Former Vernon Vipers forward Blaine Caton has committed to Marian University.
Caton has spent the past three seasons with the Trail Smoke Eaters.
Caton played one season with the Vipers (2014-2015) was released before the start of the 2015-16 season. Caton returning for a second season attended the Vipers 2015 Training Camp, played in a few exhibition games before being released September 9th 2015. In 52 regular season games with the Vipers Caton picked up (4-goals-4-assists-8-points). Caton's father Murray played three seasons (1989-1992) with the Vernon Lakers.
Blaine Caton's Player Profile:
This was posted on the Smoke Eaters website:
CATON COMMITS TO MARIAN UNIVERSITY
May 9, 2018
by Trail Smoke Eaters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Trail, British Columbia (May 9, 2018) – The Trail Smoke Eaters are pleased to announce that Blaine Caton will be joining fellow Smoke Eater, Troy Ring at Marian University next season.
Marian University is located in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and is part of is part of the 12 team Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA), an intercollegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA’s Division III. The NCHA is a highly regarded Division III hockey league which routinely produces some of the highest ranking teams in the United States. In 2017-2018, the Marian University Panthers compiled 20 wins regular season wins on route to the first NCAA Tournament bid in the team’s history.
Caton joined the team in the 2015-2016 season after spending the previous year with the Vernon Vipers. In three years with the Smoke Eaters, Blaine suited up for 126 games, notching 30 goals and 37 assists along the way. The gritty forward added another 15 points in 26 playoff games over for the Smokies and could often be counted on to score a goal in a critical situation.
Blaine wished to express his thanks for the support in that he received while playing in Trail. “I’d like to thank the Trail Smoke Eaters for everything they’ve done for me in the past three years and getting me an opportunity to further my hockey career while getting my education. Also, a big thanks to Rich and Annie Murphy, Craig Clare, the whole front office and my coaches over the years Barry Zanier, Kyle Hope, Jesse Leung, Curtis Toneff and especially Cam Keith for never giving up on me and making me the player I am today.”
It pleases the Smoke Eaters organization to have another player committed to a quality university and hockey program for the upcoming season. We look forward to following another one of our players as he continues his hockey and academic career.
Founded as Marian College in 1936 by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, Marian University is a co-educational, Catholic University that inspires personal and professional success through an engaging, values-based education. With the average class size of 15 students and a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, students at Marian University partake in multiple cooperative, hands-on learning experiences that allow for integrated classroom theory and practical work experience. Marian University students graduate well-prepared to begin exciting careers in their fields or for admission to rigorous graduate and professional programs across the nation.
This was in the Morning Star Newspaper:
Smoke Eaters Caton signs with Sabres for college career
May. 10, 2018
A late cut by the Vernon Vipers one year and back to Junior B in Armstrong. Three shoulder separations the next season with the Trail Smoke Eaters. One quick four-pack of games in Saskatchewan with the Humboldt Broncos before his departure.
Vernon’s Blaine Caton had every reason to throw a pity party and toss his hockey career out the window a few times.
Instead, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound centre persevered, caught a break, and at 21, has secured a scholarship with the Marian University Sabres in Wisconsin of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) which is affiliated with the NCAA’s Division III. He agreed to an offer Monday.
“They’ve been talking to me the last three weeks to a month over the month, pretty much after the playoffs,” said Caton, who rang up 15 goals and 34 regular-season points with the B.C. Hockey League Smokies this season. “They liked that I’m a 200-foot player who can step in and play centre and play a lot of minutes. They lost a few of their top forwards. It’s a relief to have things out of the way.”
The Sabres lost leading point-getters Hunter Stewart (Alberni Valley Bulldogs, BCHL) and Derek Thorogood (Okotoks Oilers, AJHL) through graduation. Both seniors are from Calgary.
Caton had other Division III schools calling and talked to a Division I Minnesota State Mavericks recruiter after one game. Defenceman Troy Ring of the Smokies has also signed with the Sabres.
“Troy flew down there so he’s been telling me all about the school. He says it’s awesome.”
Caton was a team player who did as much on the ice as he did off it, contributing not only as a leader on the Smoke Eaters but also in the community. He says head coach Cam Keith kept him inspired in the game.
“After I had the three shoulder separations and only played 22 games (2015-16 season), I was ready to call it quits. I went home that summer and me and my dad sat down and talked. We figured I either pack it in or keep trying and after a day or so, I decided to keep trying. Cam Keith kind of turned things around for me in Trail. He gave me the opportunity to play and get better. He never gave up on me.”
Caton, whose dad, Murray, backstopped the Vernon Lakers to back-to-back Centennial Cup national Junior A titles in 1990-92, amassed 15 goals and 33 points a year ago. He was a clutch player again this season, pocketing 11 points in the playoffs as the Smokies upset the Penticton Vees before being swept by the Wenatchee Wild.
Blaine collected four goals and eight points in 48 games with Vernon as a 17-year-old. He didn’t make the team the following season. He is home working at Chasers Bottle Depot, “for my eighth summer.”
Marian is based in Fond du Lac, 45 minutes from Milwaukee. Marian compiled 20 regular-season wins en route to the first NCAA Tournament bid in team history. Caton will study business and sports management.
Caton’s signing brings the number of Smoke Eaters’ NCAA commitments to seven, including Columbus Blue Jacket draft Kale Howarth, who is heading to University of Connecticut (UConn) Huskies.
Fond du Lac is French for Bottom of the Lake, named as such because of its location at the bottom of Lake Winnebago. The city has a population of 44,000.
Mercury Marine, which has its world headquarters in Fond du Lac, is the largest maker of outboard motors in the world, employing approximately 2,500 people.