Matthew Derksen answers the call for Briercrest
By Jadon Frank
When Briercrest hockey head coach Dalton Stoltz took the helm of the men’s hockey program this summer he was looking for student-athletes with character who a great attitude, work ethic, and integrity.
Second year Briercrest student Matthew Derksen fit that criteria and joined the team this season.
Stoltz has been very impressed with what he has observed from Derksen this season.
“Matt is a man of character and integrity,” Stoltz praised. “His work ethic has helped him develop as a player and he has played a key role for us this second semester. I look forward to seeing how the Lord uses Matt in the future and know that he is a man with tons of opportunities to succeed in this life.”
The 5’ 10” forward has filled every role that has been asked of him this year, humbly switching back and forth from right wing to left wing, depending on the line-up.
“One of my biggest strengths as a person is my outgoingness, which can also be my biggest weakness if not used rightly; and my ability to make friends easily,” Derksen said. “To the team I bring determination to be my best at all times as well as being an encourager to those around me. I also bring the view that I am a Christian who happens to be a hockey player and not the other way around. Jesus is first in my life.”
Derksen came to Briercrest after a year of Capernwray, because he felt God’s call on his life.
“I have felt God’s calling for me to live a life in full-time ministry since the end of Grade 11 and I knew that I should do more schooling to be better prepared for what God has in store for me,” Derksen explained. “Seeing as every member of my family had gone to Briercrest at one time or another it was the first school I looked at and with the many different class options it was an easy choice. I have also had many friends from my hometown come here and tell me how awesome the school is.”
The BA Christian Ministries major has enjoyed his time at Briercrest.
“In hockey my favourite moment has been when we beat Keyano in overtime on home ice,” Derksen said. “The fans went crazy and it was by far the coolest atmosphere I have ever been a part of. Aside from hockey my favourite moment would definitely be winning the Briercrest Olympics my freshman year! Amazing!!!”
The Waldheim, SK native explained how special the hockey team is at Briercrest.
“There is one main thing that separates us from the other teams in our league and that is that we are a band of brothers who are here at school to learn more about Jesus,” Derksen said. “Though we are all at different stages in our personal walk with Jesus, we are all here at this school to find out more about Him or to deepen our relationship with Him. There are many other schools that have a college hockey team but not many, if any, that offer Jesus. Our coach and assistant coaches are leading the team by being godly examples for us and challenge us every day physically and spiritually. These are some of the things that separate the Briercrest hockey team from those around it and make it incredibly special.”
Derksen has clear goals that help him stay focused during his time at Briercrest.
“As a student, I hope to graduate with a BA in Christian Ministry in the next two years and finish my schooling with a GPA of 3.0 or higher,” Derksen said. “As an athlete, I want to be continually growing in my knowledge of the game and in my ability to play it well. Every week I have the goal in mind to move up in the line-up. I hope to accomplish this by giving all I have in our practices and workouts and therefore become a better player on the weekends. I also hope to score one goal by the end of the season.”
Derksen’s dreams for after Briercrest makes his education very practical.
“After Briercrest I hope to be a youth pastor in a church and be a strong godly example throughout my life for young and old Christians to follow, like Paul was (1 Corinthians 11:1),” Derksen explained. “If money wasn’t an option I would spend a year traveling meeting Christians in other areas of the world and seeing how they are ministering to those around them. This would let me see the world as well as give me more ideas in how to evangelize and disciple those around me better.”