Former Virden resident Mitch VanTeeling established himself as an important contributor for the York University Lions in his rookie season.
The son of Heather and Guy VanTeeling of Brandon was sixth on the Lions hockey team with 11 points. He had a goal and two assists while helping the Lions to a win last winter. The
6-foot-1, 200-pound forward’s bio on the school website states he is “a tough, strong 200-foot player with a strong understanding of defensive principles.”
After a standout four-year junior hockey career – spent mostly with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Dauphin Kings – VanTeeling decided to take his all-around game to Ontario.
“For me a good opportunity was really what drew me to York. The now former coach recruited me pretty hard and said I would get a great opportunity to play and develop,” wrote VanTeeling in an
“Going to the big city of Toronto also drew me to going there and the program which I entered is one of the best/biggest in Canada.”
VanTeeling is enrolled in York’s kinesiology program. He hopes to pursue medical studies, possibly in physiotherapy, in the future. Learning how to juggle hockey and university classes was just
one of the adjustments VanTeeling had to make in going from Junior A to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level.
“The speed and the size and strength of the players are some of the differences between junior and CIS,” VanTeeling wrote. “There's much less time to make plays and some of the players are
nearly full grown men. The games are tight and only playing on weekends and with only 28 games during the regular season, every game has huge implications so it’s a little more intense.”
Although CIS teams play fewer games, they usually carry more players than at the junior level. That means even talented players have to scrap for a spot in the lineup.
“During the week it’s a war at practices as guys are trying to get into the lineup,” VanTeeling said. While York missed the playoffs last winter, there were still some bright spots for VanTeeling and his teammates. The Lions seemed to play their best against the Ontario University Athletics top teams. They beat the nationally-ranked University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres and played well in a 2-1 loss to OUA.
As for personal highlights, VanTeeling wrote that, “Scoring my first CIS goal in only my second game against Guelph (who went on to win OUA) was pretty special.”
During his first university year, Vanteeling enjoyed life off the ice at York. “It's a big campus and city, which is pretty cool. We're only a quick subway ride away from downtown Toronto. The
campus is nice and big and has a good feeling when you’re walking around between classes and such.”
Before heading to York, VanTeeling enjoyed a strong junior career. He helped the Kings win two Sherwood Division titles. During the 2013- 2014 season, VanTeeling captained the Kings
to a runner-up finish at the Western Canada Cup and a berth into the Royal Bank Cup, Canada’s national Junior A championship. VanTeeling, who spent part of a season in B.C. with the Vernon Vipers, wore a letter for much of his time in Dauphin.
Throughout his career, VanTeeling has had the backing of his parents. “My parents have been very supportive throughout everything, especially in junior and letting me choose the path I wanted to take and the school that I wanted to attend. We talk every day while I'm gone and they have been very supportive while I've been away and helping me with the grind of being a student-athlete.”