After 117 games in a Terrier uniform, Austin Peters is saying farewell to Portage la Prairie. The 19-year-old forward was the team's second-leading scorer this past season but is now taking his talent to the BCHL, where he will suit up for the Chilliwack Chiefs.
"After the Centennial, they reached out to my agent, and he told me they had interest. When we spoke, they told me what they wanted me to do for their club, and I thought it would be a good fit."
Peters says he had a plethora of options on where to play next season after his performance at the Centennial Cup. The Winnipegger was tied for third in the tournament in points, with eight.
"The ball was definitely in my court. It was nice. I was pretty surprised, and it was a lot to take in. My season ended, and then the next day, there were quite a few teams calling," Peters explains. "It's nothing bad against Portage. It was a great place to play. I'm super grateful for everything they've done for me. If I had to go back, I would more than be okay with that. I just had to do what will be best for me down the road."
He is excited about the change of scenery and the step up in competition that the BCHL will bring. Peters says the Centennial Cup was a great way to gauge how he stacked up against the other top players in the country.
In the 2021-22 season, Peters played in 44 games and put up 19 points for the Terriers, but last season, he tripled that point total, ending the year with 63.
"I would say it was about hard work and opportunity at the same time. I had a big summer and tried to put on a few more pounds. I'd say, that definitely helped," Peters continues. "The coaching staff, Blake Spiller, Paul Harland, and even Robby Moar, the new addition to the coaching staff, they gave me a new level of confidence in my game. They showed me the ropes on how they wanted me to play and the best way for me to play with my skill type. They definitely gave me the opportunity, and my confidence took off from there."
Peters adds knowing he can make a leap like this makes him even more faithful that he will be able to make another jump ahead of next season.
While under Coach Spiller, Peters learned a few lessons that he will carry with him throughout his on-ice journey.
"They helped me work on my 200-foot game and how to use my speed with the puck. Also, just not getting too high or getting too low. If you have a bad game, you let it go out the window. If you have a good game, be happy for the night but the next day is a new day."
The forward notes the community of Portage made him feel extremely welcome for the two years he spent here. For that, he says he will be forever grateful.
"I have nothing but love for that town. The fans are great. Everyone knows everyone and is super duper nice. I have a soft spot for Portage," says Peters. "No one really believed in me before the Terriers came. They definitely picked me up and gave me a chance. I wouldn't even know where I would be without them."
His first priority this season is to commit to a Division 1 program in the NCAA and continue moving up the ranks. Peters gives a special thanks to a member of the Terriers who might not always get the credit he deserves.
"I have to give a shout-out to someone behind the scenes who changed the way I look at the game and how I play the game. Ken Brooks, we call him Brooksy, he's our equipment manager. He made my time coming to the rink way better. I'd always go talk with him in the equipment room and just talk about life. He definitely made the last nine months really easy on me."