By Craig Stein
LOOKING AT OPTIONS BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER
If there’s one word or attribute teammates and coaches use to describe Yorkton Terrier 20-year-old Corwin Stevely, it would likely be leadership. Stevely has been a captain for most of his hockey life, and he’s worn the ‘C’ in three of his last four seasons of high level hockey, in his final year of ‘AAA’ Midget, and now in back to back campaigns with the Junior ‘A’ Terriers.
The Regina product says leading the way is something that’s always come naturally for him.
“As far back as I can remember I’ve always worn a letter. I just like to try to earn the respect of the guys and the coaches by hard work and leading by example. Some guys are a lot more vocal, I like to just go out there and be the first guy to do it, show the guys what kind of work ethic it takes.”
At the NHL level, someone like Jonathan Toews is often referred to as a prototypical captain, but has also garnered the nickname, “Captain Serious.” Stevely says he too has a serious nature to him, but not always.
“I think there’s a time and place for being serious and a time and a place for joking around, because if guys get too tight you have to let them know it’s still hockey and you have to have some fun.”
Casey O’Brien has watched Stevely through the ‘AAA’ ranks and now into his third and final season as a Terrier, though this is O’Brien’s first season as Terriers’ Head Coach & GM, after five as an Assistant.
“Corwin’s a good leader, guys have a lot of respect for him. When he first came up we really used him in the playoffsm in the RBC run, he played for us as a 17-year-old. His physical presence, his speed, and his willingness to compete, blocks shots. He works out everyday and he’s one of my best-conditioned players. He holds guys accountable but he holds himself accountable.”
O’Brien alluded to the RBC National Championship that allowed an AP call-up in Stevely to get his feet wet. Stevely says the championship and the high pressure experience at a young age did a lot to prepare him for three full seasons.
Stevely, a Regina product, with family ties in the Yorkton area, says he’d love to stay close to home to play hockey next year, but he’s leaving every door open.
“I wouldn’t mind staying in Canada and playing CIS, but my main goal is to just keep playing hockey. I love the game and if an opportunity comes where I can keep playing, I’m pretty much open to anything right now.”
O’Brien feels Stevely can go anywhere he sets his mind to next season, but he’ll accept any role, and excel anywhere on the depth chart.
“At the college level he’s probably going to play that second, third line role with some checking and contribute some offense. Teams want depth in their lineup and Corwin’s a guy who can play any forward role. For us he could play first line, but he’s willing to play a so-called third line role. He’s also playing the point on the powerplay and he’s on the first penalty kill unit. If someone’s looking for a player who can play in all situations and add some offense then Corwin’s a great fit.”
Stevely began preparing for his SAT last season and has been taking university classes through Parkland College. He says he might follow in his father’s footsteps, and eventually pursue a career with the RCMP, but notes his passion for the game will have him on the ice again next season, it’s just a matter of where.