After three years as the starting goaltender with the Summerland Steam, Matt Huber, 20, is moving on to play university-level hockey for the 2018-2019 season.
He has committed to playing for the Vancouver Island University Mariners in Nanaimo for the upcoming season.
“It’s that next level of competition,” Huber said. “It’s going to be a totally different change of pace.”
While the level of hockey will be more challenging, the game schedule will be lighter than with the Junior B Summerland Steam.
Instead of a 48-game regular season, the university-level team will play 24 games.
“The main focus is school,” Huber said, adding that the practice and play schedules will work around the classroom schedule.
In the classroom, Huber will take a two-year diploma in fisheries and aquaculture.
The path from the Steam to university-level hockey is the same one Huber’s older brother Brett took, leaving the team after three seasons to attend Selkirk College and play for the Selkirk Saints.
“Making the jump to college hockey from junior will be a different, but enjoyable atmosphere,” Matt Huber said. “With the next level comes stronger and more developed players which offers a challenge that I’m willing to accept and run with.”
Huber has been playing hockey since he was four years old and has been a goalie for the past 10 to 11 years.
John DePourcq, head coach of the Summerland Steam, said Huber has been a dedicated and hard-working player on the team.
“Playing junior hockey with us has helped prepare him for this,” DePourcq said. “The reason he has this opportunity is because of his work ethic.”
Huber’s departure means the team will now look for a new presence in the net for the coming season.
The Junior B team has advanced to the division semifinals each year since the 2012 to 2013 season. This spring, the team finished third in regular season play and lost to the Kelowna Chiefs in a seven-game playoff series.