As a kid growing up playing hockey in Canada, you dream about throwing on that red and white jersey, wearing that maple leaf on your chest, and representing your country on the world stage.  

Well, for Moose Jaw hockey product Eric Soar that dream has become a reality, as he cracked Team Canada’s roster for the upcoming eight-team World Cup of University Hockey overseas in Romania in April.   

Soar, 25, is a defenseman and is in his fourth year with the Minot State University Beavers, who are a part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Minot State is located in North Dakota roughly 427 kilometres southeast of Moose Jaw.  

In an interview with Discover Moose Jaw, Soar says it was very humbling to be noticed and selected for the team.  

“There’s a lot of guys that could've been picked across the country," says Soar. "It’s cool to be noticed by a coach that I played against a couple of years ago and that’s where it came from, was at a national tournament a few years ago. He said that he recognized that I was somebody that if this ever came around where he had the opportunity to pick a team, I was someone that he would be interested in. It’s going to be a really cool experience.” 

The coach he is referring to is Brian Moran, who at the time was the head coach at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He coached against Soar's Beavers in the first game of the ACHA’s national tournament – a game the Beavers won 2-1 back in April 2021.  

“It’s crazy to think that much time has gone by but it’s an awesome thing to get that recognition."  

His Team Canada selection was solely based on his play with Minot State, as there was no training or development camp leading up to the roster announcement.  

The Beavers hold a perfect 19-0-0 record and are the #1 ranked team in the ACHA’s Division 1 rankings. Through 24 games, Soar has one goal and 12 assists for 13 points.  

Soar isn’t the only one from the highly touted Beavers to crack Team Canada’s roster, as he will be joined by three of his teammates. He will also have to play against two of his teammates, as they will represent Team USA.  

The addition of a few of his teammates has made it easier for Soar to prepare for this tournament.  

“We’ve had quite a few conversations about when the season is done, we’re still going to be skating two or three times a week if we can. A lot of them have said that they may come and train with me outside of our team lifting program. It’s made it a lot easier that we’re all in the same mindset and have the same plan moving forward.” 

Eric_Soar_headshot.jpg Eric Soar. Photo credit: Minot State University

Individually, Soar has taken it upon himself to prepare himself mentally and physically for this event in practices and games with his university squad.  

“It’s one thing to be playing and knowing that we had a good team and playing for wins but now I also have this in the back of my mind that I’m playing to prepare for something that is bigger even after that’s done. Even if it’s taking extra time after practice to work on certain skills or defensive things.” 

Preparing for something that is bigger is exactly what he will have to do, as he will be going up against the top university players from Romania, USA, Poland, Czechia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Sweden.  

In addition, there is the potential to be scouted by the NHL, ECHL, AHL, and professional European clubs to take that next step in his career.  

“The biggest thing will be the experience. European, Canadian, and American style of hockey is played a different way depending on where you are at. It will be cool to see a level that’s going to be a lot different than what I’m used to. It tends to be more of a skilled style of play, which will be something we will be preparing for.” 

The tournament will be held from April 14-19, 2023, in Karcfalva, Romania.  

Soar played for the Moose Jaw U15 AA Warriors in the 2011-12 season where he notched four points in 23 games. He then moved on to play in Notre Dame for the Argos from 2013 to 2015, where picked up a combined 16 points in 72 games between the U18 AA and AAA Argos teams.  

His junior career led him to play in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) from 2015 to 2019, for the Nipawin Hawks, Melville Millionaires, and Weyburn Red Wings. In 204 career regular-season games in the SJHL, Soar had a combined 85 points.  

In four years with Minot State, he has earned himself 71 points in 157 games from 2019-2023.