To this day, Sebastian Streu doesn’t really know what happened in Kootenay.
The 19-year-old forward was released by the club, located in Cranbrook, B.C., after training camp this fall without any reason or discussion.
“That’s the part that hit me hard because we had exit meetings after training camp, every player had one, every play had like five to seven minutes and mine was less than 30 seconds,” Streu said Tuesday. “They didn’t give me a reason why they let me go, which frustrated me because to this day I still don’t know why they released me.”
The move came after Streu had played just one season in the WHL. His years before that were spent playing in Europe on the bigger ice surface while his dad played and coached in Germany and Austria.
When he was 17, he and his dad decided it was time for him to come play in North America and that’s how he wound up in Kootenay.
To say it was an adjustment was an understatement.
“It was really tough. Coming from Europe the game is not physical at all where I come from and I would say the coaches are a lot softer there too,” Streu explained. “Coming here was a big chance, a smaller ice surface, a lot more hitting – always having to keep your head up – and if you don’t play good the coach will let you know, that’s for sure.”
But that’s something that Streu was used to, given his dad was a hockey coach and all.
His entire career he’s been getting advice and criticism from his father. It’s a blessing, he stressed. And he appreciates it.
“You can use it in a good way or use it in a bad way. I definitely use it in a good way because me and my dad have a good relationship and I understand that sometimes he talks to me from a coaching perspective and not a dad’s perspective which I think I need sometimes,” he said.
It’s something, head coach Dave Struch believes, has really upped Streu’s hockey IQ and made him an attractive player to the Pats organization.
In fact, when Struch wanted more information about Streu, he called Streu’s dad and asked about him knowing he’d get honest answers.
“Basically (he told us) exactly what I said about the hockey IQ, the skill level,” Struch said. “There are some things that he needs to work on as a 19-year-old but we do not give up on players as older players so he gets an opportunity to develop with our program as well.”
And Streu is embracing his opportunity to be back on the WHL ice again after a short stint in Vernon with its Junior A team.
“I love it. I think I deserve it,” said Streu, who has scored three points since joining the Pats in mid-November. “Obviously it kind of sucked that my old team didn’t give me a chance to prove myself in the second year because the second year is normally the year where you kind of stand out (but I’m) glad Regina is giving me the chance and I love to prove myself.”
“I definitely want to prove to (Kootenay) you let me go – your loss.”