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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published October 16 2013

Freshman forward bringing attitude to UND

GRAND FORKS – In last season’s British Columbia Hockey League playoffs, Troy Stecher suffered a separated shoulder.

He didn’t miss a game.

“I knew what I had to do,” Stecher said. “I felt it would give us a better chance if I continued to play.”

So, Stecher, the Penticton Vees team captain, kept playing all the way through the BCHL Finals.

Now, the rookie defenseman from Richmond, B.C., says he’s bringing that same win-at-all-costs attitude to the University of North Dakota, where he wants to grab an NCAA national championship as a freshman.

“Everyone here wants to win,” Stecher said. “I’m going to come here as a freshman and try to help the team win. I’ll be bringing the same level of compete and the wanting to win that I had (last year) to this program.”

If UND makes a run this season, Stecher will likely be one of the key cogs.

Although he’s undersized for a defenseman (5-foot-10), and although he’s one of only two UND blue liners who hasn’t been drafted, Stecher has quickly adjusted to the college game and is putting himself in position to be a fixture in the lineup. Stecher was solid in both games last weekend against the University of Vermont and has already earned special teams time for UND.

“Troy’s very prepared in all situations,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “He goes out and his focus is on executing. He’s not over-thinking things. He understands the situation and understands his role and he goes out to execute. I really like that. We see a high competitive level from him day in and day out at practice. That’s carried over to his first three games so far.”

Stecher spent the last three seasons with Penticton in the BCHL, increasing his total from 20 points as a rookie to 47 last season – one in which he earned BCHL defenseman of the year honors.

He originally committed to Nebraska-Omaha, but re-opened his recruiting after the Mavs shuffled their coaching staff. About five months later, he committed to UND.

“It’s the overall package,” Stecher said about what attracted him to Grand Forks. “The hockey facility is unbelievable. The coaching staff with Dane (Jackson), Brad (Berry), Dave and even Pooly (trainer Mark Poolman). . . they run it like a professional program. I just liked everything they had to offer.”

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald