Former T-Bird Hickman inks deal with NHL’s Boston Bruins

Mar 5, 2015, 1:09 PM | Updated: 2:02 pm
Former T-Bird Justin Hickman has signed an entry-level contract with the NHL’s Boston Bruins....
Former T-Bird Justin Hickman has signed an entry-level contract with the NHL's Boston Bruins. (T-Birds photo)
(T-Birds photo)

The National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins announced today that they have signed former Thunderbirds forward Justin Hickman to an entry-level contract.

Hickman spent parts of five years in Seattle, registering 55 goals and 77 assists for 132 points with 466 penalty minutes in 285 games. This season was shaping up to be his best, as he had nine goals and 19 assists in 31 games before having his season cut short in order to undergo surgery on a shoulder that had been bothering him since training camp.

After being selected by the T-Birds in the second round of the 2009 Bantam Draft, No. 34 overall, Hickman made the team full-time as a 16-year-old, logging limited minutes on Seattle’s lower lines. As a 17-year-old, he established himself as a key piece for the team’s future, scoring 22 points while missing only one game. Those numbers improved again the next season, as the Kelowna, British Columbia native tallied 34 points in 70 games while also being included in the alternate captain rotation.

As a 19-year-old, Hickman was named team captain at the beginning of the season and his 46 points were a career high. His 154 penalty minutes and plus-seven rating were also the best marks of his WHL career.

Hickman signing with the Bruins was initially rumored back in January, but could not be made official until this month. His playing style should fit in well with a Boston club that has favored big, physical forwards in the past.

After being passed over in three separate NHL Entry Drafts, Hickman’s work ethic, persistence, and skill, as well as a great attitude both on and off the ice, eventually led to his earning a pro contract. It’s similar to former T-Bird defenseman Brenden Dillon, who spent three full years and parts of two others in the Dallas Stars organization, but now calls San Jose home and has a bright professional future.

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