Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

North Stars’ Burgeson commits to VIU

(Photo credit to Martin Martinson/battlefordsNOW Staff)
(Article courtesy Martin Martinson, BattlefordsNOW)

Battlefords North Stars forward, Hunter Burgeson is headed to the west coast for the next chapter in his hockey journey, having recently announced his commitment to the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners of the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL).

The move out west brings with it some familiarity for the Airdrie, Alta., product, who played a season with the Beaver Valley NiteHawks of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) at the “Junior A Tier 2” level, prior to making his way onto the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and subsequently Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, over the last two years.

Burgeson said that experience, coupled with his family connections in the province, made VIU an automatic place of interest.

“I love B.C., it’s beautiful, and my dad lives in Kamloops, so he’ll be just a four-hour drive and a ferry away now which will be pretty cool,” Burgeson said. “There are some teams in and around Kamloops too so BC is a huge draw, and it’s always pretty special anytime you can further your hockey career and also go to school. It will be a lot of fun, and it’s obviously a pretty cool spot, so I’m just excited to get out there.”

Joining a Mariners hockey team fresh off its first championship in program history, after making the finals three straight years prior, Burgeson said getting a chance to join that winning atmosphere, while enrolling in the school’s welding program, really made for a great fit both on the ice and off.

“The trades program they have there at the school is something I really wanted to get into, so I thought if I could do something like that I can enjoy would be pretty ideal, and then on the hockey side of things, going to a team that won is pretty special, so I’m looking forward to that and excited about it,” he said.

Acquired by the North Stars just a month into the 2023-24 season, Burgeson finished the regular season with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 47 games, adding another four goals in eight playoff games on the team’s run to the SJHL semi-finals.

Having moved from the wing position to center-ice down the stretch, head coach of the North Stars, Brayden Klimosko said in Burgeson, the Mariners are getting a guy who can chip in offensively while playing whatever role required of him.

“He’s a guy we could rely on to post some secondary scoring for us, and I think that’s what he’ll be able to do at the next level as well,” Klimosko said. “I’m excited for him; he was obviously a big part of our playoff run, and we’re wishing him nothing but the best.”