Richmond standout Troy Stecher will be continuing his promising hockey career at the University of North Dakota (UND) next fall after accepting a scholarship offer from NCAA Division One powerhouse.
The 18-year-old has enjoyed three outstanding seasons in the B.C. Hockey League with the Penticton Vees, highlighted by last spring's run to the Royal Bank Cup national junior "A" championship where Stecher was named the tournament's top defenceman. He is also a two-time World Junior 'A' Challenge medalist, winning a gold medal in 2011 and a silver medal with Team Canada West last November. Most recently, the Richmond Minor product was named a first team all-star in the BCHL's Interior Conference.
UND is one of the most decorated programs in men's college hockey.
UND has appeared in the NCAA tournament 27 times and the Frozen Four 19 times, and won seven national championships, 15 Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Regular Season Championships and 10 WCHA Tournament Championships. The "green and white" are playing in their final season in the WCHA, and along with seven other chools, will lay in the ew National ollegiate ockey onference NCHC) next eason.
Notable alumni include Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac.
"The development of NHL players is second to none," said Stecher. "The way they run things is like a pro hockey team. There are a lot of positives, and I couldn't be happier for the opportunity they are giving me next season as a freshman."
Stecher helped the Richmond Blues reach the Bantam A1 provincial championship game in his final season with the local association. He then played for the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and was named the team's MVP before signing with Penticton.
As the Vees' captain, he has a career best 47 points this season, which ranks him third among BCHL defenseman. He also has career highs in goals (eight) and assists (39).
Including the playoffs, Stecher has played in 182 games in Vees colours, while amassing 22 goals and 123 points.
"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 Head Coach and 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."