In Nick Buchanan’s two previous BCHL seasons, there was scholarship talk between he and National Collegiate Athletic Association schools, but that’s all it was.
After playing 110 games on the blueline for his hometown Victoria Grizzlies, the talk finally materialized into something after 31 games with the Penticton Vees for the 20-year-old. Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks locked Buchanan up and he said it’s great.
“That is why most guys play in this league and try to move onto the States,” said Buchanan. “Minnesota State came through and gave me an offer.”
Buchanan decided to go with the first offer he received. He’s happy about his destination, especially because it’s a good school and a team that plays in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with the likes of Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, Colorado College, North Dakota, Denver, Michigan Tech, Bemidji State, St. Cloud State, Wisconsin, and Alaska Anchorage. Currently the team sits last in the WCHA with a 2-9-1 record, and is 5-12-1 overall.
“(Bryce) Gervais is going there as well,” said Buchanan. “I have heard good things about it.”
Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said he is proud of what Buchanan has accomplished in such a short period in Penticton. “Nick has played an intricate part in our current success, and will be an outstanding addition to the Mavericks D-core for the next four years,” said Harbinson.
During Coach’s Corner on Dec. 15, Harbinson went a little further stating that Buchanan has been a force. He even bragged about the defenders marks in school saying that his lowest is 96 per cent. Harbinson joked that it would take a few of his Calculus marks combined to add up to Buchanan’s 100 per cent mark.
The six-foot-three, 205-pound defenceman has enjoyed the change from Victoria and said his time in Penticton has been “unreal.”
When it came to his own game, he said he’s asked to play a simpler game, having a more defensive responsibility.
“It’s going well so far and that’s why I’m here,” said Buchanan, who scored three goals and had 17 points last season.
This season he has six assists in 31 games.