MELFORT — After checking out his options, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Most Valuable Player decided to stay close to home.
Melfort Mustangs standout Justin Ball has committed to play and the study at the University of Saskatchewan. The decision brings Ball, who played all three of his junior seasons in Melfort, back home to Saskatoon.
“I explored some potential options in the US and with other Canadian teams, but I believe the U of S is a great fit for me,” he said. “I’m excited to still be close to friends and family, and to play for my hometown university is something special to me.”
The Huskies are a perennial contender in the U Sports’ Canada West conference. At the 2019 national championships, the University of Saskatchewan fell in the bronze medal game.
“[I’m] looking forward to playing for a great program, on a very competitive team that is a contender every year, and I am very excited to be on the university team from my hometown,” Ball said.
The 20-year-old has not yet settled on a field of study, but said, “most likely business because I think I can really excel in that program, and possibly go into law school after I’ve graduated with a degree.”
Ball capped his junior career in style this past season. He helped the Mustangs gallop all the way to the SJHL finals, where they fell to Battlefords, 4-1. During the regular season, Ball led the league with 54 goals and 103 points. He was the first player to score 50 goals in a season since 2010-11. For his career, Ball had 97 goals and 198 points in 181 games.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Justin to commit to his hometown U Sports team,” Mustang head coach Trevor Blevins said in a team press release. “He’s been an unbelievable Mustang over the last three years and we’re really happy for him. He’s been an honour to coach and will be missed in our community and on our team.”