Coquitlam’s Adam Rockwood has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Springfield Thunderbirds, of the American Hockey League.
The Thunderbirds are the minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers.
Rockwood had 35 points, including 28 assists, with the Northern Michigan University Wildcats of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association last season. He was also named to the league’s second all-star team.
Rockwood played two seasons at NMU after he began his college career at the University of Wisconsin, where he signed after he helped lead the Coquitlam Express to a BC Hockey League championship.
But a coaching change behind the Badgers’ bench left Rockwood on the outs and, after a difficult sophomore year, he transferred to NMU.
Following Rockwood’s red-shirt season during which his new coach who had recruited him to NMU was also fired, he led the Wildcats in scoring as a junior with 48 points in 42, including an NCAA-leading 40 assists.
Last summer, Rockwood was invited to a development camp put on by the Vancouver Canucks that allowed the Centennial secondary grad to test his mettle against other prospective young pros on the ice and in conditioning drills.
“It was a good measuring tool to see where I was at,” Rockwood said. “I felt I matched up pretty well. It wasn’t too daunting.”
NMU ended its season last Saturday when they lost the second game of their best-of-three WCHA semifinal playoff series to Bowling Green State University, 2-1 in double overtime. Rockwood had an assist on the Wildcats’ only goal in the game, that was scored by Surrey’s Darien Craighead that tied the game 21 seconds into the second period.
Northern Michigan had also lost the first game of the series, 6-1. Again, Rockwood got an assist on the Wildcats’ only goal.
— with a file from Grant Granger