Sturos ready to join Tech

HOUGHTON – Reid Sturos was always going to come to Michigan Tech. The only question was when.

The 21-year-old hockey forward from downstate Brighton, who is a cousin to Tech junior forward Blake Pietila, ended up taking an extra year in juniors. Now he’s ready to join the Huskies this fall.

“It was kind of up in the air throughout the years, but they decided to let me play one more year to develop more as a player,” said Sturos, whose father and two older brothers attended Tech. “… Last year was a big year for me.”

Sturos was chosen as team MVP in the 40th anniversary season of the British Columbia Hockey League’s Nanaimo Clippers, tallying 57 points (25 goals, 32 assists) in 56 games, including eight game-winning goals. He was also named the team’s best two-way player and most exciting player at a May awards presentation.

“We weren’t sure what kind of year he was going to have, but he had a real good year,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “He was in the top 20 scoring (in the BCHL), a good player on a good team that competed for a championship.”

It was welcome production from a player who had committed to Tech three years earlier just after his senior at Brighton, only to produce inconsistently in 2010-11 with the United States Hockey League’s Omaha Lancers (two points in 18 games) and North American Hockey League’s Alexandria Blizzard (eight points in 17 games).

After racking up more penalty minutes than points in his first season in juniors, Sturos bounced back to put up 49 points in 54 games (30 penalty minutes, plus-17) with the Blizzard. Still, Tech wanted him to take one more year in juniors, this time in the BCHL.

“He just wasn’t ready,” Pearson said. “You want him coming into a situation where he’s going to play, and not just play, make a difference. We want them to be over-ready.”

An example is current Tech sophomore forward Alex Petan, who put up 33 points in 51 games for the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express in 2010-11 before following it up with 88 points in 55 games in 2011-12.

“Hopefully the majority of times you come in and you’re ready to go, like Alex Petan last year. He was ready, played a couple extra years, came in, didn’t miss a beat,” Pearson said.

Tech junior David Johnstone did the same: 20 points in 48 games for the USHL’s Indiana Ice in 2009-10 before tallying 58 points in 57 games the following season. Now, Tech hopes for the same from Sturos.

“I don’t expect (Sturos) to score a ton here, but maybe he got some confidence last year. He could be a late bloomer and he’s really ready to come into his own,” Pearson said. “I like the fact that he skates, works hard and has a good frame on him.”

Sturos, who can play right or left wing, stands 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, and bulking up has been a goal heading into this fall.

“This summer I’ve just been trying to put on some weight and working out,” he said. “… My goal is to just come in there, always work hard and never take a day off. Every time I step on the ice I’ll give it 110 percent.”

It’s been too long of a journey for the mechanical engineering freshman to not put in that level of effort. He was always going to follow in the family tradition of attending Tech, whether or not he played hockey, but after battling through some adversity in junior hockey, Sturos is anxious to reap the rewards of his hard work. The question was when would he be here. The answer is now.