While Virden’s Landon Peel made many memories playing for the University of Regina men’s hockey team, his true impact on the program will likely be shown in the future.
For five seasons, the son of Brian and Joan Peel contributed in various ways as the Cougars sought to take steps forward in the competitive Canada West conference at the U Sports level.
This past season, with Peel playing a big role on the blue line, the U of R earned 13 of a possible 16 points in its first eight games of the second half of the campaign. The team just missed out on a postseason berth, but head coach Todd Johnson said: “We look for good things next year and a lot of that is due to Landon.”
As a veteran on a squad packed with first and second-year players, Peel, in his final season, helped show the youngsters the way. Johnson said, “Because he competed so hard, players learned from him.” While Peel was not an extremely vocal leader, the head coach said he was very respected because he “always speaks his truth and speaks from the heart.”
Peel said the highlights of his Cougars career were “playing with lots of guys and then also
making a push for the playoffs in my last year after struggling the years before.” In his final
campaign, the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder scored three goals to tie a career-best and recorded 11
points in 28 games.
“He is a guy who can skate extremely well and has a very good stick in the defensive zone … He is one of those guys who just put it all out there when we played,” said Johnson, who noted that Peel quarterbacked the top powerplay unit, played a lot of minutes, and was rarely injured.
Peel said that his family supported him throughout his hockey career. “I cannot thank them enough for the amount of hours and money they spent on me to live out my dream. Like I said, I don’t know how I can thank them enough for the chance they provided me.”
“it was a dream come true to get a shot to play in such a great league” - Peel
Family played a role in one of the highlights of the five-year junior career Peel had before joining the Cougars. As a 16-year-old season, he suited up for both the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats and the Swan Valley Stampeders of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
On the latter squad, he was teammates with his older brother, Jeff. “Being able to play with the guy and hockey player I looked up to growing up was such a special feeling,” said Peel, who made the MJHL All-Rookie Team. “It made us grow closer as not only brothers but best friends. I will never forget that year as it was super special for myself.”
The next season Peel played again for both the Pats and Stampeders. As an 18-year-old, he split
the season between the Swan Valley and the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. Peel played all of the 2013-
2014 season with the Ice, who moved to Winnipeg before last winter.
“Obviously playing in the WHL for myself had its ups and downs but that’s with most junior players,” he said. “But it was a dream come true to get a shot to play in such a great league and I will always be thankful for that opportunity.”
Peel wrapped up his junior career with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. On a team that included Elkhorn products Bradley Bowles, Shawn Bowles, and Brett Orr, Peel helped the Terriers capture the MJHL title and then win the 2015 national Junior A championship, then named the Royal Bank Cup, on home ice.
“Winning the RBC was probably my most special moment of my junior career,” Peel said. “We had such a unique team and a great group of guys. Tightest group of guys I’ve ever played with.”
Johnson, the Cougars coach, said that Peel’s competitiveness is his greatest asset. He believes that will help his former player as he transitions into the workforce. Peel has graduated with a business administration degree. He has started working at Viterra in Regina and hopes to stay for the time being in the city where he made memories playing for the Cougars.
“The best part of playing university hockey was getting to meet a whole new group of guys but also being able to get a degree while playing,” Peel said.