It nearly brought a tear to Michael Garteig’s eye when he found out the B.C. Hockey League had renamed its Top Goaltender Award after him.
Garteig, who started his junior hockey career with the Princeton Posse in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, moved onto the BCHL playing two seasons in Powell River, then his final season in Penticton, from 2009-12. During the BCHL’s recent annual general meeting, the board of governors voted unanimously to rename several of their year-end awards. The first to be announced was the Michael Garteig Trophy, a trophy he won twice in his BCHL career, once in 2010-11 with Powell River and again the next year with Penticton.
“I felt so honoured. It was so exciting,” said Garteig, who is returning to Germany to play for ERC Ingolstadt this season. “When you are that young and you are playing, you’re not fully matured yet, and you just don’t really understand what you are doing, why you are doing it. Looking back on it, I’ve grown a lot as a person, but at the same time, it’s just so special that I was able to leave a mark.”
The Prince George, B.C. native holds many of the league’s goaltending records, including career wins (92) and shutouts (12). He also holds the single-season record for goals-against average with a mark of 1.69 in 2010-11 and is tied for the single-season lead in shutouts with seven, also during the 2010-11 campaign.
Garteig said it was great playing in the BCHL as he was always trying to play at the highest level possible. He considers himself lucky to have played in Powell River and Penticton – two high-end teams that played strong defence in front of him.
“They gave me a lot of run support, the coaches that gave me a chance,” he said. “And the teammates that I played with, and the staff, I have to give credit to. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible.”
He won a Fred Page Cup and a National Championship during his final season in the league as part of the Vees team that won a Canadian Junior A record 42 games in a row and was inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame.
“I feel so humbled and fortunate to have spent my junior career playing in the BCHL. My success is a testament to the coaches, teammates and organizations I was a part of during my career in B.C.,” said Garteig. “I played for some incredible teams and met some great people along the way. I feel so lucky to now have an award named after me. I’m looking forward to seeing who the first goalie is to win it, that’s going to be cool when I see that.”
In talking about highlights of his BCHL career, Garteig said they had some really good seasons while in Powell River despite not being able to win a league championship.
“My third year in Penticton, winning the BCHL, to the Doyle Cup and then the RBC Cup, that’s the three things that you want to win,” he said. “That was a crazy, fun year. Winning all those games in a row, that was a blast. That group of guys we played with, the staff and the fans, the city, I couldn’t ask for much more to play my last year of junior. Those are definitely some fond memories.”
After his BCHL career, Garteig played four years at Quinnipiac University before embarking on a pro career that continues to this day. He won a Kelly Cup as ECHL champion in 2019 with the Newfoundland Growlers and has made stops in Finland and Germany in the years since.
Story courtesy of the BCHL with added interview comments from Michael Garteig.