RoughRiders graduate Shtrom finding early success, enjoying development with WHL’s Tigers
Like many high-end AAA youth players, Oren Shtrom had a decision to make as a teenager – NCAA or Major Junior hockey.
The Arizona native who played the 2019-20 season for the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders’ 16U AAA team decided on the Canadian Hockey League, signing with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers in the summer of 2019 after being a third-round choice of the team in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.
“Oren is an intelligent, crafty forward with great vision and poise,” said Medicine Hat director of player personnel Bobby Fox. “He is creative with the puck and has the ability to find open teammates for scoring chances, as well as being a threat to score himself.”
“We are really excited about Oren,” added Tigers GM-coach Willie Desjardins. “He is a very talented young man, and we think he has a great future.”
Born in Montreal, Shtrom was eligible to be drafted in the WHL since his family relocated to Arizona when he was 11 years old.
Before the beginning of the 2019-20 season, Shtrom and his family moved from Arizona to Fort Collins, where he had 73 points (27 goals, 46 assists) in 56 games for the RoughRiders. The RoughRiders won the 16U Tier I state championship and were planning on travelling to Arizona to represent Colorado in the Rocky Mountain District Tournament when the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the season.
“I thought it was a pretty good season for both the team and myself,” Shtrom told the Medicine Hat News. “We beat some good teams and I thought I played well for the most part, but definitely a bummer the way it ended with the COVID situation.”
Shtrom’s father, Leeor, was a goaltender who played NCAA Division I hockey for Union College and had pro aspirations before a career-ending hip injury.
“He’s the reason I got into hockey and he’s just helped me with everything,” Shtrom said. “He knows what it takes to get to a high level, so it’s a huge advantage and he just gives me little tips that maybe the normal kid wouldn’t get.”
(March 9, 2021)