Former Kelowna Chief Tanner Marshall is headed for Aurora University to play for the Spartans.
The Spartans are a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III program located in Aurora, Illinois. Marshall, who had a brief stint with the Humboldt Broncos in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League this season, told Rory McGouran for humboldtbroncos.com that there were a variety of factors that went into his decision to choose Aurora over other potential destinations.
“The hockey team and their program were highly professional throughout the time we talked, and everyone else I talked to had nothing but good things to say about the organization,” says Marshall. “Also, when I was making my decision, it was important to me that I was going to get the best education possible while continuing to play hockey. Finally, being close to Chicago was pretty cool to me because I’ve always wanted to go there.”
Marshall began his junior hockey career with the Chiefs after playing for the Pursuit of Excellence. In his 16-year-old season with his hometown team, Marshall posted a .911 save percentage in 30 regular season games. He also saw action in two playoff games.
Marshall says being part of the Chiefs was amazing for his growth and development.
“It was a massive step up for me being able to play against guys as old as 21,” he says. “And to be in my hometown was a massive bonus. The fans were so supportive and it was easily one of the best arenas to play in.
“I improved every aspect of my game,” he continued. “Being around older guys forced me to grow up quicker and having a supportive coaching staff allowed me to play my game and not worry about making mistakes.”
“Tanner was very driven and motivated to play on our team as a 16-year-old,” says Chiefs president Jason Tansem. “When he showed up to camp he was all business and wasn’t going to take no for an answer. As camp went on, he was easily one of the top goalies and truly earned his spot with all odds against him. It is always tricky business taking 16-year-olds to play in this league, and even trickier for goaltenders.”
Tansem says Marshall’s compete level is what really stood out. He battled to stop every puck in games, but even in practice he hated getting scored on. Marshall credits the Chiefs for his success, as he moved onto the B.C. Hockey League with Trail in 2017-18. He has also played for the Brooks Bandits, where he won a National Junior A championship in 2018-19, as well as the Merritt Centennials.