The Surrey Eagles are very pleased to announce that goaltender Cal Schell has committed to the team for the upcoming 2019-20 BCHL season. The 2001-born Schell was the recipient of the Gus Crescenzi Award for being the GOJHL’s Most Valuable Goaltender this past season. He had a 16-5-0 record in 24 appearances with the Hamilton Kilty B’s, posting a 2.14 goals-against-average, a sparkling .922 save percentage, and 3 shutouts.
At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, the Burlington, Ontario native is a large presence between the pipes. He was also selected 29th overall by the North Bay Battalion in the 2018 Ontario Hockey League U18 draft.
“The route that I’ve always wanted to go was school-based,” Schell told SurreyEagles.ca in an interview. “At the end of the day I just realized what I wanted my goals to be and I’m very happy to be able to come out to play in BC.”
Although Schell is comfortable with his decision now, it did not come easy. He was heavily recruited, but knew that the opportunity to play in front of college scouts in the BCHL was too difficult to pass up. The decision was also made easier because of the fact that his father was a NCAA athlete, playing baseball for Canisius College in Buffalo.
The attention from NCAA scouts that the BCHL receives is a major plus, but having NHL scouts in attendance at most games is an added bonus. This year’s NHL draft saw 8 current and 5 future BCHL players get selected – a feat that Schell says didn’t go unnoticed.
“I’ve heard so many good things,” Schell explained. “There are obviously so many NCAA commitments and opportunities coming out of the league. I also checked in on the draft and noticed that quite a few players from the BCHL were picked. Seeing that builds you up a bit in terms of what to expect from the level of play from the league and how good the opportunity is. It’s very exciting.”
Talking to Eagles head coach Cam Keith, there were certain things about playing in Surrey that stood out to him and helped make it easier to commit. One major perk was the area and the facilities, and the other was the make-up of the team. It’s going to be a young squad built from the net out, which is something that reminds him of his former team in Hamilton.
“Last year in Hamilton, we were very young. We were one of the youngest teams in the GOJHL. I’ve been following along with some of the recent commitments and signings and it seems like the D-core in Surrey is going to be quite strong this year. That’s always good to see for a goalie.”
With his bigger frame, Schell likes to use his size to his advantage. He describes himself as a patient goaltender who loves to handle the puck. Both of those are traits he feels should carry over to South Surrey Arena’s olympic-sized ice sheet very well.
“I try to play almost like a third defenceman,” said Schell, further describing his playing style. “If I had to compare my style to someone, in terms of athleticism and being able to control the game, I really like Matt Murray. I like watching highlights and game tape of him and breaking down his game. When it comes to playing the puck, the faster I can get it up the bigger ice surface, the better.”
Welcome to Surrey, Cal!