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Wiens enjoys Briercrest academically, athletically

Oak Lake's Josh Wiens steps up to new challenges in college hockey and helps the team to semi-finals.

In Josh Wien’s first full season at Briercrest College, he enjoyed life in the classroom and on the ice.

The son of Oak Lake’s Brad and Angie Wiens suits up for the Caronport, Sask. school’s men’s hockey team. A former captain of the Castlegar (B.C.) Rebels, Wiens helped the Clippers earn a playoff spot for the first time since 2008. The squad made it to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference semifinals – something the team had not previously accomplished since joining the league in 1997.

“On the hockey side, I have enjoyed the teammates here. It’s a really good group of guys and we have a good time together at the rink and in the dorms,” Wiens said. “I’m fortunate to have some old teammates with me at Briercrest. Three of my teammates I played with in Castlegar followed me here, and I got to know them really well over the years, so it was cool to have them come here and to be able to play with them again.”

The forward recorded an assist in nine games this past season, according to the ACAC stats. Briercrest College Director of Hockey Operations Brad Cole, a Miniota product, said that Wiens fit in nicely with the team and that “his teammates speak really highly of him and enjoy being around Josh.”

“Josh has a passion for the game,” Cole said. “He is always staying on after practice or getting out for early morning skill development sessions. He has the ability to score goals but usually looks to pass first.”

Going from the Junior B ranks to the college hockey was a big transition at first, Wiens said.

“The college game is a lot more skilled and sharper. The guys in college are a lot bigger and faster too, so that was a big adjustment. The schedules are different too, we played a lot more games in junior compared to here, so that has a different feel.”

Wiens said that college hockey has taught him a lot about time management.

“College hockey is a lot busier than junior was,” he said. “It is a challenge to find time to do school, make meals and do everything that comes with hockey. I had a lot more time in junior to hang out with teammates or go for lunch; whereas here it’s sometimes hard to find any extra time between school, hockey and cooking.”

After the Rebels’ 2020-2021 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wiens decided to head to college early. That allowed him to get familiar with the campus and adjust to being back in the classroom without a full competitive hockey schedule. Wiens is pursuing a business degree. He feels there are a wide range of paths he could take with it and he has an interest in starting a bee farm.

“On the school side of things, I have enjoyed having the smaller class sizes and having teammates in the same classes with me. It's nice to be able to work together with guys you know, and it is helpful to learn and understand the content,” said Wiens, who noted his girlfriend also attends Briercrest College.

Academically and athletically, Wiens has had the backing of his family.

“I know they want to see me do well and they want good things for me so they have done their share of helping me along the way,” he said. “Every step of the way they have done whatever they can to help me and I’m fortunate and thankful for that.”