THUNDERBIRDS SIGN MATTHEW BARZAL

May 01, 2013 - 04:31 MDT

Calgary, AB. - The Seattle Thunderbirds are pleased to announce center Mathew Barzal, the first overall pick in the 2012 Bantam Draft, has signed a WHL Contract and Education Agreement with the team. The announcement of Barzal’s signing was made by Western Hockey League Commissioner Ron Robison at the WHL Awards Luncheon today at the Deerfoot Inn in Calgary, Alberta.

“We are extremely excited to have Mathew signed and committed to play with our team,” said T-Birds general manager Russ Farwell from the Awards Luncheon in Calgary. “Mathew has proven to be the most elite player in his age group in Western Canada and he has both the personal drive to be a pro and the ability to make everyone he plays with better. Having Mathew on our team will be exciting for our fans, team and everyone involved with our organization.”

“I am really excited to join the T-Birds,” said Barzal from the Awards Luncheon in Calgary. “I am looking forward to the season next year. I was down in Seattle this past season to practice with the team and I was able to attend a playoff game. I had a chance to meet a lot of the guys on the team when I was in Seattle. They made me feel welcome and they were all great guys. I am looking forward to playing with them next season and I hope to contribute to a winning season.”

Last season Barzal played for the Vancouver NE Chiefs in the BC Major Midget League (BCMML). In 34 games he had 103 points on 29 goals and 74 assists with 34 penalty minutes. He set the BCMML record for most assists in a season. Barzal is also first in Chiefs history in overall points scored in a season.

Barzal represented British Columbia at the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in November. He had two goals and two assists in four games at the tournament and was selected as an All-Star.

Barzal was the first overall selection in the 2012 Bantam Draft. He played for the Burnaby Winter Club Bantam 1A team in 2011-12 before he was selected by the T-Birds. He had 107 points on 39 goals and 68 assists in 35 games.

Barzal was one of two first round picks the T-Birds made in the 2012 Bantam Draft. Keegan Kolesar was selected in the first round by the T-Birds with the 20th overall pick.