It took Mitch Newsome just 20 games at the Junior A level to catch the eye of NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) scouts.
The Surrey native has committed to play for the Michigan Tech University Huskies starting in the 2016-17 season. He is one of the 13 players on the roster of the BC Hockey league’s Penticton Vees to commit to an NCAA team this season, and one of four local players in the league to do so.
Newsome, who scored 22 goals and 45 points in 40 games with the BC Hockey Major Midget League’s Valley West Hawks last season, has three goals and 13 points in 20 games with the Vees.
The Huskies play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) against the likes of Bowling Green, Minnesota State, Northern Michigan and Bemidji State.
Demico Hannoun of North Delta is also heading to Michigan Tech. A teammate of Newsome’s in Penticton, Hannoun has 15 goals and 24 points in 22 games played. A member of the Surrey Eagles for two seasons, the 19 year-old spent last year with the Vernon Vipers, scoring 15 goals and 44 points in 47 games played.
Two members of the Prince George Spruce Kings who call Surrey home are also headed south of the border.
Justin Rai and defenceman Karan Toor are expected to start their NCAA careers next season. Rai has committed to the University of Maine Black Bears. He currently leads the Spruce Kings in scoring with 15 goals and 31 points in 24 games played.
The 20-year-old has spent three seasons in Prince George, totaling 47 goals and 102 points in 115 career games.
Toor will be playing for the Dartmouth Big Green in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Also 20, Toor is in his fourth season with the Spruce Kings, playing 114 career games. His best season was last year, scoring five times and adding 26 assists in 51 games.