Vees captain Troy Stecher commits to North Dakota
Troy Stecher is headed to the University of North Dakota next season.
The Vees made the announcement about their captain in a press release this morning. Stecher will join Wade Murphy, who committed to UND earlier this season.
“We are very happy for Troy as he has been a great leader, teammate and role model for our organization in the past three years,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “Troy’s presence on our blue line will be greatly missed next year but we are excited to watch his career continue at UND.”
Stecher, who was originally committed to the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks, said it’s a weight off the shoulders.
“It was a really long process. I de-committed two games into the season and finally committed with two games left,” said Stecher, who thanked Harbinson for the opportunity he gave him. “A lot of hard work went into it with myself and my family.”
Prior to choosing UND, Stecher flew to the University of Western Michigan a week after visiting North Dakota. It was after that his decision was easy. “I came home and when you fall in love with something that’s all you think about,” said the Richmond native. “That’s what happened with North Dakota. It’s a place I’m really excited about going to and they have a deep history of producing NHL players and I’m excited to go with my good friend Wade Murphy. We have been really good friends ever since we were younger.”
Stecher said North Dakota just seemed like a great fit and compared it to Penticton, which he considers home.
“We’re really fortunate here in Penticton with the arena,” he said. “It’s probably the nicest in all of junior A. It’s the same in North Dakota. Ralph Engelstad Arena is absolutely incredible. It’s probably better than any NHL rink I’ve ever seen. They get over 12,000 fans every night which is absolutely insane for college hockey. The coaching staff is similar. The transition just seemed super easy for me.”
Stecher is in his third and final season with the Vees. In 51 games, Stecher has a career high 46 points and also set career highs in goals with eight, and assists, 38. The 18 year-old is the third highest scoring defenceman in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and finished tied with Surrey’s Devon Toews with 47 points. In three seasons with the Vees, Stecher has played in 159 games and collected 18 goals and 109 points.
Along with winning a national championship, Stecher was named the Royal Bank Cup’s top defenceman and is a two-time World Junior A Challenge medalist, winning a gold in 2011 and a silver medal with Team Canada West this past November.
Recent Vees alumni to have played at North Dakota include Brett Hextall, Evan Trupp, Mark MacMillan and Brendan O’Donnell.