Video Spotlight - Tim Zwiers

LANGLEY, British Columbia - In the fall of 2009, Trinity Western Spartans goalie Tim Zwiers figured his career as a puck-stopper was pretty much a wrap.

After initially cracking the Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL) roster that fall, he was released early in the season and suddenly found himself in a hockey hinterland. Unable to return to his hometown of Williams Lake to play minor hockey due to school scheduling conflicts, Zwiers – who the previous season had enjoyed stints in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen and Kelowna Rockets – ended up playing house hockey in Prince George. As a forward.

“I was pretty much done right there,” Zwiers recalled. “I went from playing Junior ‘A’ and Major Junior to playing house hockey as a forward just because I had dropped off the map.”

But about four months after he had hung up the goalie skates, junior hockey’s equivalent of an olive branch was extended his way. A phone call from Prince George Cougars general manager Dallas Thompson revived Zwiers goaltending career.

Sitting in the library of Prince George Secondary School during a spare, Zwiers phone rang. Much to the chagrin of the librarian, Zwiers answered it before scrambling out into the hall to be greeted by Thompson on the other end asking him if he could make it to practice in three hours.
 
For Zwiers, that answer was an easy and definitive, “Yes.”

The Cougars had been hit by injuries in the crease and when they learned Zwiers was doing little more than playing local house hockey, they offered him a spot. And even though it wouldn’t be much more than a third string position, Zwiers was ecstatic to be back in the blue paint.

“When I found out I could play again, that was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” Zwiers said. “I love to play goaltender and I’ve been playing since I was seven or eight years old. It just clicked. I mean I started playing goalie because I was that bad at player.”

He stayed with the Cougars the rest of the season and while he only saw the ice a few times in late-game mop-up duty, all that mattered was he was back in goalie pads and was far from house hockey.

The following season, despite being recruited by Spartans coach Dwayne Lowdermilk, he decided to stick with the junior route for one more season and joined the Kamloops Storm of the Junior “B” KIJHL. But by Christmas he was done with junior hockey and decided to come to Trinity Western.

 “I grew up in a Christian home and I’ve always followed that way of life,” Zwiers said. “And for me to have other people around who follow that too, that’s huge. That’s one of the biggest reasons I chose Trinity Western. ”

Since arriving in Langley, Zwiers has been every bit as good as advertised.  

While it took him a few games to get going last spring, once the playoffs hit, he became the Spartans go-to guy in the crease, posting a .922 save percentage and a 2.92 goals against average in two games. And he has simply rolled that fine form into this year’s regular season as so far he has a .909 save percentage and a 3.24 GAA in 166 minutes.

And this Friday, he’ll get his second start in as many games.

 “For me it’s a comfort level right now,” Zwiers said. “I’m comfortable where I am. I don’t need to worry about getting traded or released anymore. It’s great. I can come in and go to work.”

“Tim has stepped up this year,” said Spartans coach Dwayne Lowdermilk. “He waited for his opportunity and when the door opened, he’s done really well. He’s making the rights saves and he can really handle the puck, which is nice because we’ve got guys with speed and he can hit them with a pass.”

And in the Spartans last game, Zwiers, who is something of a James Bond connoisseur, looked very much the Man with the Golden Gun. He shot down 35 of 37 attempts fired his way and only allowed two goals in what was ultimately a 2-1 loss but, at the same time, Trinity Western’s closest result of the regular season.

So, now it’s on Zwiers to lead. While this year’s season-opening starting goalie John-Paul Chapman hovers closely in the wings, this weekend Zwiers is the man. And somehow, you get the feeling he’s not going to let this chance slip from his grasp very easily.

Although, in an interesting twist, Zwiers has actually played a game at forward with the Spartans – last year he was forced into duty when the Spartans were short a few players against Selkik and he actually scored one of the Spartans two goals on the night – don’t expect him to don players’ skates all too often.

The way he’s playing these days, those house hockey games seem a distant memory. That career saving phone call does not.

Last Updated: 2011-10-29
Author: Mark Janzen