ELMIRA, N.Y. — The 2017-18 campaign for the Elmira College men’s ice hockey team has been concluded for several weeks, but third-year junior netminder Charl Pretorius ’19 will continue to suit up for action on the ice, although not in EC’s signature Purple and Gold. Pretorius will instead don his nation’s colors of Green and Gold at the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Ice Hockey World Championship Division III, which is set to be played in Cape Town, South Africa, from April 16-22.
Pretorius is the first and only athlete from the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) to participate at the IIHF World Championship level. The only other skater at the World Championship level affiliated with a UCHC institution is former Nazareth College student-athlete Uthman Samaai, who will join Pretorius on Team South Africa.
Pretorius is no stranger to the international spotlight, after competing under his country’s flag in the 2017 iteration of the tournament and helping South Africa claim a bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III in Istanbul, Turkey; that bronze was later upgraded to silver due to a violation by Georgia. Prior to his time with the Soaring Eagles, the junior goalie also represented his country in the U18 installment of the IIHF Championship and took home the tournament’s top goaltender award en route to gold and silver medals in 2014 and 2015, respectively. With six collegiate contests and 24 international world championship games under his belt, Pretorius is the most experienced South African goalie.
South Africa will rely heavily on Pretorius to backstop the team’s defense, starting with the tournament-opening game against Bulgaria on Friday, April 16. The matchup against Bulgaria is the first of five round-robin contests, which will pit South Africa against the likes of Chinese Taipei, Turkey, Georgia and Hong Kong.