By Derek Holtom
Steinbach’s Matthew Thiessen capped off an incredible year of hockey with his most impressive accomplishment to date – being selected in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Thiessen, a southeast Manitoba product, was selected in the seventh round, 192nd overall, by the Vancouver Canucks Saturday afternoon.
“I was so excited,” said Thiessen from his home in Altona. “I didn’t really know what to think or say when I heard, but it was a real special moment that I’ll remember forever.”
Thiessen was watching the draft with his parents, but he was actually drafted during a commercial break. But good news travels quickly, and an advisor in attendance at the draft called to let him know he had been drafted – something quickly confirmed when the commercial break ended.
His selection caps off an incredible season for the Pistons’ netminder. Thiessen led his team in goal through most of the playoffs, helping them not only win a MJHL championship, but also helping them prevail against the SJHL champion Nipawin Hawks in the ANAVET Cup.
Thiessen also committed to playing NCAA hockey with the University of Maine earlier this year. He’ll be joining a squad which includes fellow MJHL alumni Brady Keeper (OCN Blizzard).
Additionally, Thiessen was named to the MJHL’s all-rookie team, the league’s first all-star team, and posting a league-best GAA of 2.06. His playoff save percentage of .944 with four shutouts in 14 games also demonstrated his ability to rise to the occasion.
That said, Thiessen knows this is just another step in his hockey journey. He expects to take to the ice in the near future with other top prospects within the Vancouver Canucks’ organization.
“I will be going to a development camp in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “Then I’ll keep training to get quicker and stronger. The hard work doesn’t stop – you have to keep improving every year, because there’s a new level you have to go up to.”
Thiessen’s next stop is likely to be with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints, who drafted him in the second round this past May. The following year Thiessen will suit up with the University of Maine, giving him plenty of time to keep improving his skills as he chases his NHL dream.