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By Marcel Vander Wier - Whitehorse Star
David Stephens’ cross-country travels will land him in Calgary in time for the 2014 hockey season.
Earlier this week, the young hockey star from Whitehorse committed to the Mount Royal Cougars, a club which competes in the Canada West division of Canadian University Sport.
The move marks the latest stop in a career that has seen Stephens travel coast to coast.
The 21-year-old has suited up for teams in British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia during his young career.
Stephens said following in the footsteps of his older brother Ted, who plays CIS hockey with the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men, was a no-brainer.
“He said he really enjoyed it and the hockey’s really fun, so I’ve been focused on it for the past couple of years,” he told the Star today.
Stephens aged out of the junior hockey ranks after last season, which he spent with the Weeks Crushers of the Maritime Hockey League.
The Cougars were pleased to announce their new signing this week on their website.
“David has proven that he can produce offence when given the opportunity,” Mount Royal coach Bert Gilling said of his new recruit.
“He has a very high level of compete. He plays an honest game and he plays it the right way.”
Stephens will have a solid core of forwards surrounding him as a number of players will be returning from last year’s quarter-final squad.
Stephens made his major junior debut with the WHL Edmonton Oil Kings in 2010-11 appearing in 30 games during the regular season while battling through injuries.
His next campaign with the Oil Kings was cut short again by injury which limited him to only two games.
His battles with injuries never slowed his determination to play the game, however.
After splitting 2012-13 between the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL and the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL, Stephens found a more permanent home in 2013-14 when he joined the Crushers.
The forward had a breakout season with the Crushers averaging more than a point a game while logging serious minutes in a first-line role.
“David is an exceptional young man,” said Weeks Crushers coach Jason Malone.
“The Weeks Jr. A Crushers were very proud to have Davey last season here in New Glasgow where he became a go-to player for us.”
Stephens finished the season with 13 goals and 22 points in 41 games – by far his best season to date. He went on to lead the Crushers to the playoffs notching 10 points in 11 games before his club bowed out to the eventual league champions from Truro.
“I had a pretty solid year,” Stephens said. “My first three years in junior I battled injuries and couldn’t really get into it. Last year, I worked hard over the summer and thought I had a breakout year. It worked out finally.”
He is aiming to study sports business and will benefit from a major junior hockey scholarship.