The Portage Terriers acquired veteran forward Bryden Kiesman a month into the 2022-23 regular season, and he fit in immediately. The Winnipegger picked up nine points in his first five games as a Terrier, scoring a hat-trick in his first appearance in the green and white.
Kiesman was traded from the SJHL's Nipawin Hawks in exchange for forwards Alyandro De Leon and Hudson Cameron.
"It was a whirlwind turnaround, for sure. I only had a short time there in Nipawin, so it was kind of a shocking trade for me, but it was quite an opportunity to come to play for the Terriers," says Kiesman. "I was really honoured to be traded to the Dog Pound and play for the Terriers this year."
The forward played two seasons in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors before bouncing between the MJHL and SJHL throughout the last two years. Kiesman found a home in Portage la Prairie this season and put up 30 points in 40 regular season games.
At the Centennial Cup tournament, Kiesman had four helpers in the Dogs' six-game run.
"We didn't plan for the playoffs to go the way they did (losing in Game 7 of the semi-finals). There were a few factors, with our team being sick and not everybody in the lineup being healthy. So, that was kind of a letdown for us but having a good run at the Centennial really boosted our pride at the end of the season, especially for us 20-year-olds."
Kiesman notes he's played in front of some large crowds during his time in the WHL but the atmosphere at the Centennial Cup was unique.
"I found the people that were watching us were really supportive throughout the year and during the playoffs. I found the fans were even better during the Centennial Cup," Kiesman continues. "We felt that we had a chance to make it far in the cup but we had that one game (7-1 loss to Battlefords North Stars) that ruined our mojo. It was a great atmosphere though, and it was nice to have all the fans behind us the whole way."
He adds playing in the national tournament is what he'll remember most about this season. Kiesman says that's not something many people get to experience, and it's a memory he'll cherish forever.
Kiesman has yet to decide whether or not he will be staying in the sport of hockey. One choice he has already made is that he will be pursuing an Agriculture Degree at the University of Manitoba in the fall.