Racing down the left wing in the South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton Vees defenceman Troy Stecher pulls a rabbit out of the hat.
He does the Savardian spinorama and slipped past a Prince George Spruce Kings defender. He cut to the net and pinged a shot off the post, then watched as teammate Logan Johnston, on the doorstep, put the dagger in the Spruce Kings in a 3-2 double overtime win.
What the crowd of 875 may not know is what part of the play was even more impressive.
“The real play that Stetcher made there was he lifted the guys stick in the neutral zone and stepped forward to knock the puck off his stick all in one motion,” explained Vees assistant coach and director of hockey operations David Small.
Stecher’s partner, captain Derik Johnson was equally impressed.
“For a first-year, 16-year-old to have the nerve to try something like that and for it to work, it’s a very talented move that he can gain speed coming out of that,” said Johnson. “I can’t wait to see him when he’s my age (20) playing wherever he’s going to be.”
Johnson said Stecher has adapted well and is very poised with the puck.
“It’s fun to play with him, you sometimes forget how young he is,” said Johnson. “I took him out for dinner one night and I was like holy smokes, this kid is still 16 years old. He’s a good kid off the ice and he works extremely hard.”
The two went out for sushi, which Stecher loves, but it was about getting to know each other.
There’s one thing that stood out about Stecher.
“He loves to play with his blackberry,” the captain smiled, noting he gives Stecher a hard time about it.
When the former Vancouver Greater Canadian was asked about his spinorama he said, “that’s my go-to-move.”
“I have been using that for the past year,” he said, letting the cat out of the bag. “Defenceman aren’t really looking for that. Once they cross over then they are caught flat-footed.”
Stecher never questioned trying it because he’s not afraid.
“If you don’t try it you never know if it’s going to work,” he added. “You are not going to be successful if you don’t try things.”
Wearing No. 77, Stecher is inspired by Hall of Famer Ray Bourque.
“I like the way he played, 22 years (in the NHL) is unbelievable,” said Stecher, who dreams of playing in the NHL for the Colorado Avalanche.
“It would be a dream to go to that team.Wear 77 if it wasn’t retired.”
Penticton vees rookie defenceman Troy Stecher is just as competent in his own end as he is offensively. The Richmond native is making an impression with coaches and teammates.