The West Kelowna Warriors Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce defenseman Stephen Kleysen (’97) has committed to the University of Niagara Purple Eagles for the 2018/19 season.
Kleysen, 20, is currently in his 2nd season with the Warriors where he has amassed 9 goals and 33 points to go along with 56 penalty minutes in 73 games in the BCHL. The 6’0”, 190-pound rearguard has gotten off to a strong start in his 20-year-old campaign as he’s posted 3 goals and 10 points in 15 games.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native came to the Warriors last season after spending a season and a half with the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) before playing the last half of the 2015/16 season with the Madison Capitols in the United States Hockey League (USHL). In 87 career games with the Blues, Kleysen tallied 7 goals and 36 points before his short stint in Madison saw a goal and 3 points in 25 games before becoming a Warrior.
Warriors assistant coach Shae Naka, who is in charge of running the defense for West Kelowna, knows how valuable the 20-year-old defender can at the next level, “Stephen has been a model player for our program since he got here last year,” commented Naka, “He is a reliable player who plays minutes in every situation of the game. We are excited for him to continue his playing career at the next level.”
“I am very excited to be playing hockey for the University of Niagara next season,” commented Kleysen, “It has been a goal of mine since I was 15 years old to play college hockey. I feel that the coaching staff at Niagara is elite when I comes to player development not only on the ice but also off the ice they will help me to become a better person. I think there is big things happening with that program moving forward and I am excited to able to be a part of it.”
“I would like to thank my parents who have been the back bone of my hockey career,“ continued Kleysen, “and have always supporting me and pushing me to be the best that I can be.”
The Purple Eagles play out of the Atlantic Hockey Conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and have started the 2017/18 season with a 2-2 record. Head coach Jason Lammers is in his 2nd season guiding Niagara University which has some BCHL talent on their current roster in the likes of former Vernon Vipers forward Christian Cakebread, Cowichan Valley Capitals defenseman Chris Harpur and Powell River Kings goaltender Brian Wilson.