The hockey future of Garden Bay native Kyle Bruce looks to be a promising one after a solid final junior season with the Vancouver Giants.
Bruce and the Giants ended their playoff run two weeks ago, losing in the second round in a hard-fought six game series against the Everett Silvertips.
Bruce finished with one goal and one assist during the playoffs, but those two points don't really reflect the contributions he provided to the Giants this season.
Bruce was acquired in September from the Prince Albert Raiders and made an immediate impact, scoring in his first game with the G-Men. He finished the regular season fifth in team scoring with 15 goals and 34 points, while also picking up 128 penalty minutes.
"Kyle did everything for our hockey club," said head coach Dean Evason. "We knew when we traded for him he would bring a physical presence. He did that and more. He was banging players and crashing the boards on every shift, he played on our power play, and I think he led the league in short-handed goals. He did everything you'd expect a veteran 20-year-old player to do.
"Our goal, like every junior team, is to win the Memorial Cup. I truly believe we are on that road to success, and I think one day when we win the cup, Kyle will be watching and he can take pride in the fact that he was part of the leadership group who taught the young people how to play the game. He's a professional guy playing junior hockey."
Evason said he hopes NHL clubs will take a look at Bruce and offer him a chance to try out.
"He was drafted into the NHL but had some concussion problems," Evason said. "Obviously teams might be leery of that injury situation. Based on what he did this year, I think it's a no-brainer for him to go to some camps as a free agent."
Bruce said he felt this was his best year of junior hockey and is excited for his hockey future.
"I wanted to make a big impact and I had my best year point production wise," Bruce said. "It was nice to play closer to home and I was excited to be part of this team. Right now, I'm keeping all my options open. NHL camps are certainly a top priority, but I'm not ruling out any of the minor-pro leagues or university, getting an education and playing hockey. I just want to see what's out there and whatever is the best situation for me, I'll jump at."