Oak Lake’s Wiens headed to Briercrest

The Briercrest College Clippers are looking forward to bringing Oak Lake’s Josh Wiens into the fold for the next hockey season.

The son of Brad and Angie Wiens has committed to play for the Caronport, Sask.-based Christian college’s men’s hockey team. The Clippers compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, which did not take the ice this winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Josh is a great fit for us here at Briercrest,” said Miniota’s Brad Cole, the team’s head coach. “He has a desire to grow as a hockey player but more importantly as a man of God.”

Wiens is currently the captain of Castlegar (B.C.) Rebels of the Junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The forward had three assists in three games before the season was paused in November.

“Our hope with Josh is that he can come in and contribute in his first year,” Cole said. “He has been in a leadership role for the past few seasons and that’s something we desire to continue to cultivate in him. As far as his role on the team that will be more determined by Josh himself. We see him as a guy that will be able to play up and down our lineup.”

Wiens said he chose Briercrest for several reasons. For one, he was familiar with the program as Castlegar head coach Carter Duffin, a former Virden Oil Capitals assistant coach, had gone there and said he had a good experience. Three of Wiens’ Rebels teammates had played at the Caronport-based Prairie Hockey Academy.

“They had nothing but good things to say about the program and the school,” Wiens said.

Wiens was also drawn to Briercrest because it is a Christian-based institution.

“I want to be a person with more integrity and character, so I think being involved in the environment at Briercrest will challenge me to work on those two aspects of my life,” he said. “I think being a good person is more important than hockey and school; and I know that Briercrest believes the same thing.

“I’m also very excited to see what it is like to play in the environment that Briercrest has. I think the players will gel together better than most other teams.”

Wiens is looking forward to testing himself against the calibre of players in the ACAC.

“The league Briercrest plays in was another drawing point for me,” he said. “There is a ton of ex-(Canadian Hockey League, major junior) and good Junior A players in that league and playing with and against that level of talent was something that was exciting for me.”

Wiens said that he is excited to play for coaches who will challenge him “in hockey and with my character. My coach in Castlegar was that way and that was a quality I liked about him.”

“I’ve talked to Brad and some of the other coaches and I liked what they had to say; they want to develop better people and hockey players and that’s what I want,” Wiens said. “Brad has played professional hockey as well. I would love to get the opportunity to play professionally and I think Brad will do a really good job at developing the players he has to move up to those levels. “

In 2021-2022, Cole will be in third year leading the Clippers. He played in the Western Hockey League and had an 11-year professional career, including spending most of three seasons in the American Hockey League – just a step away from the National Hockey League.

In 2019, Briercrest College had a reported enrollment of 489. Smaller class sizes played a part in Wiens’ decision to attend the school.

“I liked that Briercrest is a little bit of a smaller school,” he said. “I like the idea of learning in smaller class sizes. I think being in smaller classes gives students more of an advantage because teachers have more time to help each student.”

He plans to pursue studies that will allow him to eventually go to graduate school to become a physical therapist.

“I’ve always been interested in the health care field and how the human body moves, so I think physical therapy is a job I would really enjoy,” Wiens said. “I also think it would be a very satisfying job being able to help people recover and to see the progress that they make.

“I also like that the majority of physical therapist work a normal 9-5 job, as opposed to the hours that come with most other healthcare jobs. I’ve always wanted to help out coaching hockey in the future, so that gives me more flexibility to be able to do that. It also gives me more time when I have a family, and that’s something I value.”

© Virden Empire-Advance