Playing in the AUS all-star game at the beginning of November, Jonathan Groenheyde felt pretty good about his performance. And then he got the call.
Groenheyde was selected to play on the Canadian national hockey team at 2013 Winter Universiade, the university world’s answer to the Olympics.
“I’ve never represented my country on any level, so it’s always an honour to do that,” he said.
Players were selected to visit camp after last year’s season ended. They were also invited to play in the AUS all-star game on Nov. 8, after which the coaching staff would make their final picks for the national team.
STU finished in last place last season with only three wins. However, Groenheyde finished with the highest number of saves out of AUS goalies, with 830. He made just under 200 more saves than the goalie in second place, Anthony Peters of SMU, who is also on the Canadian team.
Although he knew he was in the running, Groenheyde never seriously considered making the cut.
“I was sort of expecting to go to camp and get a decent look but it’s definitely exciting when you get the call that you made the team,” he said.
The bi-annual Winter Universiade will take place in Trentino, Italy, from Dec. 11 to Dec. 21. Canada is represented by each of the three CIS conferences on a rotational basis, with this year going to the AUS conference. Twelve countries will be competing in the men’s hockey category.
Groenheyde is already aiming for the gold, but is setting his own personal goals so he can grab the starting position.
“[It’s] just working towards getting better every day. It puts some pressure on [the coaches] and makes it hard on them to decide who’s going to be starting the first game.”
Wayne Savage from UPEI rounds out Team Canada’s goaltending for the tournament.
While he’s going to have to fight to be number one, Groenheyde thinks the hard decision for the coaches is a good sign. But, he isn’t too concerned about his competition.
“We’re all good goalies. They play their season and I play mine,” he said.
The B.C. native called his parents with the news right away. He said his whole family has been incredibly supportive.
“My dad has already booked his flight over there to watch some games,” said Groenheyde.
As for STU’s season, the starting goalie believes the team is headed in the right direction.
“It’s just a totally different feeling between this year and last year in the dressing room. Everyone’s excited as to where this team can go.”
And adding a goalie who represents his country nationally to the mix means STU’s men’s team has a lot more to be eager about.
“I know this team is a team that would love to make the playoffs and we’re really working towards that,” he said.
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