Price, the Canucks fourth-round selection in the 2009 NHL draft, played in 147 games for Colgate University over the last four years, amassing 76 points (19-57-76) and 103 penalty-minutes in that span. Now he will take the next step and join the Canucks American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, after signing an amateur try-out with the club this week.
“I’m very happy to have this opportunity with Chicago,” said Price, who was a tri-captain at Colgate this past season. “I’ve been to development camps with a number of the guys for a few years, so it’s exciting to finally have the chance to play alongside of them.
“I’m hoping to continue to develop my game and learn what it takes to play at the next level.”
Price will join a Wolves squad that already has seven defensemen on the roster; however he instantly becomes the first right-handed shooting defenseman on the team.
His season came to an end when Colgate was swept this past weekend by St. Lawrence in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. The Ontario born defenseman feels he has grown as a player and a person during his time spent in the college ranks.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve changed, but certainly I’ve grown over my NCAA career, both on and off the ice,” said Price. “The need to balance both a tough workload and a demanding hockey schedule almost forces you to mature, and I’ve enjoyed that learning curve of growing as a person. On the ice, I certainly think my game has evolved into a much more two-dimensional game – the comfort and confidence level at both ends of the rink has probably had the most influence on the improvements in my game.”
Price finished this season with 20 points (6-14-20) in 34 games, three points shy of his career high that he set during the 2011-12 season, however this season Colgate iced a much younger team in what was a rebuilding year, points were a little tougher to come by, and Price used the time during his senior season to develop his game in all situations to prepare himself for the professional ranks.
“I’ve been proud of my game this year, and my development over the past four years,” said Price. “I’ve put a lot of focus into rounding out my game so I can be used in any capacity that’s required of me at the pro level, so I certainly feel ready to make that jump.”
Price has many memories during his time at Colgate; he points to the Raiders unexpected playoff run in his sophomore season as the highlight of his career.
“Upsetting two top seeds both in series clinching overtime games was an incredible feeling.”
Price, who majored in Economics, has three elective courses to finish this semester, which he plans to continue with by taking classes online from Chicago.
The six-foot-one, 180-pounder needs to sign with the Canucks prior to June 1st or he becomes an unrestricted free agent and is free to sign with any team. Entering his final season in the NCAA, he admits earning a pro contract was on his mind, but tried to forget about it and just play his game.
Getting the chance to showcase his skills at the AHL level will give the Canucks brass a better feel of what kind of prospect they have.
“Hopefully that is the case, but I’ve tried not to think about that at all,” said Price. “More so this past summer, realizing this would be my last year at college, no matter what, and keeping that end goal in my mind for once I graduate. Once I got to campus though, it wasn’t hard to put that aside and focus on the team and trying to lead such a young team.”