Video Spotlight - Chris Stew

LANGLEY, British Columbia - The first rule of journalism is: Get the facts right and get the right facts.

The second rule of journalism is: If a 21-year-old from the men’s hockey team admits to being a big fan of the Backstreet Boys as a youngster, one had better put that fact right at the top of one’s story.

When Trinity Western men’s hockey defenceman Chris Stew was interviewed earlier this week for this particular article, Rule No. 2 came into play.

Although Stew conveniently seemed to forget the names of his favourite songs from his favourite boy band, the fact he admitted to having such an infatuation at all is noteworthy is its own right. That fact he went on to say, in general, he was a “boy band fan back in the day,” plus, and without prompt, a Spice Girls enthusiast, gave this writer no choice but to enforce Rule No. 2.

Turns out, Stew actually has quite the interesting, and wildly varying, taste in music across the board, not to mention in musical instruments as well.

Thanks in large part to his step-dad’s musical influence, Stew grew up listening and enjoying anything and everything. On the way home from hockey games, it was often The Gypsy Kings or Frank Sinatra. Other times it was Beethoven. And other times, at least more recently, it was, and still is, Nickelback, Kanye West, Metallica or Avicii.

And as far as his musical instrument interests, in Grade 7, Stew, who says he’s not actually much of musician, went so far as to play the Obo.

To say he was, and very much continues to still be, a Jack of all musical tastes would give too much credit to Jack.

And his wide berth of enjoyed musical genres is only the beginning of his varying interests. As an athlete, growing up, Stew played baseball, football, lacrosse, rugby and basketball.  And apparently, before he quit at 15, football was actually his best sport.

“I probably would be playing in the CFL if I was playing football,” said Stew, who played minor football for the Fleetwood Renegades. “I don’t want to brag but I was always the best on my team for all the years I played. “

So when Stew joined the Spartans this year and coach Dwayne Lowdermilk started the process of developing him into more than just a defensive defenceman – something he has largely been throughout his hockey career – it only made sense that he would relish in the opportunity to take on another skill and another interest.

After all, variety has been more like the meat and potatoes, rather than the spice, of Stew’s life.

“The first few years of junior, I was a very stay-at-home defenseman.  I was solid and aggressive,” Stew said. “Then as I grew more confident, I started to rush the puck and play the power play like I do here. [Dwayne] tells me to shoot the puck all the time, break ankles, it doesn’t matter.”But my bread and butter is playing as a stay-at-home defenceman.

While it’s been a work in progress for Stew to open up to his offensive possibilities – through 14 games, he has four assists – Lowdermilk is confident he’s on route.

“He’s playing physical for us but at the same time he’s steadied our back end,” Lowdermilk said. “He’s allowed us to have a top four defensive unit. It’s a lot of responsibility for a first year guy but he’s stepped into his position and stepped up and stole a few positions from some of the older guys.”

The latter of which is fairly typical. Ever since he was young and looking to crack a junior roster, he’s been taking other players’ spots.

As a 16-year-old, Stew made his first junior team and played 41 games that season, 2006-07, with the North Delta Devils.

The following year, he was traded to the Port Moody Black Panthers where he played the better part of the next four years of his junior hockey career. In 2008-09, he managed to get into 30 games with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles for 30 games, collecting two assists and 23 penalty minutes, but, the following year, he returned to the Black Panthers, where he completed the final two seasons of his junior eligibility. Andin his final year with Port Moody, 2010-11, he won named the PIJHL’s top defenceman after earning four goals, 16 assists and 63 penalty minutes in 46 games.

After that, Stew came to Trinity Western. After graduating from the junior circuit, Stew heard about Trinity Western and once he was in contact with Lowdermilk, it was a decision that was actually fairly simple.

“I just like the quality of the school,” said Stew who is majoring in human kinetics and business. “I had heard a lot of good things about it. I heard if you have it on your resume, you get a job right away, so I was sold.”

Since arriving, in typical Stew fashion, he’s done everything he’s been asked and more.

Even though he’s only a first-year player, he’s taken a leadership role on the team. He has become a vocal leader in the dressing room and both a defensive pillar of strength and a burgeoning offensive threat on the ice.

Frankly, with plenty of time, over the course of his university career, for Stew to develop into the all-around blueliner Lowdermilk is hoping for, at this point, the only thing the Spartans should be worried about is keeping him away from the team sound systm.

Because at some point, he might…want it that way.

Last Updated: 2012-01-27
Author: Mark Janzen