by Stephen Dafoe
Morinville native Bryce Van Brabant has been signed to the Calgary Flames as a free agent in a two-year contract. The third Morinvillian to be signed to the NHL, 22-year-old Van Brabant has played with the Quinnipiac University Bobcats for the past three seasons. Van Brabant racked up 37 points in 40 games this season, a tally made up of 15 goals and seven assists. The hockey player also accumulated 113 minutes in penalty time with the Bobcats. Van Brabant previously played in the AJHL with the Spruce Grove Saints from 2008 to 2011.
Father Dwight Van Brabant spoke with Morinville News Sunday morning, saying he was both pleased with the news and proud of his son’s accomplishment. “It’s been lots of hard work on his part,” Mr. Van Brabant said, adding his son started his hockey career with the Morinville Minor Hockey Association before heading to Fort Saskatchewan to play Triple-A.
Mr. Van Brabant said there were not many home when the family learned the news Saturday morning. “There was only a few of us home,” he said. “We were happy but we kind of knew about it before that teams were talking to him. So it wasn’t a big shock.”
The Bobcat went to development camps in Edmonton, Calgary and was also invited to the Islanders camp last year. “It’s his hard work and focus that got him there because it’s a hard road. He was never drafted n the NHL draft. It just shows you if you keep after it and stuff you can get there.”
The Flames are flying Van Brabant’s parents to Toronto to see their son on the ice in his first NHL game Tuesday night against the Leafs. “That’ll be great, especially one of the original six franchises for his first game,” Mr. Van Brabant said.