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Coquitlam Express reach out for a new star

Sebastian Bradshaw is a 6'4" winger who was selected by the Dallas Stars in the seventh round of last year's NHL draft.
Sebastian Bradshaw scored 62 points in 59 games at the Elite Hockey Academy in Connecticut lasts year.

The Coquitlam Express has a new star.

The BC Hockey League (BCHL) team signed Dallas Stars prospect Sebastian Bradshaw, an 18-year-old, 6'4" winger who was selected in the seventh round of the 2023 NHL Draft.

Bradshaw, who's from Newtonville, Ont., started the season with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League after he elected not to follow through on a previous commitment to join the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Last year, Bradshaw scored 62 points with the Elite Hockey Academy's U18 AAA program in Guildford, Conn. He's already committed to the University of New Hampshire when his junior career is completed.

Bradshaw's profile in the Prospects Program by Sports Illustrated describes him as "a fierce player on the ice" and "a solid player with great hands."

Express general manager Tali Campbell told the Tri-City News Bradshaw is "incredibly smart who knows how to find the back of the net. He's bringing an element we do not currently have."

Bradshaw is expected to join the team today, Oct. 27.

The absence of dependable scoring has been apparent in Coquitlam's start to the season, as the team has struggled to find consistent offense while winning five of its first 11 games.

Although they did have some success Thursday, Oct. 26, outlasting the Merritt Centennials 5-4 in overtime at the BCHL's annual showcase in Seattle.

Gavin Giebrecht scored the winner 1:04 into the extra frame but the Express had to fight back twice to get there.

Trailing 3-1 heading into the third period, Luke Vardy sparked the first comeback 1:26 after the intermission with his first goal of the season. Then Nate Crema tied it at 12:07.

After Dylan Lariviere restored Merritt's advantage a couple of minutes later, Norwegian import Kasper Walter-Sneve got Coquitlam back on even terms with just over three minutes left in regulation time. It was his second goal of the game, and fourth of the season.

Rookie goaltender Ethan Simcoe made 18 saves to earn his third win for the Express in as many starts, while his teammates fired 29 shots at Centennials creaseminder Allan Ballantyne.

Coquitlam — and the rest of the BCHL teams — returns north of the border to play the Surrey Eagles on Sunday, 4 p.m., at the South Surrey Arena.

The team’s next home game is Nov. 3, when it hosts the Langley Rivermen at 7 p.m. at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.