Local hockey player wins NCAA championsip

Matt Wilkins, a Kimberley native, captures national title with Union College

Union College

Union College

The NCAA ice hockey championship team has a Kimberley connection.

Matt Wilkins, who was born and raised in the community, is a Division I champion after helping the Union College Dutchmen to a 7-4 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

In front of 18,000 fans at the Wells Fargo Centre—home of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers—the Dutchmen scored four goals in the first period and added another three in the final frame to lock up the title for the first time in the institution’s history.

“It’s been about a week now,” said Wilkins, in a phone interview. “I think it’s finally sunk in. It’s pretty surreal, just to be at the Frozen Four then to bring it home, it’s pretty special.”

The Dutchmen finished on top of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference with an 18-3-1 record, ending their season with an overall team performance of 32-6-4, which ranked them third overall in the NCAA.

With single-elimination games in a field of 16 teams, the Dutchmen blew through the first two rounds, defeating the University of Vermont Catamounts and the Providence Friars, which set up a semifinal match against the Boston College Eagles—the top-ranked hockey team in the country.

“BC and Minnesota, they’re two pretty storied programs and we were sort of looked at as the underdog, but we’ve been up there in that third spot basically all year,” Wilkins said.

“Our programs are smaller, and people don’t know much about us, but I think we did a good job in changing that.”

The Dutchmen edged the Eagles with a 5-4 upset, scoring three goals in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and earn a berth into the NCAA final against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Not bad for a small-town kid in the Canadian Rockies.

“It’s hard to imagine even going to play hockey somewhere, so there’s a lot of people who helped along the way,” said Wilkins.

Wilkins played two seasons with the Kimberley Dynamiters of the KIJHL before jumping up to Junior A with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL for a year. He then headed into the AJHL with the Brooks Bandits for two seasons, winning the league title in his final year of eligibility in 2012.

He also racked up some individual honours, such as being named to all star teams in both years with the Bandits, as well as leading the AJHL in points in the regular season before capturing the league title in his final year.

After fielding a few offers from other post-secondary institutions, Wilkins settled on Union, based on the hockey and academic programs and is in the middle of majoring in history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Repaving of Victoria Ave (3rd St. S. to 11th St. S.) began on Monday, June 12. Drivers are asked to please avoid the area for the remainder of the day, if possible. Please watch for and obey directions from flaggers and signage, as the detours will be moving regularly. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Road construction, repaving programs well underway

Local road construction and repaving work continue apace, as summer programs get… Continue reading

Vendors and customers at one of the Cranbrook markets in 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook Farmers Market updates operating hours for the summer

Markets will continue to run from 10a.m. to 1p.m. until October 30th

City council passed first reading of a text amendment to a downtown zoning bylaw that would permit the land use for a craft brewery. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Downtown zoning amendment allowing craft brewery passes first reading

An application is moving forward that will tweak a downtown zoning bylaw… Continue reading

City council deferred moving forward on a proposed development in Wildstone, requesting a meeting with the developer to get clarification on project details. Photo submitted.
Cranbrook city council debates proposed Wildstone development

Cranbrook city council held off on moving forward with a proposed apartment… Continue reading

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Old growth in the Columbia Valley, in the Kinbasket area. (Photo submitted)
Wildsight: Old-growth forests are being logged in Golden

Wildsight says that Canfor has been logging old growth at the Blaeberry headwaters

at the library
What’s on at the Cranbrook Public Library

By Mike Selby The Library is now open with extended hours (with… Continue reading

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Most Read