By Lanny Stewart
After spending approximately two and a half years out west playing in the Western Hockey League, Devon Skoleski is now back in his home province – and he’s loving every minute of it.
“Being able to play really good hockey close to home while getting a good education, I don’t think I could ask for much more than that,” said the St. Adolphe product who is now suiting up for the University of Manitoba Bisons men’s hockey program. “It’s been good so far. We’ve had a rough start to our season with injuries, but we have such a good group of guys in the dressing room that makes it so much fun coming to the rink every day.”
Skoleski spent two seasons with the Everett Silvertips from 2015-2017 before joining the Prince Albert Raiders for the 2017-2018 campaign. He’d later find himself with the Winnipeg Blues later in the year, playing a key role with the club, scoring six goals and 11 points in 12 playoff games as the Blues reached the MJHL semifinals.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend too much time with the Blues this past season but the time I did get to spend there was awesome,” said the 21-year-old forward. “I think we ended our season a little earlier than we wanted but my time as a Blue is something that I’ll cherish and remember for the rest of my life.”
He says it was a bit different for him to come back and play in front of family and friends.
“Being gone for so long and having my family so far away I think made it extra hard for them to come watch me play, so being home was nice, especially for my parents, only having to make that 30-minute trip instead of 23 hours,” he said.
Skoleski calls Everett his second home – and for good reason.
“I was just a teenager when I was packing my stuff ready to leave home for the first time not knowing what to expect. I learnt so much about myself and being on my own away from my family.”
He says heading to a different country, it was definitely one of the scariest things he’s had to go through.
“For me, I never really saw myself ever leaving home. I was for sure nervous not knowing what to expect but having such great teammates and billet families that helped me get through the first few months of being away helped so much. I was lucky enough to also have had the chance to play in Prince Albert, another great organization. Even though things didn’t work out for me there, I was truly blessed to have met some amazing people. These organizations taught me what it takes to be the best I can be.”
Skoleski was able to utilize his WHL Scholarship opportunity in committing to U of M last season.
“It leaves you with the chance to do whatever you want to do whether that’s hockey or something outside of hockey,” he added.
What does the future hold for Devon now that he’s enrolled at U of M?
“I’m not exactly sure. I’m just taking it one day at a time. I’m definitely hoping another hockey offer will come after my time with the Bisons, but as of now, I can’t say for sure what the future will hold for me.”