Verstraete headed to UNLV thanks to Kimberley

Jack Verstraete will continue playing hockey in Las Vegas, thanks to his brief stint with the Kimberley Dynamiters. Syltography photo



Joining the Kimberley Dynamiters revived Jack Verstraete’s hockey career.


Now the Calgary native is looking towards a new chapter in his life, as he joins the University of Las Vegas Nevada Rebels.


“My top place I can think of for professional organizations,” he says of Kimberley. “Coaches that aren’t just your coach, more of a friend. Someone who you can joke with and have fun while winning games. The location is amazing, and the team was the most family-type of team I have ever got to be a part of.”


Verstraete spent the majority of his junior career in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, playing 107 games with the Okotoks Oilers (two), For McMurray Oil Barons (72) and Calgary Canucks (33). He played 17 games with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Melville Millionaires.


He had lost his love for hockey, shifting his focus to school. He rediscovered his passion thanks to teammate Cam Russell and Dynamiters coach Derek Stuart. They convinced him to play.


With the Dynamiters his confidence grew, as well as personal growth in simplistic things.


“It’s just a very easy-going, fun town,” he says. “Player-wise, just all the opportunities you could ask for just depends what you can do with them.


“I wouldn’t have the chance to keep playing so I am very thankful,” he continued.


The former Calgary Northstars U18 AAA product feels the Rebels is the right program for him as he has heard nothing but great things from coaches and players currently there.


“Players are treated at the highest standard and success has shown in the past year,” says Verstraete. “I have friends going (including former Dynamiters teammate Brock Palmer) and I got into the right program right away.”


In joining the Rebels, he looks forward to his education, but living in a warm climate where he gets to play at the university level. In 18 career regular season and playoff games with the Dynamiters, Verstraete had nine points and 32 penalty minutes.