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Local hockey player gets signed by American college

Former Elmira Sugar King Keanan Stewart will be heading to Erie, Pennsylvania to play hockey after receiving a scholarship from Mercyhurst University. [File photo]

He has loved hockey since he was a young boy and always dreamt of playing professionally. Now Keanan Stewart is taking the next steps in his career to make that dream become a reality as he gets prepared to start his college hockey career.

“It’s been my life’s dream to play at the college level and then go play pro,” said Stewart. “It’s been a big accomplishment and a pretty exciting past couple of days. I’m looking forward to it.”

The former Burlington Cougar’s player says ever since minor hockey, he knew embedding himself into this world is what he wanted for the rest of his life.

Through his personal Twitter account, the Woolwich resident announced he had committed to play university hockey at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania.

“Very honoured and excited to announce my commitment to play Division 1 college hockey at Mercyhurst Univeristy,” said Stewart in a tweet. “I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point including my coaches, teammates and family.”

Stewart will be playing National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 hockey, getting a “full ride” for his studies while he’s there.

He says throughout the season he was talking to at least 10 different teams, however, none of them came forward and gave him an offer. Mercyhurst was the first one to give him the chance to take his career forward and he “hopped on board.”

At this time, Stewart has yet to make a final decision on the program he will be taking. But, he says he is looking at a sports business management program so once he’s done playing, he can move into a managerial position with a hockey team.

Stewart played AAA level hockey his whole life before being drafted to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) which he says never worked out.

While he was playing Minor Midget AAA for the Guelph Jr. Storm, he was drafted in the fifth round, 101st overall, of the 2016 OHL draft by the Owen Sound Attack.

Stewart says he went there for two years on tryouts and never got the chance to play. After that he decided the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) was where he wanted to go next with his career.

For the last two years, Stewart has been playing with the Burlington Cougars of the OJHL. In a combined 102 games he scored 50 goals and added 52 assists for an average of a point per game during his time in the league.

While his college career has yet to begin, Stewart is already looking ahead to what’s next.

“My goal is to play pro … so after university I guess the goal is to play pro, whether that be in the NHL, in Europe, wherever that takes me,” said Stewart.

Stewart has also played for the Elmira Sugar Kings and the Guelph Hurricanes in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

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