Jeffrey Veitch’s skill set and experience between the pipes will aid the Waldorf University hockey team in the coming seasons.
Veitch, a 6-foot-2, 209-pound goaltender, was drafted by the Kootenay Ice in 2012 in the eighth round of the Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft with the 164th overall pick. In 2015-16, he led the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) with a 2.44 goals against average (GAA) and also topped the league with a .913 save percentage while backstopping the Mission City Outlaws to the PIJHL championship. The Mission native, who played for the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners and Timmins Rock in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) during the 2016-17 campaign, signed a letter of intent with the Warriors last Tuesday.
“Jeff is a big goalie that moves well,” Waldorf coach Brett Shelanski said. “He is athletic, composed and efficient in net. His resume speaks for itself, from having been a WHL draft pick, leading the PJHL in goals against and save percentage while winning a league title with Mission City, to this past season in the NOJHL.”
A 2015 Hatzic Secondary School graduate, Veitch joined the Mission City Outlaws during the 2013-14 season and helped the team battle in the PJHL playoffs for three consecutive years. He posted a 4.00 GAA and a .888 save percentage during his debut season with Mission City and. Veitch went on to record a 3.94 GAA and a .886 save percentage during the 2014-15 season. He earned All-Star honors while leading the Outlaws to the 2015-16 NOJHL title. Veitch also played for the Melville Millionaires in Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) during the 2015-16 campaign, turning in a 3.07 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
In the NOJHL last season, Veitch finished with a 3.19 GAA and a .890 save percentage while appearing in 10 games for the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners. He also sported a 4.20 GAA and a .887 save percentage in eight games for Timmins Rock. Veitch contributed a 4.13 GAA and a .897 save percentage for Timmins Rock during the 2016-17 NOJHL playoffs.
Set to compete in the United States, Veitch is excited to join Waldorf’s team and become the second member of his family to play at the collegiate level.
“It means a great deal to me,” Veitch said. “I have wanted to come to the U.S. to continue my education and athletics since I was young. My dad did the same and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. An opportunity to play varsity hockey and get my degree at the same time has been my goal for a long time.”
Veitch is the son of Brad and Patti Veitch. He plans to study education at Waldorf and said he chose to attend the university due to its academic and athletic offerings.
“My decision to come to Waldorf was fairly easy,” Veitch said. “The combination of the education and athletics program was exactly what I was looking for.”
The 10th member of Waldorf’s 2017-18 recruiting class, Veitch joins a talented group of newcomers that includes Cape May, N.J. forward Alexei Pilatsky, who played for the New England Stars in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) last season; Fort Frances, Ontario forward Josh Gouin, who competed for the Fort Frances Lakers in the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) and the Steele County Blades in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) Elite Division last year; Odessa, Texas forward Anthony Chavez from the Euless Jr. Stars in the NA3HL; Regina, Saskatchewan forward Kaden Hintz, who played for the French River Rapids in the NOJHL and the English River Miners in the SIJHL this past season; Houghton, Mich. goaltender Ryall Purdy, who spent last season with the Chicago Bulldogs in the NA3HL and the Ironwood Yoopers in the USPHL; Dominic Lamanno, a goaltender from Oceanside, N.Y., who also played for the New England Stars for two seasons; Quincy, Mass. forward Patrick Freeman; Reedsburg, Wis. defenseman Sean Teske and Elk River, Minn. forward Jaydn Munnelly. Freeman, Teske and Munnelly are former Dells Ducks standouts from the USPHL Elite Division.
The Warriors continued their winning ways last year, rolling to the program’s fifth straight season with at least 20 victories. They concluded the 2016-17 campaign with a 21-11-1 record, notching nine wins over regionally-ranked opponents. During Waldorf’s final season in the Northern Collegiate Hockey League (NCHL), the Warriors turned in a 9-3 conference record to secure the No. 2 seed in the NCHL Tournament and also claimed their fourth consecutive American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II Central Region Tournament berth.
Waldorf, which is set to become a charter member of the ACAH’s newly-formed National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division, begins the 2017-18 season with a pair of exhibition games as the Warriors host the Chicago Cougars on Sept. 8 at Albert Lea, Minn. and then entertain the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings at Albert Lea City Arena the following night.
With Veitch ready to go to work between the pipes, Waldorf is ramping up for an exciting season in the NAIA Division and expects Veitch to contribute right away.
“Jeff is a big-time, proven goaltender who immediately makes our team better,” Shelanski said. “We are ecstatic to welcome him to the Warrior hockey family.”