One of the most loyal soldiers for the Prince Albert Raiders has found his next hockey destination.
Former Raiders captain Tim Vanstone committed to the University of Calgary Dinos for the upcoming 2017-18 season.
It’s going to be an unusual situation for Vanstone to put on another jersey that doesn’t have the Raiders’ crest on it. Vanstone played five full seasons with the Raiders and appeared in 299 games, fourth all time on the Raiders franchise records.
“It’s going to be different wearing green for five years, and then hopefully red for five. It’s going to be different, but it reminds me of being 16 years old and going to a new team,” Vanstone said on the phone Wednesday. “It’s a little different that I could choose where I wanted to go. You’re going to step in as a rookie.
“It’s actually a saving grace that I worked up the ranks in P.A. all my five years. I had growing room and I grew as a player, it will be no different stepping into the University of Calgary. I have to earn my stripes.”
Vanstone said he had multiple options to consider when he was choosing his next step in his hockey career. The conversations with the Dinos started back in December, and especially heated up at the final stretch of the season. Even former Raider Dylan Busenius, who completed his third year with the Dinos, helped with the recruiting process.
“It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was the best choice for me,” Vanstone said. “They said they were interested, they liked the way I played and they wanted me to be a big part of it.
“Down the stretch there, we got more contact with each other. It’s been always one of my biggest things was to stay in the western part of the country. I’ve had other options too to evaluate. My main goal was to stay as close as I could, but I wanted to be in a place where we could win.”
Vanstone said it was important to get a post-secondary education for his next step, especially having five years’ worth of scholarship after five WHL years.
“It’s a lot of money [lost] if you don’t use it, especially if you have the five years,” Vanstone said, who plans to major in business. “I think the university route was the best choice for me… For me, I wanted to get my degree for sure in the first five years. It will play itself out in the end if I want to play pro overseas or if I want to play pro in the States, what have you. For me and my family, we agreed that school needs to come first.”
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