Of course, your local teams aren’t short on talent either. Notable players for SFU include local boys Tyler Mah and Jono Ceci, as well as former NCAA athletes Aaron Enns, Nick Sandor, and Jared Eng, who also represented Canada at the IIHF World Inline Hockey Championships in 2013.
The UBC Thunderbirds of the CIS return to the Showcase after going undefeated in 2013. Players include former Surrey Eagle, Linden Saip, and former Vancouver Giant, Neil Manning.
Want to join me at the Showcase? Visit greatnorthwestshowcase.com for more information and to buy tickets. Use the code 2014GNS and get 20% off your tickets.