Two former Merrimack hockey players were recently inducted into the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Hall of Fame. Greg Classen and Rejean Stringer were both inducted during the ceremony on Aug. 3 in Nipawin, Sask.
Below are bios from the SJHL detailing both players’ accomplishments.
Greg grew up on the family farm three miles north of Aylsham. Greg’s Dad (Gord) built an ice rink for all the children and from an early age he learned to skate. Countless family hours were spent out on the rink, most notably with Greg’s brother Bryce, sister Lori, cousin Cris and many friends and neighbors.
Greg’s first year of organized hockey was with the Zenon Park Dragons at age four. The following year Greg began playing in Carrot River where some awesome memories were made. When Greg was in the sixth grade, the school in Aylsham closed and Greg was transferred to Nipawin. That year began about a 10-year run of wearing the Hawks black and gold.
After a one-year stint with the Tisdale Trojans of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, Greg entered the SJHL with the Hawks for the 1994-95 season where Greg was fortunate to skate alongside his brother and cousin for a few seasons. Greg spent four years with the Hawks playing in 223 games and registering 198 points on 73 goals and 125 assists.
His play with the Hawks got him a scholarship to Merrimack College, an NCAA Division 1 school, and after collecting 25 points in 36 games in his first season he was selected to the NCAA Hockey East all-rookie team.
Greg decided to turn professional after just two years at college and in his first full season as a pro he experienced the ultimate thrill when he dressed for 27 games with the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators. With two goals and four assists during that stretch he remained with the NHL club for most of the next season and had 11 points in 55 games.
Greg was back in the American Hockey League with the Milwaukee Admirals for the 2003-04 campaign, but even that worked out well as he was part of a Calder Cup-winning team that season.
Greg bounced around the AHL for the next few seasons and since 2008-09 he has been a fixture in European professional leagues. In fact, this spring as a 41-year-old, he completed a spectacular campaign that saw him collect 46 points in 48 games with Rostock Piranhas of the Germany3 League.
Rejean (Rej) Stringer was born and raised in Gravelbourg SK in a bilingual family to parents Louis and Gloria.
He left home at the end of grade ten to play for the Swift Current AAA Legionnaires of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League for the 1989-90 season. In 1991, he came to Nipawin as a 17-year-old and ended up embarking on a four-year career with the Hawks and he served the last two as team captain.
Rej graduated from Nipawin’s LP Miller High School in 1992 and in 1995 (his final season as a Hawk) he received a scholarship to Merrimack. He toiled in the NCAA from 1995-1999 finishing his degree in finance.
In 1996-97 he led all NCAA Division I players in assists and the very next year he helped Merrimack score an upset win over top-seeded Boston University. He is the current all-time leading scorer at Merrimack and he capped his NCAA tenure with an NHL contract with the San Jose Sharks. He played one season for their AHL farm team in Kentucky and then moved on to the Fresno Falcons of the WCHL and then he played for the Columbia Inferno from 2001-03, losing in the ECHL finals. He made the league’s all-star team in 2002 by putting up 96-points.
He spent 2003-04 in Salzburg, Austria and his team won the league championship. In 2004-05, he returned to the ECHL and split the year between Las Vegas and Peoria.
In 2006, Stringer was retired when he was convinced to join the Cardiff Devils midseason and he scored the winning goal to win the Challenge Cup and it was the last ever goal scored in the Wales National Ice Rink.
Today, he lives in Swift Current and works as an investment advisor. He is married to Dr. Sasha Godenir and they have three children. Kade, Dior, and Veda.