North of the Border: Becker Talks SJHL, Canada & Future Plans
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This week we have a first for the North of the Border article with our first interview. Battlefords North Stars standout forward Austin Becker, and Amery, Wisc., native, is in his second season playing in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and has become a go-to player for the North Stars.
In 45 games so far this season Becker has 16 goals and 25 assists for 41 points which a significant increase from his 20-point season last year. The league has taken notice of Becker's strong performance this season and have selected him to play for Team Kunitz in the upcoming SJHL/Manitoba Junior Hockey League Showcase.
Before moving to Canada to further his hockey career Becker climbed the youth ranks through the Iowa Wild organization, playing for both the U16 and U18 programs. Becker also played one season for Somerset High in the Wisconsin High School League, tallying 27 points in 24 games as a freshman in 2015-2016.
In this interview, Austin tells us how he ended up playing in the SJHL, his future plans and his thoughts about living in Canada.
TJHP: How did you end up playing hockey in North Battleford, Saskatchewan?
Becker: (The) head scout of the North Stars, Wylie Riendeau, saw me play at a midget showcase in Phoenix, Ariz. He then contacted me via text message.
TJHP: What do you think of the SJHL overall?
Becker: The SJHL is a very good league with tons of talent throughout. The CJHL/ Junior "A" route is a great way to gain exposure for someone that needs exposure in order to play NCAA DI/DIII hockey.
TJHP: What are your plans for after Juniors?
Becker: My goal has always been to play Division I college hockey. I've always wanted to play for four years and then get my business degree. If an opportunity to play professionally happened after those four years, then I would want to put my time towards that.
TJHP: What do you think about living in Canada?
Becker: To me, living in Canada is not too much different than living back home in the states. Conditions in the winter may be a little more extreme up here but overall it is not that much different.
TJHP: What is travel like playing in the SJHL?
Becker: The travel in the SJHL is not bad! (The) longest road trip in the province for us is probably 7 hours or so. And living 20 hours away from my actual home, the travel, to me, is not that bad.
TJHP: What advice would you give to someone thinking about coming to Canada to play junior hockey?
Becker: My advice would be that if you're looking to get better as a player and learn about the game more, then going through the Junior "A" ranks is a great choice.