By Daniel Fink – ReginaPats.com
Interview courtesy of Phil Andrews – 620 CKRM
Regina, Saskatchewan – Former Regina Pats forward Dyson Stevenson has signed a one year contract with the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Stevenson told Pats play-by-play announcer Phil Andrews. “I’ve been talking to a couple teams and Portland was the best fit for me. You could tell they wanted me just by the way they talked to my agent and it’s really exciting for me to finally move on.”
Stevenson played his entire WHL career with the Blue and White, suiting up for 252 games while registering 168 points (75G, 93A) and 420 penalty minutes.
With multiple teams interested, part of the decision came down to organizational depth and which team would give the former Pat the best opportunity to contribute.
“I just thought it was important for me, I didn’t really care about the money, it’s just a place where I could play and do the best I can to get a better contract next year and work hard to stay in the lineup,” explained Stevenson. “I thought Portland was the best fit and it’s going to be a great place to play if I can stick around there.”
The Shaunavon, SK native enjoyed a career best season in 2013-14 where he scored 38 goals to lead the Pats and tied for 12th in the WHL. Stevenson also added a career high 38 assists for a total of 76 points in 68 games to go with 121 penalty minutes and a +23 plus/minus rating.
The 20-year old forward was named the Pats’ 2013-14 MVP for his efforts last season, took home the Pats’ Community Service Award and was voted the Pats’ Most Popular Player by the fans.
Discussions with the Pirates have been very positive for Stevenson leading him to feel confident in his choice.
“My agent does a lot for me and it helps a lot that he found (Portland) and talked to them. They’ve been really good to me and talked me once and a while. We’re going to try and set up workouts and stuff like that so it’s been really good so far and I’m excited to move forward.”
After an injury at the end of the 2013-14 season resulted in Stevenson missing games in the regular season and playoffs before returning despite not being 100%, the summer will be key for the gritty forward as he trys to crack the Pirates’ lineup.
“I’m going to look to get bigger and stronger and just work out. I still have to enjoy the summer like every young kid does, but hockey’s first and I’ll put that first and work out. I need to improve my skating, obviously. It’s not my best feature in my game, but I’m going to work hard to do whatever I can to stay in the lineup next year and compete at the next level.”
Stevenson earned some professional experience last season when he suited up in four games with the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors at the conclusion of the Pats’ 2012-13 campaign. The short professional stint gave the young forward lessons he can carry into his career.
“You have to live like a grown man. I’m still only 21 next year, but I’m going to have to improve my eating habits and living habits off the ice because that’s a big thing when it comes to pro hockey you have to be just as good off the ice as on the ice and I respect that. When I went to Bakersfield the guys there taught me a lot.”
It’s a big step for Stevenson who seemed to make leaps in his development each season he was a member of the Regina Pats. The Regina fan favourite hopes to see some more big steps in his future.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I know it’s not the NHL, but it’s one step closer. It’s going to take me a while to get there, and I’m just going to keep working hard to reach my goal.”
The Regina Pats thank Dyson for his contributions to the organization and to the community of Regina.
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