Game On Magazine September 2015 - Page 20

seventh round (199th overall) of the National Hockey League entry draft by the Atlanta Thrashers (now Winnipeg Jets), a rare occurance when an MJHL player is taken in the NHL draft. “It was an exciting time and yes, not many players, anymore at least, are selected out of the MJHL by NHL teams,” said Stoykewych. “I was also the very last player the Thrashers ever took before the team moved to Winnipeg and the Jets had the next draft. So, yeah, it was a pretty exciting time.” He had already accepted a scholarship offer with the Colorado College Tigers (his brother Paul plays for another Manitoban, Andy Murray, at Western Michigan), so in order to prepare for NCAA Division 1 hockey, he played his 18-year-old year with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League. “That was a great experience and it’s where I really got a lot of exposure and started to learn how to play pro hockey,” he said. “It really prepared me to play four years at the Division 1 level of the NCAA.” Stoykewych, now 23, blossomed at Des Moines but became a star at Colorado College. In his final season with the Tigers, he had three goals and eight assists in 34 games and finished his college career with six goals and 28 assists in 139 games. A solid puck-moving defenseman, he was a rock in his own zone and always made the players around him better. A number of scouts that spoke to Game On Magazine about Stoykewych, had this to say about the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder: “His skating speed is a key to his game and he has a big shot. His offensive numbers have always been limited because he’s a classic stay-at-home defenseman who has become more physical every year. He was captain at Colorado College in 2014-15 so he’s obviously a team leader. He needs to continue to develop his tactical and technical skills to have a shot at playing at the next level.” He played six games in St. John’s at the end of lasts season and had one assists and 11 penalty minutes. He’s going to get another shot with the new Moose this fall. “Being a Winnipeg kid, you always dream about having the opportunity to play in your home town,” he said. “I’ll have a chance to be on that stage this year and I’m excited about it. I can’t ever imagine that I could possibly say anything bad about playing hockey in Winnipeg. We have great fans and it’s a great city to play in. I’m excited about the upcoming season. Really excited.” n We have great fans and a great city to play in. I’m excited about the upcoming season 20 GAME ON SEPTEMBER 2015