The business of the NHL never stops, even in Waskaganish. While in town as a guest instructor for the True North Wellness Hockey Camp, Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Spooner signed his first professional contract with the NHL’s Stanley Cup champions.
Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and 45th overall, Spooner was one of the final cuts at last season’s Bruins training camp. He started the 2010-2011 season with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League before being traded to Kingston, where Frontenacs coach and NHL Hall of Famer Doug Gilmour helped him develop. Spooner finished the season with a brief stint with the AHL Providence Bruins, Boston’s top farm club.
“This is the first time that an NHL contract has been signed on Quebec Cree territory,” said Waskaganish Youth and Recreation Services Director Charles J. Hester. “We look forward to the day when an NHL contract is signed here by a young Cree hockey player; perhaps one of the players taking part in this week’s hockey camp.”
Spooner earned the contract after scoring 35 goals and 46 assists in 64 games during the 2010-11 season. Spooner also reportedly showed great progress at the Bruins’ recent development camp.
“We waited till now. We wanted to see a full year of development up until and including the development camp and we saw improvement and we saw that willingness to get better and that’s why we decided to sign [Spooner] now,” said Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli. “It’s easier to sign these guys right away and get the signings out of the way but we wanted them to work for it.”
Spooner is eligible to earn a spot with the Boston Bruins this coming season. But given the forward depth on the Bruins’ Stanley Cup winning squad, it is more likely that he will play one more season of junior hockey in Kingston.