Virden’s Landon Peel is aiming for a memorable final season with the University of Regina men’s hockey team.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how this group we have now can do,” said Peel, 25, who is heading into his fifth year at the school. “We were really young last year and I feel like our first years now know what the league is all about. I think we can be a lot better and battle for a (Canada West) playoff spot.”
Since his first season, the son of Brian and Joan Peel has been a valued contributor for the Cougars. However, U of R head coach Todd Johnson said he is looking for the defenceman to play his best hockey in his last season.
“He has years of experience in Canada West and he will be looked at for both consistency in play and leadership from the back end,” said Johnson.
Peel is coming off a very strong 2018-2019 season. In 28 games, he recorded 14 points – far surpassing the six he posted the season before.
“Landon had his best offensive season for the Cougars last year,” Johnson said. “He and his partner were staples on the power play and they generated most of our offensive chances from defence.”
When asked about the reason for his increased production, Peel said he couldn’t point to one thing, but “I would say just coach Todd Johnson giving me more responsibility and kind of let me jump into the play and also, let’s say, letting me be a ‘fourth forward’ in the offensive zone.”
When the business major was asked what he enjoyed most about the season, he did not speak about his individual success. Peel said the biggest enjoyment was meeting a lot of new teammates.
“We had about 12 first years come in this year and getting to know them was something I really enjoyed,” he said. “We have a good group of guys here and the future is looking bright.”
His family will be there to witness it next season. His parents and older brother Jeff are often in the stands for Cougars home games.
“Other than my time out in Kootenay (in junior), I think I could count on one hand the games that my family has missed, which is amazing considering the places and amount of games I have played,” he said. “They have put on tons of miles for me and my career and I cannot thank them enough for what they continue to do for me. Like I’ve said millions of times, I would not be where I am today without those three and their support.”
Peel’s career included time in the Western Hockey League with the Regina Pats and Kootenay Ice.
He also had stints in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Swan Valley Stampeders, where he was a teammate for a while with Jeff, and with the Portage Terriers, who he helped win a MJHL championship and a national title.
“If you would have told me at a young age that I would still be playing competitive hockey at this age I would not have believed you, so yes I am surprised at how far and long it has taken me,” Peel said. “Being a part of a team and becoming close with 20 guys every year is what keeps me playing. The friendships and brothers you make along the way are like no other.”