After leading the Caps in scoring last season, Max Newton has committed to play for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. (Citizen file)

After leading the Caps in scoring last season, Max Newton has committed to play for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. (Citizen file)

High-scoring Newton moving on to college

Forward led the Caps in all offensive categories last season

The Cowichan Valley Capitals’ leading scorer from the 2016-17 B.C. Hockey League season is heading north.

Max Newton, who led the team in every offensive category with 25 goals, 34 assists and 59 points, and was the only player to get into all 58 games last year, has locked up an NCAA Div. I scholarship with the University of Alaska Fairbanks starting this fall.

“I’m pumped about it,” Newton said, two days after he inked the deal. “It’s nice to finally have it down. There was a sigh of relief once it became official.”

Newton came to the Caps alongside defenceman Nii Noi Tetteh in a trade with the Trail Smoke Eaters last offseason, with Luke Santerno and Carter Cochrane going the other way. The Vancouver product finishes his BCHL career with 47 goals, 76 assists, 123 points and 135 penalty minutes in 153 games with Trail and Cowichan.

He doesn’t turn 20 until November, so Newton does have another year of junior eligibility, but he hadn’t planned to play out his time.

“It was my goal, kind of, to go to school this year,” he said. “But it’s always nice to have another year in your back pocket.”

Playing for the Alaska Nanooks was always Newton’s first choice.

“I talked to a few [other schools], but they were the main guys I talked to throughout the year and into the summer,” he said.

Newton hasn’t yet been to Fairbanks, but he has heard great things about the school and the team from some of his training partners who have played there.

“They love the program,” he said. “It’s a big hockey town. They treat the hockey program seriously.”

Newton’s plan is to play four years at UAF while earning an education degree, then maybe look into playing professionally.

“Coaching is kind of my career goal,” he said. “I’d like to shift into that aspect.”

Five players from the 2016-17 Capitals team have now committed to play at the post-secondary level next season. Chris Harpur will head to Div. I Niagara University, while Josh Owings is off to Div. III Adrian College. Mitch Skapski and Ben Verrall will play in USports (formerly CIS) with Ryerson and York universities, respectively.

Although Newton spent just one season with the Caps, he will leave with fond memories.

“It was a good group of guys,” he said. “I was treated well by the community. I had great billets. They really made me feel at home.

“The coaches gave me lots of ice time. They trusted me and gave me lots of opportunities. I’d like to thank all of Cowichan and Duncan for their support and the way they treated me. Everyone there was good to me.”