Posted on: June 17, 2014
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has been a prime recruiting ground for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack over their five year history. The WolfPack are looking to do some rebuilding as they approach the 2014-15 BC Intercollegiate Hockey League season.
They have added a third KIJHL graduate to the fold with the commitment of forward Sam Nigg of Penticton, BC.
Nigg is a 5’9, 165 pound player who has played with five KIJHL teams—the Grand Forks Border Bruins (2009-10), Osoyoos Coyotes (2010-12), Penticton Lakers (2011-12), Kimberley Dynamiters (2012-13) and Summerland Steam (2011-12,2013-14).
“I am very excited to play for TRU,” says Nigg. “ I am quite familiar with the school as my older sister went there. It is a great school and I have heard nothing but good things about the hockey program as well.”
Nigg had 155 points including 42 goals in 177 games in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He will be taking the Police and Social Justice program.
Says head coach Don Schulz: “ It’s with great pleasure that I am able to announce the addition of Sam. I have watched him a number of times last season and the best way to describe him is dependable. He is very dependable in all zones of the ice, has hockey smarts, good skill and should adapt well to collegiate play. He has an excellent reputation as expressed by current WolfPack player Brandon Watson and former TRU player Tyler Berkholtz (who has moved to the ACAC and Red Deer College for 2014-15). He is a most welcome addition and again will provide much needed depth at the forward position.”
Nigg said he had an offer from Adrian College (NCAA Division III) in Michigan, but Thompson Rivers was always number one. “ It just made more sense for me. I always planned on going to TRU and when the opportunity to play hockey came up as well, there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to go there.”
He believes his best asset is his speed. “ It is my biggest strength. I try to use it to my advantage as much as possible. I also like to believe I have some good play making abilities and get a kick out of agitating the other team’s better players when the time is right.”
His general manager with the Summerland Sting was former WHL star Gregg Wilson (Kelowna Wings/Seattle Thunderbirds). “Sam is a great kid from a good family. He is 50th in career scoring in the KIJHL with a .9 points per game point average. A great skating play maker that can put the puck in the net too. Sam is a proven winner, winning championships in the KIJHL and midget provincials. The Summerland Steam wish all the best for Sam and the WolfPack.”
Nigg is firmly committed to excelling not only on the ice but more importantly in the classroom. “ School is the reason I am coming to Kamloops. Hockey is a nice bonus. I took a few college courses in Penticton this past season so hopefully the adjustment to more full time school won’t be took tough.”
Other KIJHL graduates coming to Thompson Rivers in the fall are Spencer Schoech (21, 5’10”,defence, Dublin, CA/Dublin High-Kamloops Storm KIJHL) and , Andrew Stack (21,5’11”, forward West Vancouver, BC /Athol Murray College of Notre Dame-Princeton Posse, KIJHL).
Other recruits for the coming year are: : Ryan Hanes (22,5’10” forward, Kamloops,BC/Brocklehurst Secondary-Prince George Cougars, WHL) and Tylor Branzsen (21,6’1”, forward,Cowachin Bay, BC/ Frances Kelsey Secondary- Peninsula Panthers VIJHL). More are to be announced in the coming weeks.
The WolfPack finished fourth in the BCIHL last season with nine wins, 14 losses and one overtime defeat in 24 games. They were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual league champion Selkirk College Saints.