December 6, 2019
Summerland, BC – The Summerland Steam are pleased to announce the signing of 2000-born forward Matthew Byrne. Byrne, a local from Penticton, BC, joins the Steam from the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he recorded 3 goals and 11 points in 22 games to start the 2019/20 season.
Byrne, like Ethan McLaughlin who was signed earlier this week, is an alumnus of the Okanagan Hockey Academy. He spent 3 seasons with OHA, including the 2017/18 season when he recorded 26 goals and 54 points in just 35 games.
After his OHA career was complete, Byrne spent the 2018/19 season split between the Penticton Vees and the Powell River Kings before finding his way to Drayton Valley to start the 2019/20 AJHL Season
“Matthew is a player that we’re very excited to bring into the fold here in Summerland,” Said Steam GM Steve Hogg, “He’s an offensively gifted young man and we’re committed to putting him in the right position for him to succeed and help our team.”
With Drayton Valley, Byrne played under former Princeton Posse & Castlegar Rebels Head Coach Bill Rotheisler, who is now an Assistant Coach & Assistant GM with the Thunder.
“Byrner had offers to play junior A and ultimately decided to go home,” Said Rotheisler when contacted for comment, “He’s a real good kid and will be a game changer at the KIJHL level. He was a half a point per game guy with us, and contributed in many ways during his time in Drayton Valley. He’s got good foot speed, has an awesome release and he always wants to get better. He often approached the coaching staff and would ask to do video and find ways to improve his game both with the puck and without it.”
Byrne adds to the offensive arsenal for the Steam, who once they’re healthy have one of the most high-powered offenses in the KIJHL. Once fully healthy, which the team has yet to be this season, they’ll have 4 quality lines that can put the puck in the net at any given time.
With the additions of Byrne and Ethan McLaughlin, both returning from junior A programs, the Steam will look to get back on track after a nasty month of November. They’ll host the Kamloops Storm on Friday and the Revelstoke Grizzlies on Saturday night, both at 7:30pm.