– Files from the Powell River Kings website

POWELL RIVER, B.C. – A Powell River King is bound for New York.

Twenty-year-old forward Ben Berard will be attending Cornell University, in Ithica, NY, for the 2019/2020 season

Berard was limited to 15 regular season games due to a serious back injury, and scored 11 goals during that stretch.

During the post-season, he added four goals and seven points in 12 games.

At Cornell, Berard will be joining Kings alumni as well as past teammates Kyle Betts, Tristan Mullin, Cameron Donaldson and Matt Cairns.

“It will be really nice to have those four guys there after playing with them in Powell River, they’re all good guys and good teammates and it will definitely help the adjustment to know some guys already and talk to them so I know what to expect” says Ben about joining his teammates at Big Red.

Berard’s 2018/2019 campaign was anything from normal.

He returned to play with the Kings near the end of the season after recovering from a severe back injury which put him out of the lineup from Oct. 13th during a road trip to Trail.

He worked hard to recover from his injury and returned to play with his team for the last home game of the season on Feb. 22nd, against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and played in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

It was always Berard’s plan to head off to Cornell for the 2019/2020 season but after his injury he was unsure of his next moves.

“I was a little unsure for a while just because I didn’t know how my recovery was going to go, but it’s been going pretty well so I feel like I’ll be ready to make the jump to school next year,” Berard said.

“I was unsure how my body would be, but it’s feeling good so I think I’ll be ready to go. I’ve been training hard to get all the strength back that I lost from the injury and just to be in the best shape I can for this next season.”

Berard plans to study business when he arrives at Cornell.

He attended Shawnigan Lake School before coming to Powell River for his Grade 12 year, and said that he is ready to take on the challenges of University Academics as well as looks forward to the opportunity of being able to contribute to the Big Red hockey program.

“I think moving away for three years helped me grow up a lot and I’m reading to take the next jump.”

The Duncan native said he loved his time in Powell River: “I think I will miss the people the most. There’s so many great memories I made in Powell River with the team, my billet family, the staff, there is just so many great people there, and I’m really going to miss it. It was a really fun and rewarding three years.”