The inaugural season for the University of Jamestown Jimmies was a tremendous success for three Kimberley Dynamiters alumni, as Tyson Brouwer, Eric Buckley, and Jason Richter all contributed to a memorable year for the new American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 1 program.
Brouwer, a goalie from Lethbridge, Alberta, switched his studies from kinesiology to law at the North Dakota school, while playing in 27 games and posting a 15-11 record with a 2.46 goals against average, a .918 save percentage and earning two shutouts.
For his efforts, Brouwer was recognized with the team’s first-ever Most Valuable Player award.
“It’s a great honour,” Brouwer said, struggling to put his feelings into words. “It was a surprise to receive such a high recognition two seasons in a row.”
Brouwer was named the MVP of the Nitros for the 2015-16 season and believes that former Dynamiters bench boss, Jerry Banks, helped prepare him, along with the other alumni, to be able to compete so well at the college level.
For Brouwer, the season’s top highlight was beating the NCAA Division One ranked Ohio State Buckeyes program early in the season.
“No one expected us to do that,” he said.
While Brouwer was pleased with his recognition, he felt that his past teammates also made vital contributions to the team.
Richter, who is from Cranbrook, BC, and was the captain of the Dynamiters from 2014-16, scored 12 goals and 12 assists for second in point-scoring for the Jimmies.
The 21-year-old forward is majoring in business administration and was recognized with the Jimmie Knight Award, an honour given to the player who best exemplifies Jimmie hockey on and off the ice.
Buckley, who is from Penticton, BC, was a fan favourite during his tenure with the Nitros and this season scored eight goals and 12 assists, good for fourth in team scoring, while majoring in computer science.
While the Jimmies only featured three Nitros this season, there was a deep KIJHL connection on the team. 15 of Jamestown’s many freshmen played in the KIJHL prior to joining the collegiate ranks.
Brouwer said that even though they were opponents the season prior, there was a mutual respect and appreciation associated with all coming from the same league that allowed the team to gel quickly.
The KIJHL-led Jimmies easily handled the pressures of their inaugural season and posted a 20-10-3 record in the ACHA. They ranked well enough to compete in the championships, but due to it being their first season were ineligible to play in the tournament.
Brouwer believes that the disappointment of not competing for a title will only make the team more invigorated for next season.
MATCH STICKS: During the months of May, June, July, and August the Nitro’s Night in Kimberley Blog will be reviewing the 2016-17 seasons of Kimberley Dynamiters alumni.