Kamloops Storm defenceman Devin Benson has signed to play with the expansion Niverville Nighthawks of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for the 2022-23 season.
“It’s pretty exciting obviously, taking that next step to the next level,” said Benson. “I enjoyed this year playing with the Storm and they gave me a really good opportunity to develop and get noticed. I’m excited next year to get started with Niverville because I think they are a very similar organization to Kamloops.”
Nighthawks Head Coach and General Manager Kelvin Cech recruited the Kamloops product because Storm Head Coach Geoff Grimwood, who he knows very well, spoke highly of the defenceman.
“I really trust his opinion on players on and off the ice. That is what started the process,” said Cech. “He spoke of his character, how good of a person he is, how good his family is. For us, it starts with character and compete.”
Cech feels that Benson can contribute in many areas.
“Devin is going to be a big part of bringing the group together off the ice. That makes a huge difference on the ice in the long run as well,” said Cech.
After returning to the Storm from the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials, Benson liked how he played.
“After a couple of weeks, I found my game and I was kind of rolling,” said Benson, who was third among Storm blueliners with 20 points in 37 games. “It’s really easy with the team we have – a lot of good high-end players.
The Nighthawks get a defenceman who feels he has improved as a leader and plays more physical.
“I have always been a skilled defenceman,” said Benson, who is 5-11, 175-pounds. “I think just adding that physicality to my game, being a leader, I wore an A this year, really helped me with that leadership role.”
Benson grew from his time with the Centennials, saying the experience “was huge.”
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity I got playing in the BCHL with Merritt,” said Benson, 18, who played in 10 games during the 2020-21 season. “Playing those games with Merritt helped with me developing and being a dominant player this year in the KIJHL.”