Troy Stecher got two vastly different experiences at the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks prospects camp.
In the Canucks camp, the former Penticton Vees captain worked on skating and stick skills until the final day, then played a scrimmage game. The Blackhawks camp practised one day then scrimmaged the rest of the week. Stecher said it was a good opportunity to learn different systems. It was also a good for feedback as he was encouraged to return to the Uinviersity of North Dakota (UND) and continue developing his skills.
“I know what I need to do next year,” said Stecher, who started July at the Canucks camp then immediately went to Chicago on July 13. “I kind of want to establish myself as a top-four defencemn. Last year I just wanted to do things the right way.”
Stecher, a Richmond native who played major midget for the Greater Vancouver Canadians, enjoyed the experience at the Canucks camp. With their recent top picks from the NHL draft, he got to see where they are slotted.
“It was a good opportunity to gauge myself against first rounders,” he said. “Obviously, being my home town, was great. I wanted to work hard and do what I could.”
A 2012 RBC Cup champ with the Vees, Stecher said he handled himself pretty well at Canucks camp. Being at the highest level, he wanted to be “like a sponge and soak up everything I could.”
During his rookie season with UND, Stecher looked up to captain Dillon Simpson, an Edmonton Oilers draft pick, who will be playing in the American Hockey League with the Oklahoma City Barons.
“He wasn’t specifically good at one thing, just a complete player,” said Stecher. “He did everything the right way. An all-around two-way defenceman. He’s a great player to play with.”
While at the Canucks camp, Stecher also had the chance to re-connect with former teammate Michael Garteig and high school buddy Spencer Humphries, who played in the Kontinental Hockey League last season.
“It was pretty special to be at camp with him (Garteig),” said Stecher, who remains grateful for his development with the Vees. “We kind of play against each other in college now. I think that’s a bond we will have forever. Especially to be on a winning team.”