‘Everyone in P.A. made P.A. everything to me’

Tim Vanstone spent his entire five-year WHL career with the Prince Albert Raiders. He sits fourth all-time in games played as a Raider, with 299 matches in the green and gold. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

Looking back on Tim Vanstone’s five years with the Prince Albert Raiders

Only three people have played more games as a Prince Albert Raider than Tim Vanstone.

Last week the Swift Current-born winger and Raiders captain played his 299th and final WHL game — every one of them with the Raiders. He characteristically got in one final fight, much to the delight of the Art Hauser Centre crowd, and following the match was named the game’s “First Star” and the team’s MVP for 2016-17.

“I’m just as humble as you could be. I’m so grateful for the experience and I’m going to be a Raider ‘til I die, that’s for sure,” Vanstone said after the game.

“I think the biggest thing I’m going to take from this year and the five years I’ve been here (is) the fans and the memories with boys and my billet parents. Bless their souls they put up with me for five years so obviously I was doing something right or I was pretty sneaky but I think everyone in P.A. made P.A. everything to me. I think that’s how I can sum it up.”

Vanstone first caught the Raiders’ eyes when we was a part of another “Raider” team, the South Saskatchewan Bantam ‘AA’ Hockey League’s Swift Current Kabos Raiders. Vanstone had a strong draft year in 2011, finishing as the league’s top scorer with 27 goals and 59 points in 22 games.

At that summer’s WHL Bantam Draft the P.A. Raiders selected Vanstone in the third round, 52nd overall. It was a strong draft for the Raiders, who also selected sharpshooter Reid Gardiner in the first round and former starting goaltender Rylan Parenteau right after Vanstone.

“We’re trying to build an identity and that identity is built around hard work,” former Raiders head coach and general manager Bruno Campese told the Daily Herald after the 2011 draft.

“The Vanstone kid fits the bill. He’s a good-sized player that has tenacity on the puck. And that’s awesome.”

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