A talk with a good friend convinced Austin Seibel he was making the right move.
Seibel, 17, a goalie with the North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior B Hockey League, will move up to the Junior A ranks in 2023-24. Seibel has committed to the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
“I heard good things about the league from my friend Kobe Grant,” said Seibel of the former Vernon Vipers netminder who has spent the past seasons in the MJHL with the Swan Valley Stampeders.
Seibel has played in 25 games for the Knights this season, winning 12 starts, and compiling a goals against average of 3.19 along with an impressive .921 save percentage. He played the team’s last two games on the road in Fruitvale and Nelson, making 98 saves out of 103 shots fired his way in the contests.
Seibel spent last season with the Prairie Hockey Academy U17 prep squad in Caronport, Sask., which is where the Kings were alerted to the the 6-foot-1, 162-pound netminder.
“A scout for Dauphin in Moose Jaw wanted me to go their spring camp, which I did, and the Kings saw me there and have kept watching me,” said Seibel, happy to have the decision on where to play next season done.
“I’ve played pretty well this year and I’m very excited to be moving up.”
Seibel’s play and maturity has impressed Dauphin head coach and general manager Doug Hedley, who said on the team’s website upon signing Seibel: “Austin plays a quiet game and he is having a great year with the Knights. He’s a great kid with a high compete level.”
The Kings are the reigning MJHL Turnbull Cup champions who reached the 2022 Centennial Cup Canadian Junior A Championship semifinals. They currently sit in the fourth place in the six-team West Division with a record of 22-14-2-1, but are just two points behind a logjam of three teams tied for first, including Grant and the Stampeders.
Grant, from Vernon, has played in 31 games for Swan Valley, amassing a 15-12 record with a 2.75 goals against average and a safe percentage of .933.