Boston Bruins prospect Zach Hamill
first made his way to the NHL with a single game appearance on April 11, 2010 and recorded his first NHL point with an assist in Boston’s 4-3 win over the Capitals.
The experience afforded Hamill the opportunity to understand the on-ice difference between the American Hockey League, where he’s spent the majority of the past two seasons, and the NHL.
“I think it's just the speed of the game and obviously the players up there are bigger and stronger and you know just older,” Hamill said.“The pace of the game is a little faster and that's probably the biggest difference.“
The 22-year-old Hamill was the Bruins first pick, eighth overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry draft.
Prior to being drafted, he played five seasons of junior hockey with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. In 250 career games in the WHL Hamill racked up 262 points on 87 goals and 175 assists.
Following his Junior Hockey career, Hamill was sent to the Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence and played his first full professional season in 2008-09.
The Vancouver, B.C, native compiled 13-13-26 totals but played in only 65 games, as he was limited with a thumb injury. He rebounded from the injury during the 2009-10 season with 14-30-44 totals, good for second in scoring on the squad.
After his single game stint with the Boston Bruins last spring, Hamill remained in Boston for the duration of the playoffs in a stand-by capacity. There he experienced what it’s like to be around an NHL team in the heat of a highly contested playoff race.
“I think just watching the games…and seeing the parts of an intense playoff series you know kind of makes you want it,” Hamill said.
After Bruins training camp this past fall, Hamill returned to Providence and, with an eye towards breaking into the lineup in Boston, has focused on fine-tuning his skills with the help of the Providence coaching staff.
Through 34 games, Hamill has accumulated 2-21-23 totals for the
P-Bruins, as well as a +2 rating, 58 shots on goal and 18 penalty minutes.
“I think just maintaining…that physical level and maintaining presence on the ice," Hamill said of his focus during practices this season.
"Just those little things that I can practice to try and get better everyday.”---Hannah Becker