Having recently wrapped up his university hockey career, former Surrey Eagle Michael Stenerson is making the leap to the pro game.
The 25-year-old Semiahmoo Minor Hockey product recently played his final game as a fifth-year senior with the UBC Thunderbirds – UBC lost its best-of-three semifinal series to the Mount Royal Cougars – and signed with the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets in late February.
His stint with the Komets was short-lived, however. After just two games, in which he was scoreless, he was waived by the club, and picked up last week by the Rapid City Rush, based out of South Dakota.
“I’m obviously disappointed with how our season at UBC ended, but I’m excited for this new opportunity professionally,” Stenerson said in a UBC news release issued earlier this month, prior to moving from Fort Wayne to Rapid City.
“At the end of last year I planned it out with our coaches to organize my courses so I would have the opportunity to try pro if the opportunity presented itself and I’m excited it did.”
Stenerson, a five-foot-11, 185-pound forward, spent the last three seasons with the Thunderbirds, tallying 20 goals and 22 assists in 74 career games. Prior to joining the T-Birds, he spent two seasons in the NCAA at the University of Vermont.
He played three seasons in the BC Hockey League, all with his hometown Eagles, scoring 122 points in 161 games from 2010 until 2013. His best season came in 2012/13, when he scored 19 goals and added 35 assists in 55 games, which was good enough for second in team scoring behind Brady Shaw. Stenerson also added 20 points in 17 playoff games that season for Surrey.
He was a key member of the Eagles’ BCHL championship team, which advanced all the way to the RBC Cup that year.
Strangely enough, he was briefly reunited with Shaw – who was also his teammate and roommate in Vermont – with the Komets.
Now, Stenerson – who was one of the fastest skaters on the university circuit while at UBC – will aim to help the Rush, who are 23rd in the 28-team ECHL this season with a record of 23-29-5-3 (win-loss-overtime loss-shootout loss).
Regardless of how his time in the ECHL turns out, Stenerson was quick to heap praise upon his UBC coaches for helping him get to the pro level.
“My three years at UBC were awesome. I owe a lot to (head coach) Sven (Butenshon), Kelvin (Cech), and Kevin (Seibel) for helping develop my game and become more of a pro-style two-way player,” Stenerson said.
“My teammates were unreal, some of the best guys I know and now lifelong friends, they made my time at UBC that much more enjoyable coming to the rink everyday, and playing with them was always fun. They pushed me to be a better player.”
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