Kyle Beaulieu plays a smart, simple game with a strong work ethic. And when necessary, he will rough up an opponent for misbehaving.
It is those characteristics that led the St. Norbert College Green Knights to pursue the White Rock resident prior to the Penticton Vees’ RBC Cup run. After becoming a national champion, they offered the defenceman a scholarship. Beaulieu happily accepted the opportunity presented by the division III school located five miles south of Green Bay, Wis.
“The opportunity is incredible,” said Beaulieu, who split his four BCHL seasons between the now defunct Williams Lake Timberwolves and Penticton.
St. Norbert finished the 2011-2012 season with a 21-5-5 record, capturing their 13th Northern Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season championship and 10th NCHA Peters Cup title. The Green Knights (whose colours are green and gold) won their second consecutive national championship in March and is considered one of the top Division III programs in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. St. Norbert is only the third NCAA Division III program to win consecutive national championships, their third in history. According to Wikipedia, the Green Bay Packers have conducted their training camp on the St. Norbert campus since 1958, and in exchange donate their used equipment and provide the school with yearly grants.
“I can’t even explain it to be honest,” said Beaulieu, who is relieved to get the scholarship. “I can relax and take a breath and get ready for next season. They have a very amazing history.”
Beaulieu, who was named the Vees on Vees Most Popular Player as chosen by teammates for a second consecutive season, received congrats from former and current teammates on Twitter.
“RT @garteig1: Congrats @Beauy28 on the scholly.. @soups29 your gettin a beauty, take care of him please #TwoEight #unibound,” said Michael Garteig.
“RT @JLeggy21: Congrats to my boy @Beauy28 on the scholarship to St Norbert! Well deserved #bullwinkle #brothers,” said Joey Laleggia.
“RT @Stitchy77: Congrats to @Beauy28 on accepting a scholarship to St. Norbert! #GoKnights #BigUncleBoo #TwoEight,” said Troy Stecher.
Beaulieu, 21, appeared in 161 career games, scoring four goals and collected 30 points. He played in all but two of the Vees 26 playoff games this season.
“In his time with the Vees, Kyle developed into one of the premier shutdown defenseman in the BCHL,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “He brings a defensive element that is invaluable, especially in the playoffs.
“Kyle is an underrated player and was a major key for our team winning a national championship this season,” continued Harbinson. “He’s a quality individual, as his teammates named him the most popular in each of his two seasons in Penticton.”
When asked about his RBC Cup win, Beaulieu said he was in “shock.”
“Myself, Logan (Johnston) and Nick (Buchanan) were saying to each other, ‘did this just happen?’” Beaulieu recalled. “I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t to be honest.”