The Summerland Steam are pleased to announce the re-acquisition of the playing rights of 20-year old local goaltender Jared Breitkreuz from the Chase Heat in exchange for Future Considerations.
Breitkreuz, a member of the Summerland Steam during the 2016/17 season, was traded to 100 Mile House early in the 2017/18 season to pursue an opportunity for more playing time. The Summerland native spent his 18-year old season (2016/17) with his hometown Steam amassing a 9-0-1-0 record in 10 starts while maintaining a .912% save percentage with two shutouts.
With then 20-year old goaltender Matt Huber returning to assume the starting role again in 17/18, Breitkreuz began the season as Summerland’s backup. He soon saw an opportunity for more playing time, however, when Wranglers Head Coach Dale Hladun came calling to fill a need, with Breitkreuz at the top of his list.
“100 Mile called looking for a #1 goaltender and specifically asked about Jared’s availability, and with that opportunity in mind for his growth we could not say no,” Said Steam GM Mike Rigby at the time of the trade, “Jared has shown that he has the potential to excel at this level and as hard as it is to say goodbye to a person and player of Jared’s quality and character, it will be good for his development. Both on the ice and off the ice it will be a new experience for him, and it will be great for him to get more playing time in front of great fans like they have in 100 Mile House.”
He only played nine games with the Wranglers, posting 5 wins, 3 losses and a tie while posting one shutout and a .904% save percentage. The low number of appearances for the Wranglers was due to a call-up to the BCHL, where Breitkreuz spent nearly a month helping out in the crease of the Merritt Centennials. He only saw game action twice, picking up his first BCHL victory and posting a .911% save percentage in his two appearances.
Upon return to the KIJHL, Breitkreuz found himself in a crowded Wranglers’ crease after the return of veteran goaltender Jakob Severson. Breitkreuz was dealt from the Wranglers to the Chase Heat, where he played out the remainder of the season and playoffs splitting games with goaltending partner Conor Webb. In 11 regular season appearances, Breitkreuz put together a 3-6 record and 3.62 goals against average, but maintained a save percentage above .900% while facing quality competition every single night.
“I had a great experience with all three teams I played for,” Breitkreuz said, “I can’t say enough great things about Coach Hladun in 100 Mile, Coach Fox in Chase and Coach Joe Martin in Merritt. They’re all first-class individuals.”
The experience in the BCHL is something not many goaltenders from the KIJHL get to experience, and Breitkreuz spent a full month in Merritt while they had a pair of goaltenders on the shelf due to injury.
“It’s definitely a step up,” says Breitkreuz of his time with the Centennials, “Even though it was just for a short time, the talent level is so high and the commitment level of the guys who play at that level can teach you a thing or two about the way you prepare on a day by day basis.”
He added that he’d also like to thank the billet families he stayed with during his stops in all three cities during 2017/18 for being so welcoming and receptive to having him in their homes. After the carousel of teams in two different leagues last season, he says he’s happy to be back home in Summerland for his 20-year old year:
“I’m extremely happy to be back playing in Summerland and playing at home for my last year of junior hockey. I’m looking forward to the season, enjoying my last year with quality teammates and people in this organization, and being the best goaltender and teammate I can be. I enjoyed my time away, but I definitely missed the home cooked meals, for sure.”
Breitkreuz joins Everett Scherger, recently named captain of the 2018/19 Summerland Steam, as the only two committed twenty year olds leading into main camp in August. The Steam will likely be a young hockey team again in 2018/19 but Breitkreuz, like Scherger, doesn’t think they’re far away from contending for a KIJHL championship.
“I think with the group that Coach Depourcq and GM Mike Rigby will be able to put together with returning players and new recruits, and with the leadership and experience that Schergs (Everett Scherger) brings as captain, we’ll be more than capable of bringing a Championship to Summerland.”
Summerland Steam Main Camp goes August 25th & 26th at the Summerland Arena, with exhibition games slated for later that week ahead of the KIJHL season opening on September 7th. Look for the Steam out in the community, as they’ll be at various community events all summer long. If you go as far as to introduce yourself, you might even score some free tickets!