With his hometown fans cheering him, Virden Oil Capitals forward Hunter Andrew had a strong rookie season.
The son of Brock and Andrea Andrew won the Manitoba Junior Hockey League club’s GCS Energy Services Rookie of The Year award. The homegrown product gave Virden fans plenty to cheer about as the 17-year-old finished 10th on the Oil Caps in points.
“Being able to play in front of my friends and family every night has been a really cool experience that most players don’t get,” Andrew said.
The 6-foot, 160-pounder posted 30 points, including 13 goals, in 59 games. Andrew was ninth in the MJHL in rookie scoring and eighth in first-year goals. What allowed him to be successful offensively?
“I think being a faster guy has helped me be able to adjust and get some points on the board,” Andrew said.
Oil Caps head coach Tyson Ramsey agrees about Andrew’s speed. He said it is the youngster’s strength.
“He is quick to get on top of defenders and to challenge the opposition with that speed,” Ramsey said. “He will go to the hard areas to be successful and he has the ability to play on the wall and up the middle. He has had an impressive season for a young guy.”
Andrew arguably played his best hockey as the campaign went on. In the final 13 games of the season, Andrew racked up 12 points, including five goals.
On Feb. 10, he was named one of the MJHL’s Recycle Everywhere Stars of the Week after scoring two goals and accumulating five points in two games. From Feb. 4 to Feb. 13, he lit the lamp in four consecutive games. Andrew had four points in the Oil Caps’ final five regular season game. Before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the MJHL postseason, he scored a goal and had three points in total in three contests as the Oil Caps took a 2-1 series lead over the Winkler Flyers.
As usual, Andrew was cheered on and supported this past season by his family.
“My family has been great throughout my hockey career,” he said. “There’s nothing that they wouldn’t do to help me succeed with hockey and in life.”
This past winter he had the unique opportunity to be teammates with his older brother, Tanner.
“It’s been cool getting to play with my brother,” the younger Andrew said. “In my first year of AAA (U18), we got to play together which was cool, but now playing junior in front of our hometown has been even cooler.”
The Andrews had previously played together in 2017-2018 with the Southwest Cougars. This fall the elder will play at the NCAA Division I level at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York state, while the younger is expected to be back with the Oil Caps to build upon his rookie success.