LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western men’s hockey coach Barret Kropf added three forwards to his 2015 recruiting class, with Ryan Scott (Surrey, B.C.) and Matthew Vela (Burnaby, B.C.) returning to the Lower Mainland to join the Spartans after spending time in the SIJHL (Superior International Junior Hockey League) and Dirk de Waal (Lethbridge, Alta.) coming to TWU via Briercrest College.
With Scott, Vela and de Waal on board, the Spartans have officially announced the signing of seven players for 2015, including defencemen Jeremy McIntosh (Edmonton) and Kaleb Denham (Innisfail, Alta.) and forwards Matthew Bissett (Pitt Meadows, B.C.) and Daniel Oakley (Richmond, B.C.).
Dirk de Waal (Lethbridge, Alta.)
De Waal, who graduated from Immanuel Christian High School in 2013, comes to the Spartans after spending two years with Briercrest College in the ACAC (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference). The 5-foot-11, 195-pound forward played in 35 games over his two years with the Clippers, collecting 15 points, 11 assists and 76 penalty minutes.
Prior to his time with Briercrest, de Waal, 20, played 32 games with the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, picking up one goal, two assists and 38 penalty minutes.
“We are thrilled to be adding Dirk to the lineup,” Kropf said. “He has had two solid years in the ACAC with Briercrest and his offensive talent will definitely bolster our roster. Beyond his on-ice abilities, I’m also very excited to bring his leadership qualities to our team. He is an excellent player and an even better individual and that is what we continue to build our program on – excellence on and off the ice.”
In the classroom while at Briercrest, de Waal was a two-time ACAC Academic Athletic Award recipient.
“I am excited to attend TWU, because of the way the school combines faith with a top quality education,” said de Waal, who plans to study business administration at TWU. “When I visited, the campus was very impressive and I loved how friendly all of the people were. The BCIHL will also serve as a solid platform to develop my hockey abilities and, hopefully, we win a few championships along the way.”
Ryan Scott (Surrey, B.C.)
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Scott, who graduated from Fraser Heights Secondary, joins the Spartans after collecting four goals and 10 assists in 45 games last year with the Dryden Ice Dogs of the SIJHL. Along the way, he also helped the Ice Dogs to the league championship series.
Prior to moving to Ontario, the 20-year-old Scott had Junior “B” stints with both the Ridge Meadows Flames and the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in 2013-14, playing 25 games with the Flames and three games with the Glacier Kings.
“We are excited to add another Junior “A” forward to our offence this year,” Kropf said. “We have identified a need to get depth scoring this year in order to have a chance at securing our first championship, and adding guys like Ryan into the mix will give us that boost. When quality players like Ryan step into our lineup, it forces all of our lineup to keep improving on a daily basis. We look forward to Ryan being a catalyst for us this season and helping bring us the BCIHL championship.”
Scott, who plans to study business, said: “I think TWU is a great fit for my aspiration to continue playing hockey at an elite level while also pursuing my education. The Spartans have a great program and I’m excited to be a part of a winning team.”
Matthew Vela (Burnaby, B.C.)
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Vela, who graduated from St. Thomas More Collegiate, is coming off a season in which he collected 15 goals and 14 assists in 49 games. Along the way, Vela helped Fort Frances win the SIJHL championship and advance to the Dudley Hewitt Cup, where the Lakers came one win shy of moving on to the 2015 RBC Cup.
For Vela, 21, joining the Spartans will be a homecoming of sorts as he will return to the Langley Events Centre, where he had a seven-game stint with the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen in 2013-14. That year, he also spent time with both the Aldergrove Kodiaks and the North Van Wolf Pack of the Junior “B” PJHL.
“We are excited to add another local product with proven Junior ‘A’ experience,” Kropf said. “Matt is coming off a championship season, which is always a great way to wrap up your junior career and we hope his offensive skills and championship pedigree will continue on as he suits up for the Spartans this fall.”
Vela, who plans to study business administration, said: “I’m excited to come to TWU because it’s a top ranked school in terms of academics and the Spartans have a great hockey team. I can’t wait to both get into the classroom and help the team on the ice.”