Caige Sterzer, a former Kimberley Dynamiter, has moved on from the Tier II junior hockey team the Lone Star Brahmas in North Richland Hills, Texas, to a new NCAA program the Lindenwood University Lions in St. Charles, Missouri.
Sterzer was originally born in Edmonton, Alta. but moved to Canal Flats at a very early age, and when he was in Grade 2, moved to Kimberley, which he still calls home.
He played minor hockey in Cranbrook and in 2016 signed on with the Dynamiters. His first year with the Nitros coincided with head coach and general manager Derek Stuart’s first year coaching the team.
“It was awesome just because it was my home town,” Sterzer said. “All of my family and friends could come watch all the time and obviously the fans in Kimberley are also amazing, so yeah I loved playing in Kimberley my 16-year-old year.”
He added that it was good for him to start out playing in a smaller town, as there was more opportunity for him to get substantial ice time.
“When you’re playing in bigger cities you’re playing on better teams and there’s just more better players so I just gained a lot of confidence from playing in a smaller town, just being able to play as much as possible,” he said.
“But as you get older I had to move away to play at a higher level because it was just getting to that point where I knew I was focused on hockey and wanted to keep getting better and playing against better players.”
From the Dynamiters, Sterzer went on to the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles and then to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs starting in the 2019-20 season. He was there for a year and a half before getting traded to the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL, so moving a lot is something Sterzer is more than used to.
“Since I was 15, that was my first year I ever moved away so I played in Nelson actually that year for a major midget team, so I’ve had a lot of experience with moving around to different cities and having different billet families and everything like that.”
He said it’s been different living in Texas compared to B.C., but not necessarily in a bad way, the persistently nice weather least of all.
“It’s been awesome,” Sterzer said. “It was obviously a weird start to the season when I was in Alberni, because the COVID restrictions were pretty bad and we got in some exhibition games but then it got shut down, so then I had the opportunity to come down here to Texas and I’ve loved it so far. My teammates and coaches are awesome, definitely can’t complain, it’s been a pretty sweet year with them.”
Brahmas assistant coach Andrew Whiteside said that the team is “thrilled for Caige and his family.”
“Ever since Caige has stepped foot in Lone Star, he has continued to develop day in and day out,” Whiteside continued. “Lindenwood is getting a terrific hockey player and an even better young man. We look forward to following Caige and his career at the Division I level over the course of the next four years.”
He is still in Texas currently with around 10 regular season games left to play, and then playoffs.
“Our goal is to go all the way,” he said. “We have a really good team this year so if we end up going all the way to the finals we’ll be playing till June 22 would be the championship game. So still got a lot of season left.”
Sterzer is excited to move onwards to the Lions and said it’s something he’s been working towards for a long time.
His first year with the new team will be a little different, however, as they will still be an ACHA team for his first year and have some games scheduled against some NCAA teams, but it won’t be until the 2022 season that the team becomes Division I.
This will give the new team a chance to get to know each other and test the waters before diving into Division 1 in the 2022 season.
He is committed for the next four years on a scholarship, and is still deciding what program he will take, but knows that he wants to focus on hockey and hockey is something he wants to do when he’s older, so he’s considering something like sports management.