Eric Stewardson Playing An Unheralded Role For the Windsor Lancers
Stewardson, played 5 seasons of Junior hockey for the PJHL’s Blenheim Blades, graduating from the program in 2017-2018.
“As time goes on and my Junior career was coming to an end, playing University hockey didn’t feel like something that was attainable. I knew a lot of guys on the Windsor team at the time through the Chatham Maroons,” Stewardson explained of his hopes for continuing his hockey career.
“After my overage year in Blenheim, Kyle Hope and the Lancers reached out to me to fill the third string position. Everyone on the team was great to me and made me feel right at home.”
After that, the 6’4″ netminder stepped into a backup, and third goalie role for the OUA’s Lancers, and has stayed there since. He knows he’s not expected to play on the average night, but he has kept positive, and continued working to improve in practice.
“As the third string you know you’re not going to get many games, if any, so it’s important to stay positive and keep working hard in practice,” said the Chatham-Kent Cyclones ‘AAA” alumni. “In my eyes, I was there to give the boys support and keep a positive vibe throughout the room. That being said, I was also in the mindset that if I work hard good things will come. This past season, I began as the backup and found myself practicing every day for a few months which was a great experience.”
This season, Stewardson was supporting starter Jonathan Reinhart who was the OUA West Goaltender of the Year, and former OHL goaltender Tyler Johnson.
With that in mind, Stewardson kept his focus on getting better in practice.
“While practicing I focus on getting better each day, as cheesy as that sounds. I was facing shots I had never seen before in Junior, so it was a learning curve. I treated every practice like a game and kept it light with the boys.”
“When backing up I continued to keep things light. If I noticed guys getting down I’d do what I could to keep them in a positive mindset. As a goalie you always have to be ready for anything so I stayed focused on the game incase I ever got the call.”
While he continues to wait and work, Stewardson did have one memorable moment from this season he will cherish.
“The greatest moment that came out of it all was being able to suit up at Yost Arena against the University of Michigan. My grandfather Al Hinnegan played for Michigan alongside Red Berenson so it was special.”