A former Estevan Bruins captain will get his minor professional hockey career rolling in the ECHL. Tanner Froese agreed to terms with the Idaho Steelheads for a contract for the 2018-2019 season.
Froese played for the Bruins from 2010-2014, and during that time racked up 52 goals and 51 assists. He then went to St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, where he accumulated another 42 goals and 50 assists over 4 years with the Green Knights and captained them to a NCAA Division III championship last year. He also earned NCHA All-Conference Team and All-Tournament awards, as well as being named as Assistant Captain on the All-Conference team in 2016-2017.
The right winger played three games with the Fort Wayne Komets in the ECHL last year. He's the first rookie player to agree to terms with the Dallas Stars affiliates this season.
"It seems too good to be true. I'm just really happy with how things turned out and excited for what's next," he expressed the day after the announcement was made.
The trio of games played with the Komets did some good in preparing him for the year ahead, giving him an idea of the play in the league and how to get ready. That said, Froese noted that it is a jump from NCAA to professional hockey.
"It's definitely a lot more skill. You've got guys that are drafted in the NHL, so it's a whole different game. I wouldn't necessarily say it's faster, I think a lot of it's positioning. You have to be more aware of where you are on the ice. If you're caught out of place, you could look like a fool."
"They're all professionals, they're all playing for money now, so the way they conduct themselves, it's their jobs. It's different in a sense of just playing a going to school rather than now, you're playing for your job. But I'm ready for it, it's going to be nice to play and get paid for it for once," he added.
Idaho was the attractive choice for the six foot offensive skater due to it's general sporting appeal, it's a popular goal for many aspiring pro players.
"Every time I thought about where I wanted to be, Idaho was the first team that came into my mind. I just kind of checked all the boxes as to where the best place for me was."
"Going in next year, I think I just want to be able to establish myself as a player that can stay in the lineup and move up and down wherever I'm needed. Maybe be a constant guy on the penalty kill, and just get a good base for myself on the team and then work my way up."
Being affiliates of the Dallas Stars, the Steelheads could potentially be the pool dipped into by the NHL team when in need of extra talent, and Froese could find himself in the 'big league'. However, he's not trying to gaze too far down the road.
"If you would have told me four years ago that I would be signing an East Coast contract, I wouldn't have believed you. I'm just kind of happy where I am right now, and I'm just going to focus on the now at this moment."