Weight: 190 lbs
Birthday: January 1, 1998
Previous Team: Coquitlam Express (BCHL)
Hometown: White Rock, BC
One of SFU’s newest additions — and perhaps one of the most exciting — is a familiar name if you’ve followed the Surrey Eagles over the last five years. Sprinkled in with stints in the WHL and a run with the Coquitlam Express in his final junior season, Ty Westgard spent much of his five season junior career with the team.
“It was my home team and I grew up watching them,” Westgard says of the Eagles. “It feels like I’ve played almost half of my hockey career there, so it means a lot. I’ve had a lot of good memories from wins and just the groups of guys we had.”
In his 19-year old season — 2017/18 — Westgard put up 15 goals and 70 points in 56 games for the Eagles, along with 12 points in the playoffs.
The playoffs that year saw the Eagles make it to the second round, only to fall to the eventual league runner-ups, the Prince George Spruce Kings, in a hard fought seven game series. But Westgard says his career highlight is in the first round that year — beating their heated rivals, the Langley Rivermen, at home in overtime in game six.
“That was a tough series, it was really aggressive, lot of feuding between the two teams, so that’s probably my best memory, because it felt good to win that.”
For his final season of junior eligibility, Westgard was named captain of the Eagles.
“Being captain, I learned how to lead a lot, and kind of how to get a group together and work towards that end goal of winning,” he says.
With the Eagles struggling in the standings, however, he was traded to the Coquitlam Express in January, where he was able to bring some veteran leadership. Between the two teams, he put up 15 goals and 52 points in 42 games.
Throughout those five seasons, he also had a few cups of coffee in the WHL, suiting up for 37 games for the Victoria Royals, Portland Winterhawks, and the Everett Silvertips.
“It’s a hard league,” Westgard admits, “but I think I learnt a lot about how to be disciplined and what it really takes if you want to win.”
With his extensive resume, Westgard is name to watch on a young SFU team.
“He’s a big body, he skates well, you can definitely tell he’s got a knack for knowing where to be on the ice, just in some systems stuff already, he’s pretty smart. But he’s very ready to learn and eager to learn out here already in the first couple of weeks, so I expect him to be a guy who can play 200 feet and he’s gonna chip in offensively for sure, and I think he’s gonna be a physical presence out there because of the way he moves and can play,” says head coach Mark Coletta. “He’s got nice hands — he can get to those spots where he needs to be and put the puck in the net.
“We’re excited to have him, and we’re going to lean on him a lot, because I think this year’s group is full of young guys, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve been here one year, two years, or three years — you’re going to get pushed. I think he’s up for the challenge.”
Westgard, who is studying economics with hopes to get in the business program, is already excited at what he sees both on and off the ice with this team.
“They’re a lot of fun,” he says of his new teammates. “It’s rare that you have a team where no one on the team sticks out — it’s like the team is just one big group, there’s no cliques. It’s nice when it’s cohesive like that and everyone gets along and there’s no problems in the dressing room, because I’ve been on teams before where there’s problems in the room and you never succeed that way.
“We’ve got a fast team, and we have a lot of skill, and it’s just gonna come to whether we learn how to work together as a group,” Westgard says. “You don’t really know until the games start, but I’ve got a lot of hope for this team because I see a lot of talent.”
His goal for his first season in the BCIHL? It’s simple.
“I want to win the league.”
Westgard will see his first game with SFU this Saturday with preseason action against Trinity Western at the Bill Copeland at 7 pm. SFU will play exhibition matches against NCAA Division I schools Holy Cross and Sacred Heart before opening the regular season at home against Vancouver Island University on Friday, October 11.
Favorite sport other than hockey? Basketball to play, “I like watching baseball in the playoffs.”
Favorite hockey player? Sidney Crosby
Favorite hockey team? Vancouver Canucks
Favorite TV show? Breaking Bad
Favorite Food? Steak
Favorite Movie? Benchwarmers
Favorite Musician? Nickelback