A forward with a knack for racking up points will soon be playing on familiar ice.
On Dec. 13, the Trinity Western University men's hockey team added a major piece to its offensive puzzle with the signing of the former Langley Chiefs forward Matt Ius, who celebrates his 23rd birthday on Jan. 2.
Along with his B.C. Hockey League experiences, the Pitt Meadows native also played 129 games at the Western Hockey League level over five seasons.
He joins the Spartans after spending the 2012 fall semester with Canada West-playing Mount Royal. Due to injury, Ius played in just four games with the Cougars, registering three assists.
"Matt definitely has a nose for the net, but he's also an all-around player," Spartans' coach Dwayne Lowdermilk said. "To have a player like Matt coming to our team is a great boon for us for this season and the future."
Prior to his one semester stint with Mount Royal, the physical forward took a several-stop journey through the junior ranks from 2005-2011, playing out his career with seven different franchises including the WHL's Everett Silvertips, Swift Current Broncos, Chilliwack Bruins, and Portland Winterhawks, and the BCHL's Burnaby Express, Nanaimo Clippers, and Langley Chiefs.
In his final year of junior hockey, 2010-11, Ius racked up 28 goals and 39 assists in 46 regular games with the Chiefs. He followed that up with six goals and 14 assists in 10 playoff games.
After Langley was eliminated from the BCHL playoffs, Ius was picked up by Portland and saw action in three regular season contests and 14 playoff games in the Winterhawks' run to the WHL final.
In his 129 regular season WHL appearances, Ius had eight goals, 14 assists and 49 penalty minutes. He added one goal and nine penalty minutes in 19 playoff games.
In 84 games at the BCHL level, Ius combined for 40 goals, 56 assists and 89 penalty minutes. His 20-point effort in the 2011 playoffs was his lone post-season appearance in the BCHL.
"The people who I talked to about Trinity Western had nothing but good things to say about it," Ius said.
"I've spent enough time away from my family so it was time to make a decision to come home.
I saw an opportunity here to build a winner. I'm ready to be here for the next four years, get a degree and win a couple of championships."
Ius is expected to inject both energy and an offensive punch into a Spartans' lineup that has scored a B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League-low 29 goals in 11 games this year.
"I'll bring hard work and physical play, and hopefully, with that work, goals will come," Ius said.
With the Spartans, Ius will once again call the Langley Events Centre home, having played the 2010-11 season there with the Langley Chiefs. Ius will join former Chiefs teammate Tyler Miller, who is in his first year with the Spartans.
Ius plans to study business at TWU.
With a 1-9-0-1 record, the Spartans sit in last place in the six-team BCIHL.
TWU resumes play Jan. 5 when the Spartans visit the Ian Stewart Complex to play the University of Victoria. The Spartans' next home game is Friday, Jan. 11 against Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.
Opening faceoff at the LEC is 7 p.m.
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