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STORY: Countdown To Warriors Hockey With Stephen Kleysen

PHOTO: AlignYourMind.ca

After almost one year and a full season of BCHL hockey under his belt, Stephen Kleysen has found a second home in West Kelowna as he is set to begin his final season of Junior ‘A’ hockey in the Okanagan.

The Warriors acquired Kleysen from the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) on the 17th of August in 2016 and proved to be one of the biggest additions to last year’s Warriors squad, playing in all 58 regular season games with 6 goals 23 points to go along with 48 penalty minutes. Kleysen saw an increased role and was on the ice consistently for the Warriors in the playoffs and also generated some offense in that time with three assists in four games played. The six goals Kleysen tallied was the most he had scored in a season in his Junior ‘A’ career.

The 5’11”, 185-pound blueliner learnt a lot from his first year out west last season, “With last year being my third year of junior hockey, I became more conscious of my responsibility,” said Kleysen, “to show up ready to play like it’d be our last game every single night.”

It’s not only the playing aspect of the game for Kleysen either, strength and conditioning plays a big part in his life as well, “After seeing several of my teammates suffer some unfortunate injuries, the importance of taking care of my body and mind became more apparent to me than it had in previous seasons.” As the Winnipeg, Manitoba native states, it’s not just his body he needs to take care of during the long season, “Coming into games mentally prepared, well rested and well fueled made a huge difference in what I could contribute to the team,” Kleysen continued, “It became especially apparent and more important during the playoffs; I wanted my energy to be contagious to the team on the ice. Those experiences have motivated me to push harder than I ever have this offseason.”

With Warriors Main Camp commencing in just 10 days, Kleysen is excited to get into town and return to hockey, “I can’t wait to rejoin the returning group of guys we have and to meet all the new players coming in as we will have a strong team this season.”

Stephen and the rest of the Warriors are set to hit the ice at Royal LePage Place for Main Camp on Monday, August 21st before the first preseason game on Wednesday, August 23rd at 7:00 PM at RLP against the Penticton Vees, tickets are just $5.

2017/18 Warriors season are available, along with news of the brand-new Booster Club! For more information, head down to the Warriors office or contact Kim or Alex at (250) 769-7051.

The Warriors are in need of billet families for the 2017/18 season. For more information on how to join the Warriors family, contact Nicole Ellis at (250) 878-9110 or email her at nicole@westkelownawarriors.ca.

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