By Darryl G. Smart
Caleb Petrie has a knack for getting in the corners and getting assists on the ice. But forward from Simcoe, who now makes Bismarck, ND. home, has made a habit of dishing out helpers off the ice as well.
Petrie, who plays for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Estevan Bruins, was named one of the league’s RBC Community Ambassadors. For his efforts, thanks in part to a social media poll, Hillcrest Elementary in Estevan received a $1,000 donation from RBC on behalf of Petrie.
“It was a huge honour being selected to represent the Bruins as the community ambassador, not only because of what an unreal community Estevan is, but also because they’re so many great guys on our team that easily could’ve been chosen as well,” Petrie said.
Petrie joined the Bruins in the 2019-20 season, splitting time in the SJHL and junior B Prairie Junior Hockey League’s Pilot Butte Storm.
Petrie’s game elevated to another level after the December 1 deadline move to the Storm, where he had 22 points (11G, 11A) in 14 games. During that time he also added seven of the nine points (3G, 4A) he had with the Bruins, in nine other appearances.
For those efforts, Petrie earned the Bruins’ Most Improved Player Award.
Last season the former Brantford 99ers minor hockey product was poised to be a key contributor to the Bruins. During the COVID-shortened season, Petrie only played six games.
“Last year was a very tough year as I had to self-isolate a total of 28 days in Canada and only getting six games. Honestly, it was extremely frustrating,” Petrie said. “But those are variables that I can’t change. It’s tough seeing our graduating players walk out of junior hockey without any closure and it makes you really feel for your brothers that you know have worked for years to be here.”
Despite that, one thing was a constant, he continued to make being part of the community a priority.
Petrie always signed up and attended most community events, even volunteering at the last minute to fill in for teammates. He was involved in school visits, youth hockey practices and helping non-profits like the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation and Salvation Army.
“After all the community does for us – ticket sales, fundraisers, sponsorships and just being an electric fan base – it is nice to be able to give something back to the community on behalf of the Bruins,” he said.
Back at his North Dakota home with his parents Scott and Val, Petrie is eyeing up the 2021-22 season.
“I know myself and the rest of the returning players are just really eager to get back to the energy city and get to work,” Petrie said. “I also know that every guy is beyond excited to see fans back in the affinity place this year.”