Moving halfway across the world this year, Sebastian Streu has experienced his fair share of surprises as a WHL rookie.
Perhaps the biggest shock for the 18-year-old Kootenay Ice player, however, was his recent recognition as the team’s Scholastic Player of the Year. Presented with the award prior to last Friday’s home game against the Regina Pats, Streu was floored by the honour.
“It felt pretty weird [to get that award] since I wasn’t always the best in previous schools,” Streu said. “I thought it was pretty funny to get a school award, but it put me in a good mood before the game.”
According to the Canadian-German, who played the last four years in Austria, his best class was Math, in which he achieved 91 percent.
“Coming from Europe, I did most of the material in Grade seven and eight,” Streu laughed. “I kind of knew what I was doing and had an advantage over the other students.”
As for hockey, he admits he has had some catching up to do throughout the season. Streu is a European-trained player who was exempt from being an import due to his Canadian citizenship, and impressed enough during training camp to make the team.
While he started out the year as a frequent healthy-scratch, he soon found his way into playing a key role for the Ice.
“At the beginning of the season, you could definitely tell I was a European player,” Streu said. “I didn’t have much physicality to my game. The game was pretty fast [too], but I improved a lot. I got used to the game and I think I fit in pretty well now.”
In 54 games with the Ice this season, Streu has 12 points in 53 games, just three less Gilian Kohler, Kootenay’s top pick (third overall) in the 2017 CHL Import Draft, from Switzerland.
While Streu said that not making the playoffs this year was a major disappointment, he is planning to work as hard as he can to have a strong finish to his season.
“I know our season is pretty much over now that we can’t make the playoffs, but we can’t let that bother us. We still have to go out there and play our best and win some hockey games,” he said. “[I’m going to] go in with no regrets and go home after the season and say that I finished the season off pretty good.”
Knowing that the team’s last few games will be a showcase for next season, Streu is eager to put in his best effort so that he can return to Cranbrook in 2018-19.
“[This year] was amazing [and] the attention we get here is absolutely incredible,” he said. “Back in Europe, our fans were maybe like the 10 parents that showed up to the game. Here, the fan support is amazing.”
Streu’s scholastic achievement was one of two awards presented during the Ice’s second-to-last home game of the season. Peyton Krebs was also awarded with the Kootenay Ice Fan Club Player of the Year award, a trophy voted on by the fans throughout the season.
During the season closer on Saturday night, the rest of the team awards will be presented including MVP, Top Defenceman and Rookie of the Year. The awards will be a part of Northstar GM’s Fan Appreciation Game, which will also include a pre-party held at the Cranbrook Curling Club hosted by the Ice Fan Club.