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By Nolan Weinmaster
highly talented forward from Manitoba will be suiting up for the Briercrest Clippers this fall.
Kyle Stephansson, a 6’ 2”, 195 pound forward from Winnipeg, MB. has offensive skills that the Clippers were looking to add to their lineup.
“I am looking forward to Kyle attending Briercrest”, said Briercrest head coach Terry Dyck. “He is a big body forward—a power forward player, who is physical and can also contribute offensively. He wants to win and has a winning attitude.”
Stephansson was drafted in 2005 by the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs and has had a lot of success with various AAA Midget and Junior A teams.
In 2005-06, he was the leading scorer in the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, BC,. In 2006-07, Stephansson suited up for the Winnipeg Monarchs (Midget AAA) and had 68 points in 32 games to finish second overall in league scoring. He was team captain and named to the all-star team. He had another strong season of AAA Midget in 2007-08, this time with the NorMan Northstars. He averaged nearly a point per game with 19 goals and 17 assists in 37 games to earn him honors as a provincial all-star.
“I can say that Kyle was a coach's player, team player, as well as an ambassador for our community and region”, Northstars coach Doug Korman said. “Kyle is a power forward who is not scared to get his nose dirty, he heads to the places a lot of other players don't like to go and that is into the corners and front of the net.”
That fearlessness and effort resulted in points and respect.
“He has the knack to put pucks in the net, he is a very good student of the game and works hard on improving his defensive play”, Korman continued. “His teammates would look to Kyle for leadership—he made his teammates a whole lot bigger . . . I don't think you will find anyone who has anything bad to say about Kyle, unless maybe the teams he plays against!”
Korman also said the Stephansson family deserves a lot of credit for the person Kyle is today.
“Kyle comes from a very supportive family, with parents who have given Kyle values that have developed him into a young man who has set his priorities, with education being high on that list. I can't say enough good things about a player that I am proud to say I coached.”
Stephansson began his Junior A career in 2008-09 when he split time with the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and Swan Valley of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. That year he was awarded the Team Heart Trophy by his Swan Valley club.
He was also drafted by the North American Hockey League’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs in 2009, but played for the Winnipeg South Blues of the MJHL for the 2009-10, scoring 10 points in 37 games. He completed his Junior A career with the Portage Terriers and Winnipeg Saints this season, where he tallied 33 points in 56 games.
Saints head coach David Anning recognizes Stephansson’s talent and character.
“Kyle was an excellent addition to our club this past season. He's a big, strong power forward who competes hard every shift. He's a very mature and respectful individual, who is a leader in our dressing room. Briercrest College has added a quality character player to their program."
The 21-year-old forward is entering the Education program at Briercrest this fall.