Beaver Valley Nitehawks forwards Allan and Michael Pruss are skilled players on the ice, but what might come as a surprise to many is that off the ice, the twins are veritable wizards on the golf course.
Their two-sport passion paid off last month when the identical-duo signed a commitment to the University of Jamestown in North Dakota to play both hockey and golf for the U of J Jimmies next season.
“We are very proud of their achievements of attaining scholarships to Jamestown, and it is a true testament to their character, work ethic, grit, and talent,” said Nitehawk coach and GM Terry Jones. “They have totally bought in to what our team is about, and are fantastic ambassadors of our community in every way.”
As Junior B players, gaining a commitment to play college hockey was once rare, but it is becoming more common as the competitive field continues to grow. The Nitehawks graduated a number of players to the college ranks in recent years, such as Andrew Miller to the University of Oklahoma, Ryan Edwards, Arie Postmus, and Danny Vlanich to Selkirk College, and Archie McKinnon and Chris Derochie to Adrian College in Michigan.
So in October, when Jamestown coach, Dean Stork, offered the 19-year-old twins scholarships to play hockey, they couldn’t pass it up.
“We took a little time and thought about it, looked at the school and did some research, but all in all, it had everything we were looking forward to go to school, so we figured it was a great opportunity,” said Allan.
The Red Deer natives added a spark to the Beaver Valley lineup after joining the club last season, and have taken off offensively this year with Michael netting 30 points in 39 games and Allan with 28 in 34 matches. The brothers remind Jones of another set of twins that once played for the Nitehawks.
“Coaching the Pruss boys, they are a lot like my boys (Kellen and Connor) in how competitive they are, especially with each other, but also how distinctively different they are,” said Jones. “They really work hard on the details of the game, and for smaller guys, they play the game ‘big’.”
During the summer, Michael and Allan work at the River Bend Golf Course in Red Deer and tee off in a number of junior and amateur tournaments in Alberta, so combining the two sports at college seemed like a good idea.
“Originally it was just for hockey, but we contacted the golf coach, and let him know a bit about ourselves and our golf games, and he was happy to welcome us aboard,” said Michael.
“We played some national and provincial tournaments, and won a few junior tournaments along the way, and also worked at a golf course so we spend plenty of hours practicing and working with professionals,” added Allan.
Both are scratch golfers, and the “Boys from the Bend’s” facility for trick golf shots is impressive, and fast gaining a following on YouTube and Instagram, where they’ve posted videos displaying their considerable prowess with a golf club. One example, has Allan chipping it into the air from behind his brother and Michael sending it into the stratosphere with a swat out of mid-air with his driver.
“Some of the guys we work with at the course, in our spare time we’ll run a little trick shot account, and we have close to 1,000 followers on Instagram,” explains Michael.