Tigers grad French finds success with NA3HL’s Bighorns, commits to NCAA D-III Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Earlier this offseason, Keaton French was named the NA3HL Goaltender of the Year.
French recently added to his accolades by committing to NCAA Division III University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
“I actually reached out to Coach (Matt) Loen this past spring and he responded saying that they were possibly in the market for a goaltender,” explained French. “A few weeks later, I got a call from him and after speaking, he offered me a spot on the team. I had a few offers on the table from some really good schools, but ultimately chose to represent UWEC as a student-athlete because of their reputation as being a top hockey program while also offering the classes that I want to pursue.
“I am excited to come into a hockey program with an experienced coach who has built a winning culture with the Blugolds. As an incoming freshman, I hope to learn from my teammates and act as a good support for the team. As a goaltender, I have always been interested in optimizing my performance. I am continually working to better my mind and body to reach my goals. I think that by learning more about these areas will help me and eventually I can help others as well.”
In the classroom, French plans to pursue a degree in Kinesiology and possibly minor in Sports Psychology.
This past season, the Alaska native and Colorado Springs Tigers graduate started the year with the Minnesota Loons before being traded to the Helena Bighorns in late January. French ended up with a 13-13-0 record in 27 games played during the regular season, which included a 2.62 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
While with the Bighorns, French was stellar with a 7-1-0 record during the regular season, a 1.03 GAA and a .962 save percentage. He led the Bighorns to the Frontier Division title and a spot in the Fraser Cup championship where he was named to the All-Tournament Team.
“I am extremely grateful for my time with the Bighorns,” French said. “The coaching staff, my teammates, and fans there really helped me perform to my fullest and reach some of the goals I had set out to achieve my final year of juniors. Having been awarded All-Tournament Team and Goalie of the Year was such an honor for me. I think that award probably helped give me some exposure, but it wasn’t achieved by just myself. I have my team to thank for the success, as we all worked very hard for one another.
“I am just so happy to have been a part of it all.”
Prior to playing in the NA3HL, French spent three seasons playing in the NAPHL for the Tigers, which included playing in the 2019-20 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game.
— Matt Mackinder
(June 20, 2023)