Medicine Hat News
Local product off to top prospects tourney
Kieran Christianson considers himself lucky to have played hockey this season, and isn’t done yet
Kieran Christianson’s season with the Missoula Junior Bruins may have reached an end, but the 17-year-old Medicine Hat product still has one last event circled on the North American 3 Hockey League schedule.
After bowing out in the opening round of the playoffs, Christianson was given the chance to extend his season by a few games at the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament this weekend in St. Peters, Miss.
The showcase tournament will feature four teams, each playing a pair of games Sunday and Monday. Looking ahead to the big weekend, Christianson couldn’t help but reflect on how far he’s come on the ice.
“It’s special. A few years ago I didn’t think I’d be this far,” Christianson said in a phone call with the News. “It’s going to be just a great weekend to have fun, try my best out there and showcase my skills.”
Heading south to compete with the Junior Bruins was a sizeable step, and one that ultimately proved beneficial for his development — as the NA3HL managed to get in an entire season, while leagues in Canada have been shuttered for months.
“I’m just so fortunate to be able to play this year,” said Christianson, who recorded eight goals and seven assists over 26 games with Missoula. “It sucks that the guys at home couldn’t play but I was very fortunate to be able to play and get chosen to go to the Top Prospects Tournament to play against other guys from different countries. It’s not just the U.S., there are guys from Russia, Sweden, Belarus. It’s just going to be a good experience.”
Christianson’s time in Missoula did come with some reminders of home in teammate Mason Mowat, a Brooks product with plenty of playing experience in Medicine Hat, and coach Emerson Etem, a former Tiger and first-round NHL draft pick.
“It was a good experience to be under (Etem) the whole season,” said Christianson. “I for sure developed more and more as a player and a person. He definitely taught me some things to help me get through some battles and showed me what I could do in the future.”
About a week before clinching the playoffs, Christianson and his teammates were informed that the Junior
Bruins would be relocating to Rapid City, S.D. next season. While it came as a shock, he says it ultimately helped solidify their bond as a unit.
“I think it brought our group closer together, in a way,” said Christianson, whose 21-17-2-0 Bruins were swept 2-0 by the 39-1-0-0 Sheridan Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. “It created a bond and helped us push to try to beat Sheridan, but Sheridan is a tough team and it just didn’t come easy.”
Christianson said he doesn’t plan on moving to Rapid City with the Bruins next season, and instead will be shifting his focus to a role with South Alberta Hockey Academy’s U18 male prep squad in the fall.
“I think I’m going to be coming back to Canada to play for the academy,” he said.