Written By: Matthew Barrett
Another graduating Melfort Mustangs has found a post-secondary hockey home.
Forward Ben Chase has committed to Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT) in Boston, Mass. for the 2021/2022 season. The Leopards play in the NCAA Division III ranks in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Chase said it’s a nice feeling to know where his hockey future is going to take him.
“All through Juniors it’s kind of stressful to get that ball rolling,” he said. “Now that it’s over with I can kind of take a breath.”
While Chase did have offers to go elsewhere for post-secondary hockey, he said there was a good feeling about WIT. He said the education played a big part and trying to set himself up for the future. Chase added that while he will be going to a big city in Boston, there was a small town feel to the school when he was visiting.
The St. Louis product spent one full season, plus the beginning of the 2020/2021 season before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and says coming to Melfort, he really grew his game on the ice.
“I thought I had a style locked down that I could continue, and I realized I had to adapt,” Chase said. “And it’s just something I appreciated.”
He said off the ice, he matured a lot with having to billet and be far away from home and living along such a short time out of high school.
Chase played in four of the Mustangs five games to begin this season, and said he was happy to get back onto the ice with Melfort.
“Even though the circumstances were so poor the past year, things didn’t work out,” he said. “It was the path I chose and I’d do it all again, I’m really happy with myself.”
On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was another difficult situation that Chase and his teammates dealt with. The passing of their teammate Dylan Ashe over the summer, prior to the start of their season. Chase said playing for, and winning for Ashe was at the top of their minds as the puck dropped in November.
“It’s hard to put that into words, but it was just such a big factor,” Chase said. “And that’s really all I started to focus all my attention to once the season started. You go into your last year and you’re like ‘I hope I make an impact’, but after something like that happens, you’re just there and you just want to represent him and represent the team, and represent his family the best you can.”
Chase played a total of 53 regular season games for the Mustangs over the past two seasons, scoring three goals and adding eight assists. He also played in all four playoff games for the Mustangs in their 2020 series against Estevan before the pandemic shutdown.
This season, Chase was also named the Mustangs nominee for SJHL’s RBC Community Ambassador Award which goes to a player who shows a high standard of citizenship and community involvement, volunteerism; and outstanding sportsmanship both on and off the ice.
With the SJHL cancelling their season, Chase got to continue playing this season in the United States. He played eight games with the Freson Monsters of the United States Prospects League Premier, scoring three points.
When asked what he’s most excited about when playing college hockey, he joked by saying wearing a cage on his helmet again. Chase added that he’s mainly just excited to take the next step in his career.
While attending WIT, Chase is planning on taking Civil Engineering.