CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Brent Andrews was unsure what he was going to do this year.
The 25-year-old Hunter River native graduated in May with his bachelor of business administration degree with a specialization in finance. He had a year left of eligibility after playing with the UPEI Panthers men’s hockey team for the past four seasons.
When the university announced a new master of business administration in global leadership, Andrews saw an opportunity.
“Things were up in the air. (I was) wondering what I was going to do next,” Andrews acknowledged.
He applied, got accepted and will be back in the classroom and on the ice wearing the Panthers C this fall.
“I’m certainly very happy to be going back to do my master’s,” he said Monday calling it a “perfect match.”
The six-foot-two, 215-pound centre said he has some unfinished business on the hockey side after a high ankle sprain sidelined him for much of the second half of his fourth season. He came back for the playoffs but was not 100 per cent.
“It just felt kind of odd leaving on those terms,” he said.
He now knows 2018-19 will be his final university season as he will play his last year of eligibility.
“I want to make the most of it, both hockey- and school-wise,” he said. “I just want to come back and play my absolute best hockey.”
Head coach Forbes MacPherson said the new master’s program is a valuable asset for the team. He estimated half of his squad is studying business. It also provides the opportunity for the Panthers to recruit players who are seeking a master’s degree.
Andrews, who won the Memorial Cup with the Halifax Mooseheads during his junior career, has been the Panthers captain for the past two seasons after taking over from Mason Wilgosh, who served in the role in Andrews’ first two seasons.
“Brent is one of those guys that leads by example,” MacPherson said, noting Andrews is often one of the first on ice, last to leave, is in phenomenal shape and a very mature person. “He brings that work ethic and commitment on a daily basis.”
But, when he does speak, guys listen, the bench boss said.
The Panthers have lost some key veterans from last year’s squad, including defenceman Ryan MacKinnon and goalie Matt Mahalak.
Andrews said the losses will be felt as the guys were staples in the program, but it also provides a chance for others.
“I’m sure Forbie will be well prepared to have the new guys ready, and it will be a good opportunity for other guys to step up into those spots.”
The Panthers went 11-18-1 during the 2017-18 regular season and lost the best-of-three quarter-final 2-1 to Saint Mary’s.
Need to know
Who – The UPEI Panthers men’s hockey captain.
Age, hometown – 25-year-old Hunter River native.
Size, position – Six-foot-two, 215-pound centre.
The latest – Andrews has decided to return to UPEI to take a master’s degree and use his fifth year of eligibility with the Panthers.
Coach Forbes MacPherson said: “Brent is a big part of our program (and) the culture of our program.”
AUS Career Statistics
Season GP G A Pts.
2017-18 21 4 10 14
2016-17 30 4 14 18
2015-16 28 13 12 25
2014-15 28 6 12 18