As it turns out, the Moose Jaw Warriors are that place.
The Warriors announced Thursday that they had added the Sherwood Park, Alta. native to their roster with the goal of shoring up their youthful goaltending corps as the first games of the regular season approach.
“I can’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling right now,” Brkin said on www.mjwarriors.ca. “I’m so thankful I have an opportunity to play again in the league, I was waiting at home (staying ready) so I’m just looking forward to showcasing that I’ve gotten better over the summer.”
Brkin put together impressive numbers for Spokane last season, finishing the campaign with a 2.75 goals against average and .914 save percentage while going 27-11-1-2 in 45 games. He was even more effective in the playoffs, posting a 2.55 GAA and .922 SP as the Chiefs battled their way to the Western Conference final.
“First and foremost, we know Bailey somewhat from his time in Swift Current and you look at this past year, he had an outstanding year in Spokane, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. He looks like he’s really matured into a good veteran goaltender,” said Warriors general manager Alan Millar.
The situation prior to the trade was kind of pressing – Evanoff is continuing to recover from off-season hip surgery and isn’t expected back in the line-up until December at the earliest. That left Jackson Berry, 17, and Brett Mirwald, 16 as the only netminders in Warriors camp, with neither having more than a handful of WHL games under their belt.
“With the Evanoff injury, we were looking to add some experience to start the season here and Brkin was a guy who had 27 wins last year in the regular season, he had a really good goals against average and save percentage,” Millar said. “He was a big part of Spokane getting to the Western Conference final and he was a key player in the upset over Everett in the second round last year… We think he comes in here and solidifies a young group as we get ready for Regina and the start of the season.”
The Warriors re-assigned Mirwald to the Saskatoon Blazers after the deal was finalized.
Brkin is looking forward to the opportunity to return to the ice with his new team. The plan is for he and Berry to split the two exhibition games against the Brandon Wheat Kings this weekend, with Friday’s contest in Moose Jaw (7 p.m., Mosaic Place).
“I’m just gong to go out there, stop the puck and do my job (play my game) and be a leader,” Brkin said. “I’m a veteran going into the league now, it seems crazy to say it, so I’m going to try and be a leader and bring character into the room and try and be a leader on and off the ice.”