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Isley moving on to U of R hockey program

Another member of the Bonnyville Pontiacs is moving on to college hockey.
Former Pontiacs captain Lucas Isley is headed to the University of Regina.
Former Pontiacs captain Lucas Isley is headed to the University of Regina.

Another member of the Bonnyville Pontiacs is moving on to college hockey.

Lucas Isley committed to the University of Regina last week and joined teammates Shawn Bates and Matthew Register as the third Pontiac this off-season to move on to the post secondary ranks.

“I think it will be a bit different from my time in the NCAA,” Isley said. “But I've heard nothing but good news from everyone who goes there.”

Pontiacs head coach Chad Mercier thinks Isley has grown as a player and a person during his time with the Pontiacs.

“Lucas has gone through a lot the last few years but he's done a tremendous job handling all of it,” Mercier said. “CIS hockey, in my opinion, is very underrated and I think Lucas will succeed not only in hockey but also receive a quality education in Regina.”

The move to Regina should be made easier by the presence of former Pontiac Craig Cuthbert.

“I talked to him about coming to Regina quite a bit,” Isley said. “The team just got a brand new facility and a new gym so it seems like it will be a great place to play.”

“It's always nice to know someone when you move to a new town,” agreed Mercier. “And to know someone the quality of Cuthbert probably made the decision much easier.”

Isley spent his entire junior career in Bonnyville and relished the opportunity to play in his hometown.

“It was definitely something to experience,” he said. “I had so many great memories playing here and to do it in your hometown is special.”

Isley first suited up for the Pontiacs in 2005-06 as a 16-year-old and tallied two goals and 15 assists in 47 games. But it was during that rookie season that Isley met someone who impacted him greatly – former Pontiacs player Matt Cook, who recently succumbed to cancer.

“He was one of the guys who made the biggest impression on me,” Isley said. “Just his strength and courage are what I will never forget about him.”

After two more seasons in which he improved each year, Isley committed to Western Michigan University in 2008 but it wasn't the type of experience he was looking for.

“I went down there as an 18-year-old and only ended up playing four out of the 18 games,” he said. “I wasn't getting enough playing time and decided to come back home to develop a bit more.”

Isley made his return to the Pontiacs in the 2008-09 season and was named the captain for this year but a few months later he suffered another setback, injuring his arm severely and missing over three months of action. He returned for the playoff drive, helping the Pontiacs advance to the second round.

Through it all, Isley has set a new standard of excellence for the Pontiacs, according to Mercier.

“To spend five years in one junior organization is something to be proud of,” he said. “We named him captain because he deserved it and he is the only player in the history of this team to reach the second round of the playoffs three times.”

“He leaves this organization setting higher standards and he should be proud of his time here.”

Isley noted one memory, above all that stood out for him.

“In my first year as a 16-year-old, we played an under-18 Swiss team and beat them 5-2, I scored a hat trick and it was a great moment for me personally.”

“I'd just like to thank all the fans for their support the past five years, I'll never forget it.”

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