Newmarket Hurricanes netminder Matthew Wintjes (photo credit - Catherine Reid/OJHL Images) has confirmed his commitment to join the Michigan Technological University Huskies beginning with the 2013-14 WCHA season.
The native of Holland Landing, Ontario is a four-year OJHL veteran, all with the Hurricanes, that was decorated with accolades throughout his junior career. The 5'10", 174 lbs. backstop joined the club as a 16-year old in 2009-10 after being selected by the Kingston Frontenacs in the 13th round, 256th overall, of the 2009 OHL Priority Selection. Backing up Jimmy Sarjeant, the pair led the 'Canes as they captured the CCHL Championship with a six game series victory over the Bowmanville Eagles before ultimately falling to Oakville in the Buckland Cup Final. The following season, with Sarjeant injured for much of the year, Wintjes showed his first signs of stardom, posting a 24-3-2 record to help the club to not only the North Division regular season title, but also the OJHL crown, while earning November Player-of-the-Month honours in the league and North-West Conference 1st Team All-Prospect honours.
The 2011-12 season saw Wintjes take over the starters role, teammed with Jason Pucciarelli, finishing second in the OJHL with a 2.09 goals against average and four shutouts as Newmarket captured a second consecutive North Division title and he was named an OJHL 1st Team All-Star. After being upset in the playoffs, also for the second straight season, Wintjes returned with a vengeance to once again be one of the league's top netminders. Playing with a younger squad in front of him, he would be named the OJHL Goaltender-of-the-Month in September and then went on an impressive playoff march, taking his team to game seven of the league Championship Series before losing a heartbreaker to the St. Michael's Buzzers. Wintjes would lead the playoffs with a 2.22 goals against average and two shutouts, while also participating during the season as a member of the OJHL North Division All-Stars at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge held in Wellington, Ontario.
Congratulations to Matthew on the commitment and thank you for a tremendous four-year OJHL career!
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)