Luke Siemens is adjusting well to life after the Western Hockey League.
The 20-year-old former Prince Albert Raiders goaltender played his last WHL game March 27 when the Raiders were swept by the Red Deer Rebels in the first round of the playoffs, in a 3-2 loss at the Art Hauser Centre.
The Delta, B.C. native posted a record of 35-21-3 with six shutouts in his last season at the junior level before committing to the University of Alberta Golden Bears of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).
“Considering my options, I had the choice to go to the East Coast League or the CIS,” he said. “It didn’t make a heck of a lot of sense for me to throw away five years of school over a contract that would make me maybe $20,000 dollars a year,” Siemens said of his decision to attend the University of Alberta on a hockey scholarship, rather than sign in the East Coast Hockey League.
“You’re getting more value out of a scholarship, it’s pretty much like having another five years of living paid for like I did in the WHL, just to go to school and play hockey,” he said.
Siemens enrolled in the university through the faculty of physical education, but intends to transfer into business studies next year.
Adjusting to university life well, Siemens picked up his first regular season win with the Golden Bears on Oct. 4, a 5-0 shutout over the University of Manitoba Bisons.
“Hockey life things are going great, academically also good,” he said. “I just had my first mid-term and I feel like I did well. Final exams are going to be tough."
Siemens plans to play for the university until graduation and hopes it will lead to a professional opportunity down the road.
“I’d like to get a pro contract. I think going to Europe would be a really neat experience. Even if it’s only for a couple of years, it’s something to get under my belt and then see how things go,” he said.
Siemens attributes the player and person that he is today to his experience in the WHL with different clubs, including the Raiders.
“It was the most fun time of my life,” he said of his three seasons in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips, Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince Albert Raiders.
“I believe it helped me prepare myself for hockey here and also to become a better person, preparing me for the next step,” he said.
In the WHL, Siemens posted a career record of 77-49-9 with 12 shutouts and a 2.78 goals against average, earning Raiders regular season and playoff most valuable player honors in his 2012-2013 campaign.
No matter how things play out, Siemens looks forward to being involved in hockey in any capacity.
“See how things go,” he said. “If it doesn’t pan out then I am perfectly happy staying involved in hockey in other ways whether it’s coaching or scouting. “