A Ridge Meadows Rustler is now a Surrey Eagle.
Ben Fontaine, 17, who played for the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association, has signed with the BC Hockey League Club.
“Heart and soul, blue collared kid who has a knack for scoring below the dots,” is how Eagles head coach Cam Keith described the Maple Ridge prospect.
“He plays physical every shift, and you always know what you’re going to get, but he also has an acute sense of where everybody is on the ice. He’ll distribute when he needs to, and he’s a guy you want in your dressing room.”
Fontaine has had an impressive career in the BC Major Midget League with the Vancouver North East Chiefs. In his first season, the forward put up a modest nine points in 27 games, but followed that up with a 2019-2020 campaign that saw him score 16 goals and 40 points in 36 games. That tied for third on the team. At 5’11”, 170-pounds, he also had a rambunctious 61 penalty minutes.
In six games with the Chiefs in the Cohort Cup this autumn, Fontaine registered two goals and four assists.
When first asked about what he’ll bring to this Eagles team, Fontaine emphasized his hard-nosed style.
“I’m going to bring fast paced, gritty play. I’ll go to the tough areas, be hard working, and block shots. I’m going to be a grinder for this team,” he said.
He chose Surrey because of the organization’s reputation and staff.
“I heard nothing but good things about Surrey, the organization and the coaching staff. As soon as I met [the coaching staff] in person and talked to them in person, I just knew it was where I wanted to play,” he said.
Surrey’s Junior a squad has started building their roster for the 2021-22 BCHL season, and have committed three players – Fontaine, Luke Roberts, and Ante Zlomislic – who all play for the North East Chiefs.
The Ridge kid is excited to have teammates join him in his first junior season.
“It means a lot. I’ve been good friends with these guys for a while now, to be able to see them succeed is a great feeling.”
His coach is glad to have the trio on board for next season, and said their time together in Major Midget is going to help.
“All three can play. It was just a lucky coincidence they were all with the NE Chiefs under a great coach in Jamie Jackson. You can see the chemistry between those three, they’ve been together for three years. It’s almost the same model as the USNDT program where you have guys play together for more than a couple of years. You can see the chemistry and how they’ve built off each other and it’s a huge plus to add these guys who have played together for as long as they have.”
Fontaine won gold at the U16 ball hockey world championships in Prague, Czech Republic in the summer of 2019.